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Holy Names sisters initiate effort on trafficking of women

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Washington Province have initiated a campaign of education and action in response to the order’s stand opposing the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation and forced child labor.

“According to the U.S. State Department, about 4 million women and children are trafficked across international borders each year—about 50,000 into the United States,” said Margaret Ames, SNJM associate and Seattle-area project coordinator.   “After arms and drugs, trafficking women and children for sexual exploitation is the third most lucrative business in the world for organized crime.”

Because Washington is one of the international gateways, the Holy Names Sisters decided to begin the efforts here. Smuggling East of the Cascades rose in 2004 because of increased security on the Western Washington border, said Sister Linda Haydock, SNJM, director of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center in Seattle, which is working with the Washington State Anti-Trafficking Task Force Coalition.

In Spokane, the Sisters of the Holy Names are providing educational opportunities on the issue, along with striving to meet needs of vulnerable populations through participation in such ministries as Women’s Hearth, Educare and Our Place, said Sister Marcia Schrapps, SNJM.

Holy Names Sisters Phyllis Taufen and Karen Conlin, and SNJM associate Sally Duffy have visited several travel agencies and the police in Spokane to educate them about what to look for.  They are also visiting health and human service agencies to inform them.

Internationally, the sisters are collaborating with 800 other religious communities to eradicate “this outrageous and growing epidemic of trafficking in women and children,” said Sister Mary Pat Leroy, the order’s leader. 

For information, call 328-7470 or see

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