"Over the course of 18 months, Associated Press journalists located men held in cages, tracked ships and stalked refrigerated trucks to expose the abusive practices of the fishing industry in Southeast Asia. The reporters’ dogged effort led to the release of more than 2,000 slaves and traced the seafood they caught to supermarkets and pet food providers across the U.S. For this investigation, AP has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The articles are presented here in their entirety."
Many of us can trace back our acknowledgment and recognition that labor trafficking and modern-day slavery are real to an eye-opening investigative series of reports by AP in 2015 and 2016.
Amazing story of intervention by the Catholic Charities of Archdiocese of Washington to support young woman find freedom and a new life.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources:
"Scared, with no one to turn to, Carla (name has been changed to protect the privacy of the people we serve) was in a country where she didn’t speak the language. She had endured serious abuse as a victim of sex trafficking. She had already been trafficked across several states.When the trafficking ring was raided by police, Carla was immediately placed in a detention center due to her immigration status. The law firm assisting her knew that Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington operated with support from the OTIP-funded Trafficking Victim Assistance Program and reached out to refer Carla for services."
To continue reading complete story, click here.
Our Emergency Delegation to Honduras has issued a report on our visit with the following findings:
Read the full report by clicking here.
Now it's your turn.
Please click here to send a letter to your U. S. Representative urging the suspension of police and military funds to Honduras. Funds should be suspended until human rights are assured and members of the police and military, who have committed human rights abuses, are brought to justice. Encourage your Representative to co-sponsor the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act (H.R. 1299).
I recently returned from Honduras as part of a 50-member Emergency Faith Delegation. We responded to the plea of Fr. Melo (Rev. Ismael Moreno, SJ) who asked, "We need you to organize delegations that will come to accompany us, to witness what is happening here and to share it with the world."
Honduras is in an extreme crisis following a grievously flawed presidential election on November 26th. Social movements have been pouring into the streets for weeks protesting electoral fraud, and have been repressed by Honduran security forces. As of today, 38 people have been killed and hundreds wounded and detained.
The Jesuit station, Radio Progreso, one of the last independent media in the country, was sabotaged in mid-December, its transmission tower destroyed. Recently, new death threats were issued against Father Melo and other social justice activists.
Please act today to help insure justice for our sisters and brothers in Honduras. Thank you.
One of my fellow delegates from the Emergency Delegation to Honduras last month also is a photographer. Mark Coplan documented our trip to Honduras and is sharing his photographs with us.
If you use any of the photos, credit: Mark Coplan.
Here is Mark's Photo Sampler (or his Top 248):
Below are two videos created by Mark:
Emergency Faith Delegation to Honduras Sampler Video (12 min): https://vimeo.com/254782979
Emergency Faith Delegation to Honduras - the week (Jan 24-30, 2018) (31 min): https://vimeo.com/254999850
Today we held a press conference outside of the U.S. Embassy. At the conference, we called for an end to the violence and death threats to Fr. Melo, S.J., the leaders of the Popular Movement, and the people of Honduras.
We expressed our support for the Popular Sector's demand for a National Dialogue for Peace with an International Mediator.
We called on the. U. S. Government to end its support of the illegitimate election results.
We urged the end of U.S. Security Aid and the Militarization of the Region.
We demanded the end to the deportation of Hondurans and all Central Americans from the United States.
We pledged our ongoing love and support for the people of Honduras.
After the press conference, we met with senior staff of the U. S. Embassy. We shared with them our experience of our meetings with victims and family members of victims of police and military violence. We reported our firsthand observations of police violence. We reported our observation of widespread disbelief in the validity of the election and support for new elections.
The Embassy staff saw gradual progress but said they would review the specific instances we brought to their attention. After the meeting, I spoke with one of the staff members of my observation of some 100 heavily armed police and military personnel, some wearing black masks, confronting a group of about 40 young adults and children. He simply replied that not all demonstrations are peaceful. I left feeling that he would not be of help in addressing a problem when he doesn't see it as a problem. I view such a disproportionate response as a display of raw power for the purpose of intimidating citizens and discouraging dissent.
En route from San Pedro Sula to Taigucigalpa, we stopped at Red Camal, the center of a major cooperative movement in Cental America. Over the years, Red Camal has suffered repression and its leaders have been persecuted.
At Taigucigalpa, we participated in a major manifestation in front of the American Embassy. Several members of our delegation spoke against the excessive force by the government toward protesters. Because of the flawed election, they joined with other organizations in the call for new elections.
Yesterday was a much quieter day than Friday. We accompanied protesters in two different demonstrations. Before we arrived at the first manifestation, reportedly the police had clashed with demonstrators but subsequently worked out an arrangement. The demonstrators could close one lane of traffic but agreed to leave the other lane open.
After a couple of hours, the demonstrators asked for us to accompany them home. They feared police could be hiding in the woods and they would be attacked as they walked along. We had about an hour's walk in the countryside. Walking along with the demonstrators, I was reminded again how young they are. It's blatant intimidation to bring out scores of heavily armed police to deal with the situation.
When we arrived at the second manifestation, it was in full swing with demonstrators, police, and military police. It too was peaceful. Both road lanes remained open while the demonstrators and the police stood along the sides of the highway.
In the peaceful manifestations I attended today, the mood of the crowd was joyful. At least 70 percent of the cars and trucks honked their support.
Postscript - see the photo below of the tear gas canister that is Made in the USA.
Larry Couch serves as the director and lobbyist for the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.