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January 1, 2013 > FBI presents Leadership Award to Sisters of the Holy Family

FBI presents Leadership Award to Sisters of the Holy Family

Submitted By Charlotte Hall
Photos By Edward Ledda

On December 12, FBIÕs San Francisco Field Office, Acting Special Agent in Charge Joel Moss presented their 2012 DirectorÕs Community Leadership Award to Sisters of the Holy Family of Fremont for their work in raising awareness on human trafficking and internet safety. ÒI am honored to recognize Sisters of the Holy Family for making a difference in our community,Ó said agent Moss. ÒTheir advocacy for ending human trafficking and working with both parents and children in internet safety mirrors the FBIÕs efforts in building a safer community. They personify the true meaning of this award by identifying a need and making it their personal mission to raise awareness for some of the worst crimes targeting our youth. We are grateful for their continued efforts and untiring work.Ó

This annual award, created by the FBI in 1990, is a way to publicly recognize the achievements of individuals and organizations that make extraordinary contributions to crime and violence prevention and education in their communities. Sisters of the Holy Family have been actively involved in addressing the issue of human trafficking since 2008. They are a vital link between law enforcement agencies, faith communities, and community resources that help victims.

Earlier this year, the Sisters organized a series of educational presentations with the FBI on these issues, and yearly give as many as 50 talks educating the public about human trafficking. They provide money and support to organizations like Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting, Serving, Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSSEY) of Oakland and The SAGE Project (Standing Against Global Exploitation), which both provide help to victims.

Accepting the Award, Sister Gladys, President of Sisters of the Holy Family, said, ÒWe are truly grateful for this award. This honor reinforces our commitment to raise awareness of human trafficking and crimes against children, to find creative ways to support those rescued from human trafficking, and to support legislative action on behalf of all caught in the web of these terrible crimes.Ó

Sister Carritas Foster, coordinator of the SistersÕ anti-human trafficking ministry said, "Human Trafficking is modern day slavery. People are being exploited, bought and sold. They are abused, have no freedom, no rights." She went on to say, "This year we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation which was enacted to end slavery in our country. But slavery still exists. Today we recommit ourselves to be abolitionistsÉto end slavery in our time."

Nola Brantley, Director of MISSSEY, which empowers girls exploited by the sex trade, said, "This award could not have been awarded to a more deserving organizations. We stand on their shoulders. We would not be here without their support."

According to a United Nations report:
¥ Every year an estimated 17,000 people are trafficked across the United States borders and then forced into slavery.
¥ Nearly 1.5 million victims are currently laboring in conditions of forced labor, sexual exploitation or servitude in the United States, Canada, and the developed countries of Europe.
¥ 55 percent of forced labor victims are women and girls. 26 percent of victims (5.5 million people worldwide) are children under the age of 17.

The Sisters of the Holy Family was founded in 1872 in San Francisco to seek out, with compassion, the poor and needy, especially families for the Kingdom of God. The work of the early Sisters took them well beyond the church walls, into the neighborhoods where they cared for people spiritually, physically and emotional. For over a century the Sisters have continued to seek out new ways to respond to the changing needs of families and children. Today their congregation works from their Motherhouse in Fremont, California.

The Sisters of the Holy Family's work in the fight against Human Trafficking is in unison with the stance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) which says, "From both a public policy and pastoral perspective, our Catholic approach to immigrant people, and to all people, is deeply rooted in the fundamental Scriptural and theological truth that all human beings are imago Dei Ð created in the image and likeness of God.Ó

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