Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook

Archives A look at modern slavery

Feb. 6, 2019

Submitted by Mary Palamar
St. Cyril’s Church, Alexandria Bay

Since biblical times, the world has been plagued by human slavery. Unfortunately, it still exists in the world today, more than any other time in human history. Human trafficking, a form of slavery, has become a worldwide humanitarian crisis.

In many countries in the world, child labor exists, with children working long hours, deprived of any schooling and often in unsafe conditions, and exposed to hazardous substances. Cobalt mined by children is used in batteries in common devices, such as cell phones and laptops, which are sold here. In other countries, men and young boys are enslaved in cocoa farms. The cocoa they harvest winds up in our chocolate.

In other countries, men working on fishing ships are deprived of basic necessities. The seafood they catch often winds up on our tables. There are many more examples of products used In the United States that are produced by the forced labor of children, men and women.

In the United States, many are surprised to learn that slavery still exists. There may not be the same types of abuses, such as children working on cocoa farms, but we do have human trafficking. In 2000, the first set of Federal Laws were passed to address how the country could eliminate human trafficking.

These laws have been updated as more and more work has been done on this issue. The latest version, signed into law Jan. 9, 2019, requires education in our communities about how we inform our members to recognize and prevent trafficking. It encourages faith-based programs to collaborate with other agencies, such as social services, law enforcement, medical personnel and providers of safe housing to rescued victims.

The Catholic Church, recognizing the dignity of the human person, has long been concerned about slavery. Our last three popes have written about the need to eliminate human trafficking. The church has declared Feb. 8 as an International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.


Learn more about human trafficking in the North Country at “Human Trafficking: Protecting Our Children; What’s Happening in Our Own Backyard?”

The event includes presentations by Salka Valerio, a case worker at Crime Victim Assistance Center in Binghamton and a Survivor of victim of trafficking, as well as Victoria Recor of Watertown, parent of a trafficked survivor.

The presentation, rescheduled from a previous date due to weather, will run on Feb. 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, Hearthside Hospitality Center, located at 1425 Washington Street in Watertown.

The event, sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph Social Justice Committee, is free and open to the public.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.