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Knights of Peter Claver hosting webinar today on human trafficking

The nation's Black Catholic fraternal order is again revisiting the invisible pandemic of human trafficking, with an event today featuring experts in Los Angeles.

(Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary)

The Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary will open their latest webinar series with a virtual event at 1pm CT today, January 8th, focusing on human trafficking.

Entitled “Insight into the Invisible - Modern Slavery: Human Trafficking Defined”, it follows a similar event held in March 2021 on the same topic. Like that presentation, today’s is being sponsored by the historic Black Catholic fraternal order’s social justice committee.

The webinar will feature an ecumenical slate of speakers from around the Los Angeles area, including experts from the mental health, legal, and ministerial fields.

Among them are Shawn LaRé Brinkley, a licensed therapist who specializes in trauma care and was recently featured in Business Insider. In her work, she deals directly with survivors of sex abuse and human trafficking.

Also speaking will be Pastor Oliver Buie, a Protestant minister and activist who has been frequently featured in local and national news, and who is active in the National Black Faith Coalition Against Human Trafficking launched roughly one year ago.

Dr. Stephany Powell of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation will also be participating, with experience as a retired police sergeant and leader in Journey Out, a national organization assisting survivors. She has also been featured in national news and serves as NCOSE’s Director of Law Enforcement Training and Survivor Services.

Joining them will be three KPC members, including Brother Robert P. Williams Jr., past president of the Western States District; Lady Sheila Thomas, a former Vice Grand Lady of Sacred Heart of Jesus Court #121; and Lady Peggy Goods of Court #259.

Recent data shows that there are currently around 40 million enslaved persons worldwide—including more than 400,000 in the United States alone—and experts say the numbers are being exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The issue hits close to home for the nation’s Black Catholic fraternal order, whose headquarters in New Orleans is less than a mile from Bourbon Street, believed to be a major hotspot for trafficking incidents. The order’s patron, St Peter Claver, is also the patron saint of enslaved persons.

Los Angeles itself, the region of today’s presenters, had nearly 175,000 cases of human trafficking reported between 2010 and 2018 (and a spike of 185% during the pandemic).

Interested parties can register for today’s webinar here.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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