At the General Chapter in 2012, the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus made a recommitment to social justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Convinced that the planet and the poor cannot wait any longer, the Handmaids are called to reach out to the women and children who are victims of human trafficking and to our devastated earth.
To that end, the Handmaids are working in concert with Unanima International and have also developed an International Digital Network which, at the level of the Institute, promotes justice, peace and the integrity of creation. With the latter, the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart, working in the social actions, social pastoral and parishes, can make known to each other what is happening in the different provinces. With it and through it we can be in touch with one another.
The social dimension of the Eucharist and the Handmaids’ reparative charism challenge us not to remain indifferent but to take a stance in regard to the cry of the impoverished, especially of the women and children who are victims of human trafficking, and of the devastated earth, from the perspective of a global understanding and through local action.
The dynamic of conversion which springs from the Eucharist urges us to:
1. Begin by acknowledging our complicity in social injustice and the destruction of creation;
2. Listen to the Word of God, which comes to us through the cry of the new faces of the neglected and excluded;
3. Place on the paten every day the renewed commitment to solidarity, on the part of each Handmaid and of each community, for justice, with simple and measurable actions;
4. Put into practice the words of Jesus, “do this in memory of me,” in our choices and acts of reparation.
In a press release recently issued by Unanima International,the organization condemns acts of violence against innocent human beings, most recently the kidnapping and trafficking of the Nigerian girls:
UNANIMA International, an international NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) in special consultative status with the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council are, with the rest of the world, watching with great concern the kidnappings, murders, human trafficking, and other terrorist activities taking place in several countries in West and Central Africa.
UNANIMA is a coalition of 19 different religious congregations of about 20,000 women, located in over 80 countries all over the world. Of those 19 groups, 10 work in West and Central Africa where they are engaged in education, health care, pastoral care, social work, and other humanitarian service. One of the major focus areas of our mission statement as an NGO is the welfare of women and children, especially victims of human trafficking. Since 2002 we have had an ongoing international campaign to “Stop the Demand” for trafficking.
Out of a reported 800,000 people trafficked annually, about 80% of those trafficked for sexual exploitation are women and girls, and about 50% are children. As part of our work on the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, and the Working Group on Girls, (both at the United Nations) we pursue the recognition and protection of the rights of women and children.
We, with the United Nations and all the rest of the world, condemn these acts of violence against innocent human beings, most recently the kidnapping and trafficking of the Nigerian girls.