February 05, 2018 05:28 PM – KSTP 5 Eyewitness News
Dozens of sex trafficking victims on Monday had to leave the safe place they’d found for the past 10 days to return to the same streets they’d escaped.
They had found safe haven at a long-term residential facility for sex trafficking survivors called Breaking Free. Survivors are typically required to sign up for counseling and housing to stay there but for the 10 days leading to the Super Bowl, Breaking Free was able to become an emergency shelter.
The NFL Super Bowl Host Committee, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Catholic Benedictine Sisters and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, among other organizations, footed the bill to help Breaking Free buy beds, food and emergency provisions for victims.
Now, the 10 days are over. The day after the Super Bowl is day 11.
“What a heartbreak to tell the women they can’t spend the night here. Some of them have infant children,” said Terry Forliti, Breaking Free’s executive director. Comforters are the only signs the women and children were here.
Read the full article and watch the video at www.kstp.com
By Ann Redmond, CSJ, and Megan Bender, Justice Co-Director
Minnesotans can be proud of the thoughtful and diligent response of dedicated community members to support victims of human trafficking and raise awareness of the issue during the 2018 Super Bowl. The CSJ Anti Human Trafficking Working Group (AHTWG) began working on a response plan in spring 2016. A large focus of the work has been preparing for an emergency shelter for trafficked victims in partnership with Breaking Free, an agency AHTWG has been collaborating with since 2002. The very active Sisters, Consociates, laywomen, St. Kate’s students & alumnae, and Sisters from several religious communities: O.P., OSB, Congregation of CSJ’s, OSF, and SSND have formed a community of giving by collecting items to stock an emergency shelter in the Twin Cities. The group is pleased to report that the cash donations, gift cards, clothing, bedding, air mattresses, ear warmers, etc. will be used during the Super Bowl and beyond to support the needs of the victims Minnesota agencies serve every day of the year.
Although some members of the working group are prepared to help where needed up to the 10 days prior to the Super Bowl, we also encourage your prayers for all victims of human trafficking during this time and beyond the Super Bowl.
All are welcome to continue to pray after the Super Bowl at the Sunday, February 11th Peace Prayer at 6:30 p.m. at Our Lady of the Presentation Chapel with Breaking Free staff. We are eager to collaborate with the staff and other survivors at Breaking Free for prevention, healing, and living with hope by continuing to accompany the women and children the working group members have gotten to know well through the years.
The Anti Human Trafficking Working Group’s mission is to provide opportunities for education, public awareness, and to support legislation that incorporates anti human trafficking and protection measures for victims of sexual trafficking. The working group endeavors to provide for some unmet needs of local survivors of sex trafficking.
For more information contact Megan Bender at firstname.lastname@example.org.