Susan Rose Francois 01-23-2015

Fist symbol. Photo via Arthimedes /

When stories of human trafficking or dramatic rescue operations come across our news feeds, we are understandably shocked. For a moment, our attention is grabbed and we feel genuine outrage toward the traffickers and, hopefully, compassion for the trafficked persons. But to what end? 

Sadly, the underground and criminal nature of human trafficking helps to keep the stark realities out of sight and, consequently, out of the minds of most people. When we do think of human trafficking, it tends to be as something that happens “over there” or in seedy brothels. It is somehow easier to blame the bad actors, pimps, traffickers, and sweatshop managers rather than recognize the multiple ways that we are connected to human trafficking through our everyday actions. Because we are, in fact, connected. As Pope Francis observed in his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium: “There is greater complicity than we think. The issue [modern slavery] involves everyone!”

Human trafficking is present in virtually every human community. Moreover, because the majority of people held in slavery today are forced to work in agriculture and mining, it is inevitable that products make it into the supply chain and our shopping carts. Sex trafficking also does not happen in a vacuum, but rather in a social context which tolerates, and even normalizes, sexual exploiation and the commodification of the human person.

James Colten 11-11-2011
King David (left, by Paul Reubens) and Joe Paterno (coaching in 2010)

King David (left, by Paul Reubens) and Joe Paterno (coaching in 2010)

Abuse of physical strength and power hasn’t been limited to the locker rooms at Penn State. Nor is it limited to middle-aged men. It's in every culture, every city and state, and in every generation. And, I might add, it is both wicked and foolish.

I think we’ve been given enough examples of such abuse being handled incorrectly—to be swept under the rug instead of dealt with directly. The silence of witnesses only allows the abuse to continue. When I spoke with Daniel Walker, author of the new book God in a Brothel, about child slavery and prostitution, he noted that the men who oppress women and children don’t need to be ministered to as much as they need to be held accountable.

Joe Pa, 84, who had coached at Penn State for more than 45 years, has been fired, and the university’s president has resigned over the abuse scandal. Both actions were reactive responses to a problem that really needed proactive intervention.

Eugene Cho 05-12-2011
Like all of you, I was stunned some days ago as I started soaking in the breaking news of Osama bin Laden's capture and death via U.S. military operations.
Jim Wallis 02-09-2011
The Super Bowl was a good football game and the team I liked best won -- the Green Bay Packers. The team is owned by its city, not some narcissistic rich guy, and I like that.
Justin Fung 05-20-2010
NASA released a new image yesterday that shows a large column of oil heading from the Deepwater Horizon rig site in the Gulf of Mexico out into the open ocean, a startling and heartbreaking indicat
Gary M. Burge 04-26-2010

Bethlehem, West Bank. Evangelicals have never been keen on political protests. Especially the sort that includes rifles and grenades -- in the hands of your opponents.

Allen Johnson 04-15-2010
The heart-chilling news flashed through West Virginia's Coal River valley, a darkening pall on the blue sky afternoon of April 5, 2010, one day after Easter's hope-filled celebration of resurrectio
Cesar Baldelomar 04-08-2010

The Catholic church is reeling from the several sexual abuse allegations that have come to light over the past three months. Downplaying the severity of this scandal will only further damage the already beleaguered church's image and credibility. Many in the media blame Pope Benedict XVI for the mismanagement of the sexual abuse crisis.

George Mitrovich 04-02-2010
As a Christian, I have a high level of sensitivity toward Jews, of a never-ending sense to be protective of their religion
Wendy Murray 03-30-2010
The sex abuse scandals plaguing the Catholic Church simply will not go away. Even the Pope himself is not immune.