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By Sister Pat Davis and Sister Rita Jovick, PBVMSF
The Northern California Catholic Sisters against Human Trafficking offered a Stop Slavery Now workshop on Saturday, October 3, 2015, at Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. The goal was to train Sisters and volunteers to visit hotels and motels to educate their mangers about human trafficking. These efforts to banish modern day slavery are critical because on February 7, 2016, the 50th Super Bowl will take place in the South Bay Area. This major sporting event is considered by law enforcement agencies to increase exponentially the number of those forced into modern day slavery.
Just five days later, on October 8, 2015, carrying folders with information about how to prevent human trafficking, Sister Rita Jovick and Presentation Associate Sionie Del Rosario drove to seven motels and one hotel in and around Daly City. The reception that they received from those working at the front desk varied from very interested to indifferent. However, even those who did not think human trafficking happened or would happen at their motels and hotels, accepted the folders with information about how to prevent modern day slavery.
At one motel, a woman dressed in Middle Eastern clothing, seemed uncomfortable when Associate Sionie and Sister Rita first spoke to her and she did not look directly at them. After they explained how the materials that they would be leaving with her, would help identify those who are being trafficked, the woman’s interest changed. She looked up and said that this was a good thing that was being done.
In the San Jose area, Sister Rosemary Campi and others who also attended the training will begin soon to visit local motels and hotels. Sister Rosemary remarked how impressed she was to see senior high school students from San Jose’s Bellarmine College Preparatory and other young people wanting to help and make a difference.
In addition, San Francisco International Presentation Association Justice Contact Sister Pat Davis says the Presentation Justice Committee continues collecting donations of toiletries, small notebooks or journals for the Freedom House, a nonprofit organization with a mission to bring hope, restoration and a new life to survivors of human trafficking by providing a safe home and long-term aftercare. The donations will be given to two of its local programs: The Monarch House for ages 18 and up in San Mateo County and The Nest for ages 12 to 17 in the San Jose area. Presentation Associate Paula Johnson continues non-stop to create her beautiful quilts and our motherhouse sisters and volunteers have sent their first gift of the beautiful heart-shape pillows for these survivors of modern day slavery.