Every summer, members of the Viatorian Community gather for the annual provincial

(L-R) Bishop Christopher Glancy, and Associates Hector Obregon-Luna, Susana Tellez and Enrique Valdovinos listen to the presentation

assembly, but the three-day conference is more than a social gathering.

Approximately 80 associates, brothers and priests converged on Saint Viator High School Tuesday, and right from the start they addressed one of four social justice issues that the Viatorian Community has made one of its priorities: human trafficking.

The Hon. Virginia M. Kendall, a federal judge with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and a noted expert on child exploitation and human trafficking, was the keynote speaker.

The Hon. Virginia M. Kendall addresses members of the Viatorian Community

Judge Kendall described trafficking as more than sexual exploitation, but that it is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims.

“More than 32 million individuals are trafficked each year,” Judge Kendall said, “and the profits are in the billions.”

“The pervasiveness of this problem is so

Fr. Tom Long, CSV, makes a point during the discussion on human trafficking

overwhelming that we have a moral obligation to respond,” said Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, president of Catholic Theological Union.

Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, echoed the thoughts of many when he said how upsetting it was to see images of children involved in sexual and labor trafficking.

“We cannot let this issue rest,” he said. “The ones that we’re responsible for in our schools — are at risk.”