Religious Sisters of Charity across the world will not only be praying on July 30th for victims of exploitation but will be taking concrete action. The United Nations theme this year is: “Use and abuse of technology”. Our Congregation has prepared resources for sisters highlighting the role of technology that enables trafficking in persons to happen as well as the power of the internet to disrupt the flow. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw an increase in trafficking attempts using technology. Often young people could not go to school and participated in online learning, unfortunately allowing traffickers more access.
Throughout our countries, we continue to raise awareness and during this particular time, we educate people about how they can be tricked into an appealing job opportunity through social media, emails or websites. We also raise awareness of the sexual exploitation of children online through technology and various social media platforms to engage young people and entice them into sharing graphic photos or worse, to respond to an in-person invitation.
As a Congregation, we value technology and see the vast opportunities it offers us to connect, advocate for change, learn and pray together across the world in Zoom gatherings. Technology can also be of benefit in combatting trafficking worldwide. Through advocacy, we have helped change laws, raised awareness, and educated others about safe use of technology. During our July 30 prayer, we end with two concrete actions our sisters will take.
As Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” We plan to make ripples by signing an online petition to Google to end use of explicit photos of child exploitation online. We also have a link to send a letter demanding that Metaverse, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, will prioritise child online safety on their platforms. You might like to join us in this action by clicking on these links to sign the petition and send a letter.
https://endsexualexploitation.org/google/ Scroll to the bottom to sign the petition in red section. Uncheck boxes so you don’t receive their updates or emails.
https://endsexualexploitation.org/meta/ Scroll down to take action. Make sure you continue to “send letter”.
A sample of our prayer that day will be the following:
Loving God, we reflect together on the Internet and new technologies which have transformed the landscape of human trafficking. We know that traffickers use social media and other online tools to exploit vulnerable individuals, mostly children and young adults, especially for sexual exploitation. Today we pray for the transformation of this landscape into one where technology authentically connects us with one another by exploring our imagination, by sharing our stories, by recognizing the power of the technological word to heal, to comfort, to act in solidarity. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name – he who is your Word, your icon, your face made visible in our world. Amen.
Sisters Justina Nelson and Gloria Ozuluoke on Radio raising awareness of trafficking
Mobile phones connect us with family and friends
Future of literacy is technological skill