Guilfoil Justice Day honors the memory of Sister Mary Alice Guilfoil, who was an advocate for causes of peace and justice globally. This year, Sister Patrice Colletti was the featured speaker at the 11th annual Guilfoil Justice Day in Kansas City. She used the commemoration as a springboard for a discussion with the attending students of six Kansas and Missouri high schools about modern slavery.
“I’ve got news for you,” she told students. “Slavery on the North American continent has not ended yet. In today’s modern world, slavery continues to exist. It looks different, but it still has slave elements.”
She drew on several examples, one very close to home for her Kansas City area audience. Kevin Kelly at The Catholic Key writes:
In 2007, FBI, immigration officials and local police agencies raided three Johnson County, Kan., massage parlors where women from China were lured with the promise of jobs and forced into prostitution once they arrived here, all transportation expenses paid.
The four owners and operators of the massage parlors eventually pleaded guilty in federal district court to such charges as interstate transportation for criminal sexual activity, money laundering and conspiracy.
Police seized some $62,000 in cash at the parlors during a raid. Another $95,000 in U.S. bank accounts was also seized, and the defendants also admitted that they had wired some $500,000 to various locations in China through other businesses they owned.
Sister Patrice told those gathered that the 2,000-member, Milwaukee-based Sisters of the Divine Savior took on human trafficking and modern slavery as their institutional issue in 2002.
“Victims are frightened, forced and coerced to stay,” she said. “They are just as enslaved as if they had chains… This is your chance to be in tomorrow’s history textbooks. We are the abolitionists the world needs right now. We are in a better position to make changes today that we have ever been before in our history.”