woman in pink

July/August 2014

Grantee Highlight
Shedding Light on Disappearances 
in Argentina
by Grace Garvey-Hall, Communications Intern
An ACCT educator speaks to girls at a local elementary school about how to prevent human trafficking. Ninety-eight percent of sex trafficking victims are young girls and women. 

In Latin America, 

victims of human trafficking are often referred to as "desaparecidos" or 

"those who have disappeared." Because centers of human trafficking and sexual exploitation are 

so difficult to uncover, victims seemingly 

vanish without a trace. 


Part of the reason this 

is possible is because human traffickers are often involved in other crimes such as money laundering or drug trafficking, so they have pre-existing networks that are practiced in evading law enforcement officials. But unlike drugs, human beings can be sold more than once, which only increases incentive. In economic terms, human trafficking is a low risk crime that generates enormous profit. This is why in addition to being one of the most undetected crimes, human trafficking is also one of the most common.


Mary's Pence grantee Acciónes Coordinadas Contra la Trata (Coordinated Actions Against Human Trafficking) or ACCT is an interdisciplinary team based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It's formed by anthropologists, archaeologists, teachers, psychologists, lawyers, and other professionals who collaborate to battle human trafficking and increase the visibility of this crime. Their approach is unique in that it combines forensic anthropology, psychology, and education to tackle human trafficking from a variety of angles.


The ACCT forensic team works to identify potential human trafficking victims by comparing records of unidentified bodies in morgues and cemeteries with missing persons reports. Through DNA tests and finger print records, ACCT has helped solve cases of disappearances up to 20 years old. They have also started a database that collects data of alleged disappearances, unidentified bodies, and current and past human trafficking cases and other related crimes. According to Celeste Perosino, ACCT president, this data "will allow [ACCT] to establish public policies that can combat the phenomenon in a more direct way." 


In one case a young girl who Perosino refers to as P.A. was reported missing. She had disappeared from her house in the middle of the night. A missing persons agency in the area suspected her case was related to a larger trafficking or child sexual exploitation ring and contacted ACCT. By looking at news sources, other missing persons cases, and interviewing neighbors and relatives, the ACCT team was able to deduce that P.A. had been kidnapped by traffickers. They were even able to identify other potential trafficking cases in the area. But ACCT didn't stop there. Continue reading here. 


JusticeIssue of Justice   

On Freedom and Slavery in 

Modern-Day U.S.

by Grace Garvey-Hall, Communications Intern


According to the ACCT handbook "Creando Cambios," freedom can be measured on a sliding scale. On one end is total freedom: the ability to choose between many good opportunities. On the other end is total bondage: no control and no options. In the middle are endless examples of individuals with more or fewer, better or worse options. 


Lately, political discussions in the media suggest that many citizens of the United States today are worried about the government encroaching on their freedoms. However, these are often privileged discussions about first amendment rights that leave out other instances where liberty and justice are threatened. Concerns about issues of freedom that take away one of many options are legitimate and important. But, these conversations don't acknowledge the other side of the scale where liberty and justice are already threatened and do not exist. This newsletter focuses on those who truly have no liberty, victims of human trafficking.


Modern day slavery is a massive issue and it exists, not just in those countries that are afflicted by harsh dictators or undeveloped economies, but also in the United States. As people who live on the end of the scale that offers more and better options, it is our responsibility to make the choice to learn about and take action against modern day slavery, a true injustice in our communities.


Get in the Know 

Human traffickers view people like drugs and weapons, as a commodity

Printable flyer from the Polaris Project

to be bought and sold in a marketplace. Though the name suggests that transportation must be involved, that is not always 

the case. Anyone who is involved 

in recruiting, transferring, 

harboring, or receiving humans 

can be defined as a trafficker. 

They may use any means, including threat, force, coercion, deception, abduction, fraud, or abuse of power or vulnerability. 

The end goal of trafficking is exploitation, either of labor or sex acts, which is why human trafficking is considered modern day slavery. 


This doesn't just occur in developing nations. In 2013, 2,400 trafficking cases were reported in the United States alone. Reported, meaning this number doesn't 

count cases that went unreported and traffickers that went unpunished. Sixty percent of trafficking victims world-wide are adults, and 77% of victims are female. That means anyone could be a victim of modern day slavery, men or women, adults or children. However, certain groups of people are typically more vulnerable. Continue reading here. 


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Actions Mary's Pence News


Involve Your Parish in the Work of Mary's Pence


Are you involved in the social justice ministry of your parish? Mary's Pence partners with parishes across the country to support social justice ministries. At Christmas time we have a comprehensive Giving Tree program packet. During Lent we offer Lenten Soup Supper prayer service packets. Does your parish have a tithing fund? Let Mary's Pence know so we can apply for funds to foster women's empowerment and economic autonomy! We are always open to new ideas and opportunities to work with you and your parish. See our website for more information or contact Katherine at katherine@maryspence.org or 651-788-9869.


Mary's Pence Featured on National Catholic Reporter!


Last month, National Catholic Reporter editor, Dennis Coday, featured Mary's Pence on his blog. In the post, Coday was exploring whether the Vatican's annual collection, Peter's Pence, would increase in revenue with the popularity of Pope Francis. Coday included Mary's Pence in the article as a viable alternative for those who choose not to give to the Peter's Pence fund and who want to support sustainable development. You can read the full post here. 


We Love to Meet Our Supporters!


Do you live in the Nashville, Twin Cities, or Memphis area? Then come visit Mary's Pence at the following upcoming events. Up to date information about these events will be posted on our events page.


August 13-16, 2014 - Nashville, TN
Mary's Pence will be exhibiting at the LCWR Assembly and hosting a wine and cheese reception on August 14, 2014 from 5-8pm at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. If you are attending the conference please visit our exhibit, and let others know we will be present.   


Mary's Pence Board-Sponsored House Party

October 25, 2014 - St. Paul, MN

The Mary's Pence board will be meeting in St. Paul, MN in October and they want to meet you, our Mary's Pence supporters! The board will be sponsoring a house party on Summit Avenue, right near the river, and overlooking Minnesota's beautiful Fall colors. Stay tuned - address and time details to be announced. 


November 7-9, 2014 - Memphis, TN
Mary's Pence will be exhibiting at the conference, hosting a wine and cheese reception, and giving a workshop entitled, "Making Moral Economic Systems." The workshop will feature Mary's Pence Executive Director, Katherine Wojtan, ESPERA Facilitator, Gilda Larios, and Vicki Meath, Executive Director of Mary's Pence grantee, Just Economics.


We hope to see you at one, or all, of these venues - stay tuned for more details! 


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We envision a world where empowered women and their communities flourish in solidarity and justice. Mary's Pence invests in women across the Americas by funding community initiatives and fostering collaborations to create social change.

Imaginamos un mundo en el cual, las mujeres empoderadas y sus comunidades, florezcan en solidaridad y justicia. Mary's Pence invierte en iniciativas comunitarias de mujeres en las Américas y fomenta la colaboración para crear cambio social.


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In This Issue


Issues of Justice:  On Freedom and Slavery in Modern Day US 

Mary's Pence News 






Caged Bird


A free bird leaps

on the back of the wind

and floats downstream

til the current ends

and dips his wing

in the orange sun rays

and dares to claim the sky.


But a bird that stalks

down his narrow cage 

can seldom see through

his bars of rage

his wings are clipped and 

his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing.


The caged bird sings 

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird 

sings of freedom.


The free bird thinks of another breeze

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees 

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn

and he names the sky his own


But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied

so he opens his throat to sing


The caged bird sings 

with a fearful trill

of things unknown 

but longed for still

and his tune is heard

on the distant hill

for the caged bird

sings of freedom. 


- Maya Angelou








Mary's Pence

 Contact us: (651) 788-9869