13 January 2016

News From Our Service Commission

Chris Heiderscheidt –Leader

Chair, Service Commission


Maribeth Stewart introduced Chris saying that Chris is the Director of Development at St. Mary Church in Sleepy Eye, MN and Chair of the NCCW Service Commission.


Chris began the call with a Prayer to eliminate trafficking


She then indicated that the Commission will be working on three major issues:



Reviving the Respite Program


The Human Trafficking subcommittee, made up of 15 members, had their first call on 30 November 2015.  They determined that the most important thing they need to do is to educate women in the pews as to the scope and aspects of trafficking.  Chris indicated that this issue is new to her and she has been involved in CCW for many years so it is vital to reach our women with information on trafficking.  To that end, the committee has put together a booklet crammed full of information and it is now in the process of being edited.  It contains: prayers, background information on human trafficking, what is going on in the US with regard to this issue, ways to educate yourself on the topic, the different kinds of trafficking in the US (sex, labor, through trafficking), a poster for restrooms, a list of written and video resources, activities, and a calendar with a suggestion for a focus for each month.


Many think slavery is a thing of the past but in 2014, the National Hotline for trafficking had 24,000 calls.  It is estimated that there are 21 million victims globally.


The background section will define trafficking and explore where it is happening. 

The education piece will introduce the different forms of trafficking such as child trafficking for mining, sex, factory and house work and farming.


In the US, sex trafficking is more prevalent than labor trafficking and occurs in residential neighborhoods, brothels, truck stops, massage parlors and on the Internet.


The National Hotlone is 1-888-373-7888 and is available 24/7.  Alternatively, one can text Befree (233733).  Calls are received from anyone: potential victims, victims, service providers, observant citizens.


There will also be a flyer on our website about human trafficking.


The Polaris Project has many materials and is a wonderful resource about human trafficking.


Tips on how to spot a human trafficking victim:

Not free to come or go as they wish

Unpaid or paid very little or just receive tips

Do not have any breaks at work

Owe a large debt

Recruited under false promises

Highly restricted controlled work and living conditions

Appear nervous, shy, avoid eye contact, fearful or anxious if one mentions the police


No ID or passport

Not allowed to speak for themselves

No control over their life


Catholic Social Teaching available via the USCCB website outlines the Church’s condemnation of human trafficking.  It is a primary issue addressed by Pope Francis.


We should be careful of the products we buy as they may be produced by slave labor:  Gold, sugar, cotton, lace, cocoa, diamonds.  There is a list of 120+ offenders.


Council is dedicated to studying and fighting against human trafficking.  You need to start the conversation if you suspect trafficking.  You would be surprised at who will come forward.


A Province Director learned about trafficking a few years ago and go involved telling everyone she knew.  She spoke out, wrote articles for the newspaper.  People in her city are now aware and learning how to stop it in their area.   


Telephone-Telegraph-Tell A Woman!  We can make a difference.  We have power in what we can do.

Host a panel discussion with local experts: Police, social workers, survivor

Write an article

Volunteer you skills

Promote articles made by survivors

Sponsor a walk

Screen the film: Not My Life

Reduce a child’s vulnerability by volunteering as a tutor or mentor

Check out the YouTube video:  Look Beneath the Surface

Mothers: Caution your daughters about social media and how it can be misused

Ask to post short clips or resources on your parish Facebook page


The Commission would love to come up with a national project (Like Caps of Love was).  There is a horse ranch in Nevada for survivors that needs support.  There may be other  similar places that CCW’s could support.  Find out if there is an organization in your area that could use help for rehabilitation of survivors.


It was noted that our children are so much more vulnerable now than they were just a few years ago: More single parent families; more working mothers; easy exposure to adult content; social media pressures.


Big sporting events like the Super Bowl are known for trafficking as are isolated working stations like oil fields.   Some traffickers even bring their victims to Church but don’t let them talk to others.  Some victims are made to solicit food or money for magazine subscriptions.   Trafficking is much closer to home that you think.  One of our speakers at our upcoming NCCW Convention and who spoke to us at our last NA Regional Conference is herself a survivor and made very clear to us that trafficking is not something happening in a far off land but is present in nearly every large and small town in our own country.


Labor Trafficking –children are made to work in processing plants and in the fields


This wonderful NCCW resource form the Service Commission will be on our website very soon.  February is the target for posting.


The Immigration committee of the Service Commission is also preparing a packet and have amassed a huge amount of information that they are in the process of editing.  They will also prepare a handout and they are working on a resolution  that will be presented at our 2016 Convention.

It was noted that this is a hot and difficult topic right now but we are following the USCCB guidance and Christ’s message.  The committee will include in the resource recommendations for books and movies.  They will explain what migrants go through.  One story will be of following children on a 3,000 mile journey back to Guatemala.  Another will tell of a priest who assisted migrants from 1823-1853.  We have a similar situation today with Syria being an extreme example. 


Our woman do meet in prayer in many areas each week to pray for immigrants.  Chris suggested that something the Service Commission could do would be to designate a time when all our women across the country could pray the rosary for immigrants.  This solidarity in prayer would be very powerful.

Recommended are the movie: Dying to Live and the book Strangers No Longer.


In Georgia, there is an association called Georgia Cares and the ACCW women there are taking courses from them to be able to speak with authority on this issue to our CCW’s.  CCW women could also volunteer to help the children.


Our women could also hold a Fair Trade party and use the proceeds to help resettle immigrants/ refugees in their area.


There are very strong links between migrants and human trafficking. 


A novena will be in the February Connect for St. Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of immigrants and human trafficking.


Finally, the third issue, Revitalizing the NCCW Respite Program, is being worked upon by a subcommittee of the Service Commission.  They plan on updating the respite documents that NCCW already has.  The Respite Program needs a shot in the arm and they want to make our women aware of the program again so that they can use it.


The Call closed with a Migrant Prayer.


Maribeth thanked Chris for her beautiful presentation and for all the work that the Service Commission and its subcommittees are accomplishing for us.