I am very grateful to Brian Willis, guest columnist, for sharing the following article regarding the important work his organization is undertaking to fight the ill effects of human trafficking in our world today.

Global Health Promise: Helping mothers who are victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and their children.

Brian Willis, a parishioner at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Portland, Oregon, has co-founded a project to assist mothers who are victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and their children.

His project, called Global Health Promise, is working with Caritas Nepal, a Catholic relief and development organization, to open three shelters for children of these mothers in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Brian met with a group of trafficked and exploited mothers in Kathmandu and learned that they do not have a safe place for their children and that many of their children die. The mothers asked Brian to promise to keep working on this issue. He did promise along with a colleague, Dr. Katherine Welch. Katherine is based in China where she has provided care for many exploited women and mothers.

This situation is not unique to Nepal and China however. Brian estimates that there are 10 million trafficked and exploited mothers globally who are raising 20 million children, including in the U.S. Many of these mothers are extremely poor and are trafficked as they seeking jobs to care for their children. Many other mothers are so poor and have no other option resort to selling themselves just to feed their children.

Global Health Promise strongly believes that no mother should be trafficked nor need to resort to prostitution to feed or care for her children.

One of his main objectives is to get Catholic organizations that combat human trafficking to understand the needs of trafficking victims who are mothers and to expand their programs to include all exploited mothers and their children.

Brian has also petitioned The Vatican to recognize St. Josephine Bakhita as the patron saint of victims of human trafficking.

The Catholic Church has many programs to combat human trafficking, but generally these programs do not recognize that many of the women they help are also mothers.

Catholic moms can learn more about our work on our website at www.globalhealthpromise.org.

Catholic moms who want to support our project in Nepal can do fund raisers, encourage their families and friends to donate, or donate themselves on our secure website. All donations are tax deductible.

This is an issue about mothers and we need the support of mothers to protect these very vulnerable and exploited women.

Global Health Promise is a project of The Task Force for Child Survival and Development, www.taskforce.org. This affiliation allows us to keep our overhead and administrative expenses to a minimum.

Brian is also available to anyone who would like to learn more about this issue and our work. You can contact him at BWillis@taskforce.org or by calling him at 503-243-5848.

Prayer for victims of human trafficking and modern day slavery

Dear Lord,

We know that throughout history slavery has existed: from Egypt to Babylon your chosen people suffered the oppression of slavery and only through Your intervention were they freed.

Through Your grace there have been other great victories over slavery. Yet today millions of our brothers and sisters are victims of human trafficking and held captive in modern-day slavery, from fields and factories to bars and brothels, simply to satisfy the greed of their masters and customers. Once again Lord we need your help to fight slavery.

We pray for all victims of human trafficking and slavery wherever they live:
Lord, grant them freedom, hope, faith, courage, health and dignity.

We pray for their oppressors:
Lord, open their eyes and hearts that they may free your children;

We pray for the families of the victims:
Lord, comfort them.

We pray for those who fight trafficking and slavery:
Lord, give them the strength and unwavering dedication to wage this battle in on Your behalf;

We pray, Lord, for Your help, that the chains that bind the hands and feet of slaves, and the chains that bind the hearts and minds that allow slavery to exist, will be forever broken.

(Composed by Brian Willis, Director of Global Health Promise. www.globalhealthpromise.org)