As people of faith, the grave injustice of human trafficking cries out for a response. As our Maryland bishops remind us: "The Gospel calls us to break this yoke of modern-day slavery by raising awareness about the scope of this problem and doing all that we can as Catholics to recognize, set free, embrace and empower our brothers and sisters who are victims of human trafficking."
Both sex and labor trafficking occur in our state when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or performing labor against his/her will. Any child under the age of 18 engaged in commercial sexual acts is a trafficked child.
Anyone can be a victim of trafficking (women and men, children and adults), but at highest risk are vulnerable young people who are runaways, homeless, impoverished, undocumented immigrants, or have a history of experiencing domestic violence, abuse, neglect, addictions, foster care, or the juvenile justice systems.
Possible indicators of human trafficking:
- Injuries or signs of abuse
- Threats of harm or deportation to individual or family
- Having to work excessive hours or when sick
- Little or no pay, or working to pay off a debt
- Restricted or scripted communication
- Inhumane living conditions
- No ID documentation
If you suspect human trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
Help raise awareness and pray and work to end human trafficking with our parish anti-trafficking toolkit.
Among the legislative initiatives on which the Conference has successfully engaged:
- Defining sex trafficking under the criminal code as a crime of violence
- Defining labor trafficking as a crime for the first time in Maryland
- Protecting the confidentiality of trafficking survivors’ addresses
- Establishing Safe Harbor regional navigators for child sex trafficking victims
- Requiring knowledge and training about human trafficking for the test for a commercial driver's license (CDL)