Ursuline Sister Michele Morek was one of 12 women religious who spent two and a half days in Washington, D.C., serving as an expert on human trafficking.
The sisters were brought together April 9-11 by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in collaboration with the Bakhita Initiative (U.S. Catholic Sisters United Against Human Slavery). The purpose of this meeting was to strengthen collaboration among women religious by sharing resources and ideas that would help to better minister to victims, educate the public about modern-day slavery and influence public policy relative to this assault on the dignity of people.
Sister Michele represented UNANIMA International, where she serves as coalition coordinator. The nongovernmental organization of the United Nations has made human trafficking one of its main issues as part of its efforts to focus on the needs of women and children around the world, especially those living in poverty.
The LCWR group had an opportunity to share information with representatives from church, federal government and NGOs. Nathalie Lummert, director of programs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke about two new initiatives of the Bishops’ Conference, the Amistad Movement and the Dignity of Work Program. George Sheldon, assistant secretary for administration for Children and Families at Health and Human Services, spoke to the group. A highlight was their participation in the release of recommendations of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; “Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern-day Slavery.” The report may be accessed at:
Participants committed themselves to specific actions that would assist more effective communication and sharing of resources about anti-trafficking in congregations throughout the United States.