The Fight Against Human Trafficking
On Saturday February 25, over 160 participants came together to learn, educate, and take action against Human Trafficking at The Martin de Porres Center. We welcomed Theresa Flores to the Center for the annual Arnold Classic S.O.A.P. event.
Did you know that Human Trafficking is the second leading crime in the world? Over 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide each year and 100,000 are trafficked in the US. S.O.A.P. events across the United States team up with local organizations to educate hotels on the red flags, mobilize volunteers to help label soap bars with the national human trafficking hotline number, and pass out missing children posters just before sporting events.
The Arnold Classic in Columbus
In Columbus, OH, the Arnold Classic is scheduled the weekend of March 5. The S.O.A.P. for the Arnold has been hosted at the Martin de Porres Center for four years in a row, and each year the crowd is larger, the energy is stronger, and the desire to get out to the hotels and educate managers about human trafficking is greater. High school, college students, and local organizations such as Proyecto Mariposas came to learn from Theresa about her story and the S.O.A.P. initiative that takes her around the country. This year we partnered with Catholic Health Initiative (CHI) to provide food catered by Freedom a la Cart, a local organization that provides employment and training to survivors of human trafficking. Sr. Nadine Buchanan, OP, is a key leader on this fight in Columbus. She coordinates support, inspires volunteers, and helps survivors in Columbus throughout the year. She is a true inspiration for many.
During the workshop participants learned the impact and the risks of human trafficking. They are trained to identify behaviors and clues of someone who may be a victim of human trafficking. The participants are also trained on the national hotline (1-888-3737-888) and to call police if they see suspicious activity when they are delivering the soaps.
It was a great inspiration to see young adults and adults come together to raise awareness and inspire people to take action. What makes this event unique is that Theresa takes time to identify and create posters of missing children in the area. These posters are given to the hotels to post for extra awareness. We are looking forward to continuing the partnership with Theresa Flores and S.O.A.P. in order to save the lives of those suffering from human trafficking. (See photos from the event here.)
Prayer shared for volunteers and for victims of human trafficking
We seek your divine protection for all who are exploited and enslaved.
For those forced into labor, trafficked into sexual slavery, and denied freedom.
We beseech you to release them from their chains.
Grant them protection, safety, and empowerment.
Restore their dignity and provide to them a new beginning.
Protect all our Volunteers who go out to educate Hotel Personnel and who have the hope of rescuing those who are held captive in slavery.
Help us reach out in support of victims and survivors of human trafficking.
Make us instruments of your Spirit for their liberation.
We pray all this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.