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Nuns target sex trafficking at Super Bowl

Women from eleven religious orders are working with hotels in the Indianapolis area to curb sexual trafficking associated with the Super Bowl this weekend.

Incidents of sexual trafficking tend to spike around major sporting events, said Grace Skalski of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in LaGrange, which participated in the Super Bowl 2012 Anti-Trafficking Initiative.

The nuns called over 200 hotels asking if employees had been trained to recognize, document and report incidents of human trafficking.  They ended up providing training to employees of several hotels and supplying nearly a hundred hotels with brochures, information about the hospitality industry’s code of conduct on child sexual exploitation, and contact information for victim hotlines and safe houses.

Religious orders in the Coalition for Corporate Responsibility for Indiana and Michigan buy stock in hotel chains in order to establish dialogues on the issue of human trafficking in the hospitality industry.

“These are activities that happen in the dark,” said Sister Ann Oestreich, co-chair of CCRIM. “What we are attempting to do is to shine a light on sex trafficking and reduce opportunities for it to happen.”

“Human trafficking is a tragic violation of human rights that devastates its victims, strips away their dignity and security, and tears at the fabric of our global society,” said Sister Pat Bergen of LaGrange Park.  “It is a form of imprisonment and oppression which demands a compassionate response to the cries of victims who long for a future with hope.”

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