At the end of November the Northbrook, IL Patch had an article, “Former Glenview Man Gets Life in Prison for Human Trafficking.” Human trafficking is happening in our own neighborhood. The article stated that Alex Campbell, a former Glenview resident and Mt. Prospect massage parlor owner, had received a life sentence for sex-trafficking, forced labor, harboring illegal aliens, confiscating passports to further forced labor and enslaving four foreign women whom he mentally and physically abused while forcing them to work for him, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Justice Department.
For 12 years, I have been a part of our Congregational Leadership Team in Rome and have had the opportunity to visit over 20 countries. With my own eyes, I have seen the struggle of women and families living in poverty and those consequences on their lives. Mothers and fathers want better lives for their children, so when someone promises them a job and a better life, they say yes. Then, some are enslaved into this sytem.
Campbell promised a job, a place to live and other things to three women from Ukraine and one from Belarus, but when they came, he took their papers and made them work for him. He used violence and threats to force them to work without pay and, at times, little to no subsistence between July 2008 and January 2010, according to the article. He even forced them to get tattoos to make them his property.
Human Trafficking is a tragedy for the women, men and children trapped in this inhuman oppression. As Christians, we deplore slavery when we know about it, but human trafficking often happens behind the scenes and is deeply hidden.
What can be done to end this modern slavery? The Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters have made a corporate stance against human trafficking in order to commit ourselves to pray, to educate ourselves and others, to advocate for the victims and to act. The horrors of human trafficking motivated a group of religious congregations to form the Illinois Women Religious Against Human Trafficking committee. This is a collaborative response of women religious working together to raise awareness of the issue and to eliminate Human Trafficking.
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. We invite you to take part in the Human Trafficking Prevention month by learning more about Human Trafficking, praying for the victims of Human Trafficking and doing some type of action.
This Friday, January 11th, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and you are invited to be a light in the darkness by wearing a white ribbon or a white article of clothing to raise awareness about this issue. You can unite with people from across the state and country to be more aware of Human Trafficking and prevent it. Let us work together to make a difference.
Prayer to End Human Trafficking
Loving and compassionate God, we pray for the release of the millions of innocent children, teenagers, women and men who have been drawn into prostitution, sweatshops and domestic servitude by human trafficking. Increase our awareness of this terrible injustice. May the compassionate people who seek to help these victims be blessed in their efforts to free them from captivity and to provide safe shelters for them. We confidently ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sr. Rose Therese Nolta, SSpS
Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters
Illinois Women Relgious Against Human Trafficking