Sister Jean Schafer, SDS honored for long-time anti-human trafficking efforts

Sister Jean Schafer, SDS was honored today with the Sister Margaret Nacke, CSJ Bakhita Award for exemplary service in the cause to end human trafficking. The award was presented at the annual board meeting of U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (USCSAHT) based in St. Louis. Presenting the award were Sister Anne Victory, HM, USCSAHT Board President, and Jennifer Reyes Lay, Executive Director. They were joined by fellow board members in a virtual award presentation also attended by Sisters of the Divine Savior, including Provincial Leader Sister Beverly Heitke, SDS.

Sister Jean Schafer (middle square in top row) accepting her award from Sister Shelia Novak. Sisters Beverly Heitke and Ellen Sinclair are second and third from the left, respectively.

Sr. Jean has dedicated the last 17 years of her ministry to anti-trafficking initiatives and providing support to trafficking survivors. Her legacy includes founding and publishing Stop Trafficking!, a monthly online newsletter. When she launched the newsletter, few people knew about the scourge of human trafficking. Her diligence and thorough research helped to raise awareness about the crime, advocate for change in laws, and address the unique needs of victims. Sr. Jean also co-founded and co-directed Hope House, a home and resource referral program for women coming out of situations of enslavement in California. She was also part of the planning team that led to USCSAHT incorporation in 2015, and has served on its board of directors since then. Sr. Jean now serves as chair of the USCSAHT Survivor Services Working Group.

Sr. Jean is the second recipient of the award, after Sr. Margaret Nacke, CSJ, co-founder of USCSAHT, in whose honor the award is named. Bakhita refers to St. Josephine Bakhita, who lived a life of prayer and service as a Canossian Sister, after being kidnapped and sold into slavery as a young girl in the 1800s. The award honors the vision, courage, dedication and creativity of its recipients to address the complex issues surrounding human trafficking. In presenting the award to Sr. Jean, the USCSAHT board recognizes how she embodies the hope that everyone can be instruments to help eradicate of the crime of human trafficking.

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