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Given our educational and social service history with children,
we Dominican Sisters commit ourselves to act as their advocates in
national, and international communities

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – March 1, 2023 — We Dominican Sisters were horrified to learn of the migrant children in our own backyard who are victims of labor trafficking. Our broken national immigration system has already led to trauma in their young lives. Piling on labor abuses in the form of human trafficking in dangerous and extended labor is unconscionable. Labor trafficking is specifically defined as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.”

Human trafficking for sex or for labor is a sin against God and against humanity because it uses children, women, and men as commodities and denies them the full dignity that is theirs as being made in the image and likeness of God.

The February 25, 2023 New York Times article by reporter Hannah Drier highlighting that these children are being illegally employed for their labor in Grand Rapids, in places such as Hearthside Food Solutions, demands action. An article by Abby Poirier for the Grand Rapids Business Journal (March 2, 2023) identified Forge Industrial Staffing as a primary employee contractor for Hearthside.

Hearthside Food Solutions is only one of many companies across the country that are exploiting children. The automotive, clothing, and construction companies are among those industries guilty of subjecting children to practices that are unethical, dangerous, and not meant to be performed by children younger than 18 years of age.  We call on all companies to stop their exploitation of children and to implement all worker safety and child labor laws. We also call on our citizens to write letters to management of companies and to our elected leaders to assure that the exploitation of children is put to an end.

We further call upon citizens and lawmakers to address our broken immigration system and afford refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants timely and safe access to the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America.

In the Christian Scriptures, in the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus says, “Let the children come to me.” Children and adults are invited to come to Jesus because he is “the way, the truth, and the life.”  As disciples of Jesus, we must do better, we must be better, for all children