SSNDs work to end sex trafficking

Introduced to a workshop entitled “Trafficking in Women and Children,” Sister Helen Marie Plourde was inspired to study and get involved in local, national and global activities to end human trafficking.

Helen Marie Plourde, SSND“I would say that we cannot afford to not know about trafficking,” said Sister Helen Marie. “Even if you don’t have daughters, how we raise our sons is very important.”

Over the years, Sister Helen Marie has been an active participant in the quarterly meetings for the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force (MNHTTF); their goal is to end human trafficking and other forms of sexual exploitation through a coordinated, multidisciplinary, statewide response. Through continued training of appropriate personnel to identify and help victims, the group worked to develop a sustainable training solution to end human trafficking. Appropriate personnel include law enforcement and staff from various industries, such as hotel, motel, restaurant, transportation, public awareness and business partnerships.

In 2019, the School Sisters of Notre Dame hosted their Women’s Leadership Luncheons across the Central Pacific Province focusing on the topic of human trafficking. View photos from the 2019 Women’s Leadership Luncheon.To learn more about the speakers and the location of events, visit our Women’s Leadership Luncheon page.

Learn more about the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

To learn more about trafficking in Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force website.

To read about a recent study completed by Dr. Lauren Martin of the University of Minnesota check out: Mapping the Demand: Sex Buyers in the State of Minnesota.

Human trafficking “involve[s] the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion. Human trafficking affects individuals across the world, including here in the United States, and is commonly regarded as one of the most pressing human rights issues of our time. Human trafficking affects every community in the United States across age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds” (National Human Trafficking Hotline). While “some victims of trafficking are hidden. . . [from] the public eye. . . in other cases, victims are in plain view and may interact with community members, but the widespread lack of awareness and understanding of trafficking leads to low levels of victim identification by the people who most often encounter them” (National Human Trafficking Hotline). Ultimately, traffickers exist because human trafficking is extremely lucrative.

According to the FBI’s Law Enforcement Bulletin [Link to] “Human sex trafficking is the most common form of modern-day slavery. Estimates place the number of its domestic and international victims in the millions, mostly females and children. . . Not only is human sex trafficking slavery but it is big business. It is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world. . . sex trafficking also occurs domestically. The United States not only faces an influx of international victims but also has its own homegrown problem of interstate sex trafficking of minors.”

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