Senior students at Chaminade Julienne aimed to raise awareness of human trafficking through the school’s third Sister Dorothy Stang Symposium held Sunday, Feb. 12 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the auditorium. Theresa Flores, author of The Slave Across the Street, and founder of TraffickFree and S.O.A.P (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution) served as keynote speaker. This free event also inlcluded details about the impact that the Marianists and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur each have on this global issue.
At the age of 15, Flores became a victim of commercial sexual exploitation — a 15.5 billion dollar business, according to her research. While many people in the U.S. believe human trafficking is something outside of our country, she shared how she was forced into the industry and how our own children and neighbors can get caught up in this horrific criminal activity. As a survivor, Flores’ mission is to raise awareness about the issue and provide services and support to those who are still trapped.
The 2012 symposium coincided with the 7th anniversary of Sister Dorothy Stang’s death. Stang, a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur community, a Dayton native and graduate of Julienne, served most of her life in Brazil. She helped peasants in the Amazon learn the basics of farming and taught them the value of service. She was murdered on February 12, 2005, by two hit men hired by cattle ranchers.
The Stang Symposium was created to remember and honor Sister Dorothy’s efforts in fighting for social justice. “The symposiums are critical inquiries into global justice issues that plague us today,” said Molly Bardine, CJ English teacher and creator of the Stang Symposium. “By raising awareness about the current challenges we face as a society, we can live out Sister Dorothy’s discipleship, courage and love for all people.”
This year's theme focused on raising awareness about human trafficking. “The goals of this Symposium are simple: raise awareness, engage the public, and inspire others to get involved,” Bardine stated.
For more information about Theresa Flores’ outreach, visit www.traffickfree.com.