The Catholic University of America

July 7, 2015

Catholic Groups to Hold Conference on Human Trafficking

Finding ways to stop and prevent human trafficking — a worldwide problem — will be the topic of discussion as those on the front lines of caring for victims and survivors gather in Washington, D.C., July 9 and 10.

More than 300 attendees will gather for the two-day conference, Answering Pope Francis’s Call: An American Catholic Response to Modern-Day Slavery, at The Catholic University of America. A goal of the conference is to generate a cohesive response to human trafficking within the United States.

The conference is cosponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); Catholic Charities, D.C.; Catholic Charities, USA; and Catholic University’s National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS).

“I am so proud that The Catholic University of America and its National Catholic School of Social Service have responded to Pope Francis’s call to his pontifical universities to address human trafficking in the world,” says William Rainford, NCSSS dean.

“Together with our conference partners, we will directly educate several hundred people — all of whom serve the Catholic Church pastorally or through social services — about the condition, prevalence, impact, and need for intervention in human trafficking in the U.S. Human trafficking is a direct affront to the sanctity of life and dignity of the human person. The conference calls our attention to our obligation as a Church to directly redress this horrible human tragedy,” says Rainford.

Conference programming will be organized in two tracks that tailor the presentations to different audiences. Introduction to Trafficking will address the causes of human trafficking, how to identify survivors, and how to develop Catholic parish involvement. Continuing Collaboration will address funding victim services, cultural sensitivity, and best practices from successful programs across the nation.

Most Rev. Eusebio L. Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle and chairman the USCCB Committee on Migration, will provide a welcome address during opening ceremonies Thursday morning, July 9.

The keynote address, also on Thursday morning, will be delivered by Tina Frundt and Gerardo Reyes-Chávez.

Frundt, a survivor of sex trafficking, now works with other survivors and trains organizations and law enforcement officials on the issue of human trafficking. She is the founder of Courtney’s House, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that assists victims and survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Starting at age 11, Reyes-Chávez worked as a peasant farmer in Zacatecas, Mexico, and later in the fields of Florida. He joined the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in Florida in 2000. He has since become a leader in CIW, particularly in the national Campaign for Fair Food.

Nearly 20 more speakers — scholars, law and policy experts, social workers, and leaders of social service agencies — will address a wide range of topics including identifying potential victims, navigating social services, understanding the legal framework, building a toolkit for a parish community, and current trends.

The full program of speakers and topics can be viewed at

MEDIA: For more information or to make arrangements to cover the conference, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy Hines in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600 or




More news from CUA