An African proverb
I have always been struck by the African Proverb
If you want to go fast, travel alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
It was just a decade ago, even if it was a decade ago, that women religious around the world came together under the leadership of the International Union of General Superiors to work together to combat what is called human trafficking or slavery. Human slavery in its many modern disguises is a problem that is unfortunately still below the radar of most people.
In April 2012, the Daughters of Charity in the United States and Canada adopted a united stand in support of human rights and in opposition to human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labor.
They have a very attractive website, Just Freedom, which states
The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul strive, worldwide, to eliminate all forms of modern slavery and to assist migrants as they seek safety and asylum. The Daughters hope that, through education and awareness, others will be compelled to take action
The Report Card
This week on the Daughters of Charity site Just Freedom, I read about a report card that allows one to see state by state how much progress has happened when women around the world committed to collaboration.
The report highlights the measurable progress that has been made on reforming legislation in 49 states during the last decade. Isn’t this a demonstration of the power of collaboration in systemic change?
Recognizing that most of the gaps in responding to domestic minor sex trafficking must be addressed at the state level, they focused on
- Challenge Legislative Framework addresses state laws related to the following:
- Preventing domestic minor sex trafficking through reducing demand
- Providing appropriate responses to victims through improved training on identification
- Establishing protocols and facilities for victim placement
- Mandating appropriate services and shelter
- Incorporating trauma-reducing mechanisms into the justice system
See how much your state improved since 2011. See their impressive fact sheet.
Of course, there is a lot more to be done on many fronts. But it shows what happens when people collaborate in advocacy and provide each other with tools.
Vincentian Family Collaborations
There is much that the Vincentian Family can teach and learn.
The Vincentian Family Homeless Alliance is certainly an example of what can be and is being done.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has made great headway with their Voice of the Poor initiatives.
These are just some of the ways the Vincentian family is working hard and effectively to change systems.
What remains is for local groups to become more collaboratively involved in local issues.
Food for Thought
- God hears the “cry of the poor”! Do we hear the cries of those trapped in cycles of poverty??
- How can I support those who are engaged on the front lines of “seeking long term solutions?
- What might be holding me back?