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Weekly Reflection: Fair Trade – A Response to Human Trafficking

(Note: The following blog was prepared by the Illinois Women Religious Against Human Trafficking (IWRAHT) organization, featuring Sister Barbara Sheehan, SP. This is the third of three blogs this month, in order to raise awareness during Human Trafficking Awareness Month. In addition, this blog was also created with help from Providence Associate Gerri Baum).

“A just trading system – in addition to breaking down barriers to promote growth – should enhance the life and dignity of everyone, lessen economic injustice, and help eradicate poverty.” (United States Bishops)

Fair trade is an approach to business/development that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system. It supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. Why shop Fair Trade? Many products that we use regularly (coffee, rice, chocolate, flowers, clothing and consumer electronics) are produced by impoverished individuals, especially women and children, who are victims of forced labor and human trafficking. Products fair trade certified have been researched by independent, third party investigators to ensure that workers manufacturing them receive fair wages, conditions and rights.

Action: Contribute to this global movement for change by simply choosing to buy fair trade tea, coffee, chocolate and other products when you shop. Review the website Fairtradeamerica.org. View your state’s list of Fair Trade stores, and encourage local businesses to “go fair trade.” Invite a fair-trade speaker to meetings or events. Fundraise for organizations who help hardworking producers to work their way out of poverty.

Prayer: Loving God, speak to our hearts and minds. Show us the way to free the captives, provide dignity for all and save our earthly home. Provide us with the wisdom to care for each other as You care for all of us.

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Sister Barbara Sheehan

Sister Barbara Sheehan

Sister Barbara Sheehan, SP, a Sister of Providence since 1960, lives in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods after several years in Chicago, where she ministered as Executive Director/ACPE Supervisor of the Urban Clinical Pastoral Education Consortium, Inc. and as a spiritual director. She has extensive training not only in clinical pastoral supervision but also in care with those sexually abused, those challenged with mental illness and those suffering trauma. She has offered many workshops at regional, national and international conferences, is the author of Partner in Covenant: The Art of Spiritual Companionship and of numerous articles including one of her latest, Formation For Professional Practice: Addressing Social Hurts" in Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry, Vol. 34 2014.

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  1. Avatar Marsha Speth, SP on January 21, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Thank you, Barbara, for these informative blogs!

  2. Avatar PAULA DAMIANO, SP on January 21, 2019 at 9:20 am

    Thanks Barbara. And, a reminder that Linden Leaf Gifts at the Woods carries wonderful fair trade merchandise!

  3. Avatar Paula Modaff, S.P. on January 21, 2019 at 11:29 am

    Barbara, your blogs continue to light my fire for economic justice for people living in other countries and I am grateful. I also appreciate Paula D’s reminder that access to these products are available right here at the Woods.

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