Just Coffee

Christmas Morning I was at my parents house. I was the first one up so I started the pot of coffee; my fahter bought the Jingle Bell blend from Mystic Monk Coffee just for the occasion. As I stared out the window at the white snow that fell the night before it conjured up memories of my first cup of coffee: Folgers, black from the family coffee maker in the kitchen when I was in 6th grade and starting to help my father early Sunday mornings with CCD classes. I very rarely go for the creamer or sugar, I like my coffee nice and black. Why bother with the extra calories when I can just taste the bitterness anyway? I love coffee.

When I am at my desk drinking my first cup of coffee at the office this week I discovered January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and today January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Here is some quick facts about Human Trafficking:

Human trafficking is the modern form of slavery, with illegal smuggling and trading of people, for forced labor or sexual exploitation.
Trafficking is officially defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, or abuse of power of a position of vulnerability for the purpose of exploitation. Human trafficking is not synonymous with forced migration or smuggling.
In the U.S., human trafficking tends to occur around international travel-hubs with large immigrant populations, notably California, Texas and Georgia. The U.S. Justice Department estimates that 14,500–17,500 people are trafficked into the country every year. The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that including U.S. citizens and immigrants 57,700 people are victims of human trafficking. Those being trafficked include young children, teenagers, men and women and can be domestic citizens or foreign nationals. According to the Department of State's statistics from 2000, there are approximately 244,000 American children and youth that are at risk for sex trafficking each year.
Under federal law (18 USC § 1589), it is a crime to make people work by use of force, coercion or fear. U.S. State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons placed the country in "Tier 1" in 2017
(Wikipedia is the source for this information. Since this is a brief introduction for you I thought this was appropriate.) 

For numbers that are closer to home here are some findings by the 2016 Indiana State Report on Human Trafficking:
Human trafficking is a rapidly growing crime in Indiana as well as the U.S. As noted above, one statewide IPATH partner reported that its coalition of service providers served 178 trafficked youth in just 2016 alone.17 Of those youth under age 21 served by Indiana providers statewide this year, nearly all were girls (94%); and the majority were Caucasian (60%).18 The young age of Indiana victims is also striking: nearly 30% are 15 or younger and more than 10% served are between ages 12-14.19 Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for children to be trafficked for many years before they are recovered and served. In Indiana, victims were as young as 7 when first trafficked.

There are a number of ways to get involved and seek out resources. Here are a few a found this week while researching for this post. 
3) Catholic Health Association https://www.chausa.org/human-trafficking/overview 

What does Human Trafficking have to do with Coffee? Well there are a lot of mistreated farmers and workers out there. Two years ago the Holy Family parish office started purchasing coffee from a Catholic Relief Service suggested roaster,  Just Coffee Coop.  They have personal relationships with their farmers in Mexico, Guatemala, Ethiopia and other countries. They are very transparent in their work and provide information on each coop and farming community. We decided as a staff that this is one way we can help be conscious consumers and stewards that Pope Benedict XVI called us to in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate. 
This month Just Coffee Coop is doubling their donation to a group called the Wayne Foundation. The Wayne Foundation is committed to spreading awareness of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and Domestic Minor Sexual Trafficking (DMST) occurring within the United States. (Click here to see the coffee)
This is modern day slavery and needs to be abolished. Awareness needs to be spread about this horrible crime against the dignity of the human person. Please say a prayer for all those who have been or are currently being trafficked. Let them go home to their families. Other than prayer, which is very important, consider buying a bag of coffee, and know that every time you drink your morning cup, it is helping bring awareness of trafficking. You will be drinking coffee that is bringing justice to the world. Think of it as just coffee. 

Until next time, God Bless. 

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