Human Trafficking


"I ask my brothers and sisters in faith and all men and women of good will for a decisive choice to combat trafficking in persons, which includes "slave labor."
Pope Francis, May 5, 2013

"Just remember: YIMBY — 'Yes, in my back yard'"
Cherie Sammis
Vice President, Mission Integration
St. Mary's of Michigan Medical Center
Saginaw, Mich.

Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. Victims are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex or forced labor. Victims are children, teenagers, women, and men.

Human trafficking has many faces: forced or bonded labor; domestic servitude and forced marriage; organ removal; and the exploitation of children in begging, the sex trade, and warfare. However, probably due to statistical bias and national legislation, sexual exploitation (79 percent) is by far the most commonly identified form of trafficking in persons, followed by forced labor (18 percent), according to the United Nations.

Catholic and other health care organizations and their health care professionals can help victims of human trafficking by being alert to the problem and realizing patients they are treating may be victims. You can help by:

  • Raising awareness throughout your organization using educational programs, posters, and fliers
  • Asking all clinicians, especially those delivering primary and emergency services, to be alert to signs that their patients may be victims of human trafficking.
  • Adding the issue of human trafficking to all protocols and policies already in place to help victims of domestic abuse.
  • Becoming part of community-wide coalitions made up of health care and other service providers, including your local Catholic Charities agency, law enforcement agencies, and other interested groups.
  • Advocating for laws and policies that protect victims of human trafficking.

As part of Catholic health ministry's commitment to promote and defend human dignity, care for poor and vulnerable persons and act on behalf of justice, and in support of the ministry-wide initiative, "Faithfully United Against Human Trafficking," CHA has created a card that sheds light on the injustices of the cocoa trade, and in particular, child labor and slavery, for use in employee education efforts. Themed for Easter, the card is available at no cost (free cards and free shipping) in packs of five.

> Review the card.

> Order cards.


Human Trafficking Networking Conference Calls

While the Catholic Health Association has worked on this issues for several years, especially in collaboration with other Catholic organizations through the Catholic Campaign Against Human Trafficking, we are expanding these efforts to include an exchange of information among CHA members on their and activities and to explore what, as a united ministry, we could do together. To launch this effort we have scheduled the following networking calls:

  • Sept. 24, 2014
  • Feb. 19, 2015
The calls will begin at noon (ET), 11 a.m. (CT), 10 a.m. (MT), 9 a.m.  (PT), and last one hour.

To access the call, please use this information:

Phone number: (866) 642-1665
Participant Code: 700411

Please join in on these free calls to raise awareness among CHA members of the problem of human trafficking, with particular attention to clinicians in primary and emergency care and other administrative offices that might impact the issue, such as events/meetings and investment offices. Together, we will increase awareness about the problem, advocate on needed public policy issues and encourage action within the Catholic health ministry to address human trafficking.

Please contact Julie Trocchio, CHA senior director of community benefit and continuing care, to be added to the email list for reminders about these networking calls and about any activities within your organization to address human trafficking and/or resources you are willing to share with your ministry colleagues on the CHA website or during a call.


Find Out More

These websites can help you find important information and resources for helping victims of human trafficking, such as these key organization that offer information and resource materials:

If you think someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline: (888) 373-7888.

Sign Up for Updates

Click here to sign up to receive email updates regarding the Catholic Campaign Against Human Trafficking.

Two New Posters!

Developed to raise awareness among staff of CHA member organizations of the problem of human trafficking, CHA has developed two new posters — FREE for CHA members!


Faithfully United Against Human TraffickingFaithfully United Against Human Trafficking
Download a copy:
8.5x11 (English)
8.5x11 (Spanish)
11x17 (English)
11x17 (Spanish)

Order copies (free posters and free shipping!)

Recoginize the Face of Human TraffickingRecognize the Face of Human Trafficking
Download a copy:
8.5x11 (English)
8.5x11 (Spanish)
11x17 (English)
11x17 (Spanish)

Order copies (free posters and free shipping!)

Tools You Can Use

  • Fact sheets
  • Newsletters
  • HHS Resources for Health Care Providers
  • Posters
  • And more

> Click here for more information

Pope Francis Appeal

On Wednesday, May 1, 2013, Pope Francis launched an urgent appeal to Christians and men and women of goodwill worldwide to take decisive steps to end slave labor. " … How many people worldwide are victims of this type of slavery, in which the person is at the service of his or her work, while work should offer a service to people so they may have dignity. I ask my brothers and sisters in faith and all men and women of good will for a decisive choice to combat trafficking in persons, which includes "slave labor."

> Access the full text of the pope's May 1 general audience.

Pope calls human trafficking 'despicable, a disgrace' — read an article about his comments, made May 24, 2013.