“We must love our neighbor
as being made in the image
of God and as an object of
His love.”

St. Vincent de Paul


Immigration and Ending Human Trafficking Justice Circle


Continuing the Legacy of Love and Justice….SC Immigration and End Human Trafficking Justice Circle

Immigrants become vulnerable to human trafficking when they are forced to flee and migrate. Immigration and human trafficking are clearly interconnected, especially in the United States. In fact, the U.S. State Department estimates that 72% of persons trafficked in the United States each year are immigrants.” (Human Trafficking Institute) Migrants and immigrants, including children, are sold for sex and labor and exploited across a range of industries in the United States. Believing that all life has God given dignity and is sacred, and all life must be protected and flourish, our Justice Circle must work to end human trafficking.  The elimination of human trafficking is a priority issue for the Catholic Church and all people of good will.

Women religious play an integral part in the battle against human trafficking. In 2001, 800 women leaders of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) passed a resolution dedicating one million members “to work in solidarity with one another within our own religious communities and in the countries in which we are located to address insistently at every level the abuse and sexual exploitation of women and children…” The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati have taken a Public Stance to abolish human trafficking. “As a Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, we believe that the practice of human trafficking should be abolished in law and in practice.”

Immigrants become vulnerable to profitable organized crime networks when forced to flee their work and homes because of floods, famine, natural disasters caused by climate change, war, famine, violence, corruption, gangs, pervasive poverty and political corruption. Those forced to migrate are vulnerable because the United States immigration system is so broken and immigrants fear deportation. They are afraid to seek protection from police and other legal authorities. Human traffickers thrive when vulnerability is high and immigrant individuals and families do not have viable economic or political options.

Refugees vs. Asylum Seekers:

  • Refugees come to the US with legal documents allowing them to enter the country. This allows them to get state IDs, jobs, housing, etc.
  • Asylum seekers don’t come with all documents; therefore, it is much more difficult to get jobs, housing, etc. It requires a great deal of legal help to get these documents. Those unable to get legal assistance are often deported back to their home country.

Newcomers Transition Program:

In September of 2018 the Newcomers Transition Program welcomed a family of 4 who were seeking asylum from the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). Five years later, they are thriving and have received their Green Cards. The Sisters of Charity Community purchased a duplex in 2022 to house larger families with the help of WIN (Working in Neighborhoods).  In the spring of 2023, a family of 8 from Burundi moved in, and then in the summer of 2023, a family of 6 from Jordan moved in.  Both families are refugee families that are working with Catholic Charities.  We continue to help assist them with learning English and acclimating to Cincinnati.

Expectations of our Justice Circle related to Immigration and Ending Human Trafficking

Our Expectations of our Justice Circle related to Immigration and Ending Human Trafficking are to convene a Justice Circle focused We choose to explore how the Sisters of Charity (Associates and Sisters) can combine our voices with other groups in the city, state and nationally to insure that government policies and administrative actions are consistent with the goal of just comprehensive immigration reform and with the goal of abolishing human trafficking. We want to ensure that immigrants, immigrant families, and survivors of human trafficking can heal, thrive, maximize their potential, and contribute to the common good. We will strive:                                            

  • To obtain accurate information regarding what is in the news, and will provide and send out reputable news sources
  • Do what we can to welcome, integrate and help
    • Advocacy including action alerts
    • Hand-on assistance with our families living in the St. Bernard duplex
    • Assist Sisters and Associates who are working with immigrants and survivors of human trafficking
    • Op-eds or letters to the editor
  • Have a central person who can send out information regarding needs
    • Do outreach to the family of Charity
    • Education in Cedars and or via Zoom
    • Sharing information – e.g. refugee vs. asylum seeker
    • How to be involved in advocacy and action alerts
  • Discern what is needed for our newcomer families and survivor services organizations.
  • Coordinate with SC Justice Promotor and the other justice circles, and other like-minded organizations when possible.
  • Address systemic racism that underlies the false narratives regarding immigrants and their right to migrate. Systemic racism also impacts who are more likely to be the victims of human trafficking.

This Circle meets on an every other month basis on 2nd Monday of the month at 4:00 PM virtually and in Halloran Room. Contact S. Sandy Howe at Sandy.Howe@srcharitycinti.org or S. Sally Duffy at sduffy@srcharitycinti.org.

Immigration and Ending Human Trafficking Justice Circle Members

Associate Angela Anno, S. Mary Bookser, S. Nancy Bramlage, S. Sally Duffy, S. Mary Catherine Faller, S. Sandy Howe, S. Ann Hunt, S. Franette Hyc, Associate Liz Maxwell, S. Annette Paveglio, Associate Rhonda Pfaltzgraff-Carlson, Associate Beth Ronan, S. Patricia Sabourin, Associate Dave Scharfenberger, Associate Vicki Welsh, Associate Mary Ellen Williams and S. Patricia Wittberg.

Immigration Resources

Sign up for the CLINIC Daily and resources provided by Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. go to https://cliniclegal.org/email .

Subscribe to Justice for Immigrants (JFI) that is part of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. You can go to the bottom page of this link https://justiceforimmigrants.org/

You can also sign up for the Center for Migration Studies weekly digest of news at https://cmsny.org/latest-insights/migration-update/?y=2022 .

An Article Catholics Need to Read: Our Language about Immigration – a well-written, short article about common terms people use and terms that are more compassionate.

SC Immigration Justice Circle is a member of the Immigrant Dignity Coalition (IDC). IDC meets virtually or in person at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati monthly on the 4th Wednesday from 6:30 to 8 PM. IDC’s purpose is to inform, connect, and mobilize the Southwest Ohio/Northern Kentucky community to defend and protect the dignity of immigrants and refugee community by working in partnership as allies. https://ijpccincinnati.org/immigrant-dignity-coalition/

Ending Human Trafficking Resources

Cincinnati End Human Trafficking Coalitions – End Slavery Salvation Army https://easternusa.salvationarmy.org/greater-cincinnati/end-slavery-cincinnati/get-involved/

Coalition Meeting the 3rd Thursday from 1 PM to 2 PM, Legislation on first Wednesday from 11 am to Noon, and Public Education & Awareness Committee.

US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking has working groups, a newsletter, annual convening, advocacy day, website, etc. The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are members and sponsor the USCSAHT “Stop Trafficking Newsletter” https://sistersagainsttrafficking.org/

Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Public Statement on Immigration

We, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, support the pastoral letter of Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United StatesStrangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, which acknowledges that the current immigration system cries out for change.

We recognize the rights of all our immigrant/refugee sisters and brothers. We believe the resolution of immigration/refugee issues must be viewed through the lens of economic analysis. Therefore, we call for change in unjust immigration policies and unfair trade agreements by our nation, and we will continue our direct outreach to immigrants and refugees. (2007)

Immigration Statement of the Vincentian Family Social Justice Representatives

We, the social justice representatives of the Vincentian Family of North America, endorse and commit to promote the following principles* for Immigration Reform:

  • Preserve and ensure family unity as a corner-stone of our national immigration system
  • Safeguard the rights of immigrant workers, including the restoration of due process and humane practices to our immigration enforcement policies
  • Acknowledge that our borders are already secure and require only minor changes
  • Foster prompt and efficient processing of already-approved immigrant
  • Enhance the present diversity visa program for migrants to receive permanent residency
  • Provide legal channels for low-skilled immigrant workers to come and work in the U.S.
  • Provide a clear and direct pathway to citizenship for undocumented persons in the U.S.
  • Address the core causes of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity


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