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Boston Area Women Religious Offer Sixth Anti-Trafficking Symposium SoulCry: Based on the Story of a Human Trafficking Survivor

Milton, MA: On Saturday, April 6, over 250 participants gathered at Fontbonne Academy for the sixth symposium offered by the Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious [LCWR] Anti-Trafficking Coalition. Since 2008 this coalition has offered education about the nature of human trafficking, the evils of human trafficking, and the scope of human trafficking. The focus of this year’s symposium was the presentation of Soul Cry, a compelling display of dance, drama, and media based on a true story of sex trafficking as reported by Nicholas Kristoff in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Half the Sky.

SoulCry is a production by Accendo Dance Company in partnership with The Arts Movement Student Company. It embodies both the terror and the triumph of 11-year old Meena Khatum. It is a story of horror as well as a story of hope that leaves audiences moved and inspired to take action. It is a story repeated by thousands who have been rescued from the sex trade. Meena’s story awakens viewers to the reality that the heartcry of one represents the soulcry of millions.

The Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious [LCWR] Anti-Trafficking Coalition hosted this performance when they recognized that the mission of Accendo Dance Company resonated with their mission to raise awareness of human trafficking through education, collaborate with others to ensure necessary services with compassion, advocate for justice, and pray for victims and all affected by human trafficking.

Previous symposia have focused on topics ranging from an introduction to human trafficking globally, nationally, and locally; to looking at what one person can do; and learning how our buying power as consumers can become a tool for addressing human trafficking.

In May 2009 Women religious congregations in the greater Boston area issued a statement against human trafficking which in part states: Today women religious all over the world are addressing the crime of human trafficking. Our religious congregations have NGO representatives at the United Nations who address the issue at a global level. We women religious leaders in the greater Boston area are committed to speak out locally because we are human beings, because we are women, because we are women religious with a history of Catholic social teaching, and because we live and work in the Boston area where the trafficking trade is a real though hidden crime.

As SoulCry states: The cry of humanity beckons us to listen; begs us to act. At the conclusion of SoulCry, Loralee Scott-Conforti, Artistic Director for the dance company, invited participants to, “Ask yourself, ‘What is one thing I can do?’ and then go do it. Put action to your faith and watch what happens.”

The Boston Anti-Trafficking Coalition continues to offer these symposia because they are convinced that human trafficking is an evil that violates the gospel mandate of respect for the dignity of every human being. It must be eradicated and, despite the many challenges to achieve this, silence is not an option.

Anti-Trafficking Coalition of the Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious [LCWR]. Members of LCWR are Catholic women religious who are leaders of their orders in the United States. The conference has approximately 1500 members, who represent about 85 percent of the 57,000 women religious in the United States. Visit their website www.lcwr.org. The Boston Unit of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious includes sixteen Congregations representing over a thousand women religious in the greater Boston area.

Accendo Dance Company exists to shine a light on the personal and collective issues that shape our souls and influence our world through multi-disciplinary dance artistry which is soul stirring, thought provoking, and perhaps...transformative.

Visit: www.accendodancecompany.com

View the SoulCry trailer at http://www.accendodancecompany.com/soulcry.html

Contact: Katelyn Dwyer, Director of Communications and Publications, Labouré College 
617.296.8300 ext. 4004 Katelyn_Dwyer@laboure.edu

Joanne Gallagher, CSJ, Director of Communications for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston 
617.746.2110 or Joanne.gallagher@csjboston.org

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