Human Trafficking

In 2014, Michigan enacted twenty-one new laws to address the issue of human trafficking, or modern human slavery, in our state. These bills focused on enhancing services for victims, increasing penalties for traffickers, and deterring criminal activity.

Now legislation is up for debate at the federal level that will help to fight the conditions that allow human trafficking to exist. H.R. 3226 and S. 1968 would require companies to report publicly on efforts to ensure their products are not the result of child and forced labor or human trafficking.

Take a few minutes today to email your U.S. Representative and Senators and urge their support and action on these important human trafficking bills.

Thank you in advance for joining with our partners at U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to make your voices heard!

Federal Funding for Healthy Meals for Children

Friday, April 08, 2016 – Today, United States Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, joined local partners and school children participating in the Flint Police Activities League to announce $6.9 million in federal funding to help 83, 701 Michigan children receive healthy meals this summer. Thanks to this funding, nearly 16,000 Flint school children and 43,000 Detroit school children will now be eligible for expanded access to healthy meals during the upcoming summer months.  Stabenow, who made the announcement at the Haskell Youth Center in Flint, was joined by United States Department of Agriculture’s Under Secretary for Food and Nutrition Services Kevin Concannon.

“This investment comes at a critical time for thousands of children in Michigan,” Stabenow said. “Children often go hungry in the summer when they no longer have access to nutritious meals at school. We need to ensure that no child goes hungry because school is out. That’s why I made expanding summer meals a priority in my bipartisan child nutrition bill and will work to get that bill passed through the Senate as soon as possible.

“This announcement is also important for many children affected by the public health crisis in Flint,” Stabenow continued. “We know that good nutrition is critical to helping combat the effect of lead exposure. That’s why I urged Secretary Vilsack to make this important nutrition investment and I thank him and President Obama for making the children and families in Flint a top priority.”

Today’s announcement is great news for the more than 83,000 Michigan students who will now be eligible to participate in the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) for Children program in 2016. Children who participate must be eligible for free and reduced priced meals during the school year and will receive either $30 or $60 per month to spend on specific food items –  approved through the WIC program– that helps ensure children continue eating healthy meals while school is out.

Since 2013, Michigan has served as one of six states piloting the Summer EBT program.  Building on Michigan’s success with the summer meal program, Stabenow has lead the efforts to expand the program nationally in her bipartisan child nutrition reauthorization bill which passed the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously in January. That bill is currently waiting for a full Senate vote.

Stabenow has worked to bring much needed federal nutrition programs and nutrition education to aid in Flint’s recovery. In February, following calls by Stabenow to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that it was taking additional steps to help low-income families in Flint.  Stabenow has also lead the charge on making sure that ready-to-feed formula is available to mothers in Flint using the WIC program. Ready-to-feed is critical so families do not have to mix infant formula with water.

Global Food Security Act

The Global Food Security Act passed the House 370 – 33 earlier today with bipartisan support! Because of your efforts, we are one step closer to strengthening food security and nutrition for millions of people across the world. Now the Senate should act swiftly to pass the bill.

Call (800-826-3688) or email Gary C. Peters and Debbie A. Stabenow. Tell Congress you support the Global Food Security Act (S. 1252/H.R. 1567), which will put us on course to end hunger by 2030.

Last year we asked you to help get 100 representatives to cosponsor this bill that makes Feed the Future permanent and strengthens long-term agricultural growth. Those promises to support the bill were essential in moving the legislation forward today.

Because you made phone calls, sent emails, and persistently asked your legislators for their support, the Global Food Security Act went to the House floor with the names of more than 120 of your representatives! This is God moving in our time.

I am grateful for your faith, knowing it is a powerful gift from God. Victories like this show just how much putting faith into action matters.

Feed the Future is a huge success story. The program is key to progress against hunger and poverty, and we must keep the momentum going. Call (800-826-3688) or email Gary C. Peters and Debbie A. Stabenow. Tell your senators it is their turn now!

In gratitude,

David Beckmann
President, Bread for the World

Syrian Refugees

The horrors of the Syrian war are heart-rending. You’ve seen the statistics: More than 250,000 people have perished. Half of Syria’s population has been forced from their homes. Our brothers and sisters’ suffering is terrible. It compels us, as Catholics, to dig deeply into the foundation of our beliefs and our Church’s teaching—and to respond.

You can help now by calling on Congress to do its part. Urge your members of Congress to provide robust funding for poverty-focused international humanitarian assistance and fulfill our nation’s commitment to help Syrian and other refugees. Please also encourage them to support efforts to end the violence in Syria.

Take Action Today! Send a message to your members of Congress or call them using this toll-free number: 888-562-8232.

Thank you for opening your heart and taking action on behalf of our brothers and sisters!

Yours in Christ,
Your Catholics Confront Global Poverty team
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services

Catholics Confront Global Poverty

It’s time to celebrate! Thanks to your emails, letters and phone calls to the White House and Congress during the fall and winter months, the U.S. took concrete action to support the Green Climate Fund, an international fund set up to help poorer countries mitigate and adapt to climate change. Just last week, the White House announced that our nation’s first contribution to the fund was made for fiscal year 2016.

This victory is a big deal. In Laudato Si, Pope Francis has called us all to be better stewards of our environment, to address the causes of climate change, and to help people in poverty adapt to often harsh changes in climate. By taking this first step to support the Green Climate Fund, our nation is responding to Pope Francis’ call to action.

Read more about this victory that you helped make possible.

We’re not out of the woods yet though. The U.S. has pledged $3 billion over 4 years to Green Climate Fund, which was also an important part of the historic U.N. Climate Agreement signed in December. Congress still needs to appropriate our nation’s contribution to the Green Climate Fund for fiscal year 2017. You know your voice makes a difference. If you haven’t already done so, please contact your members of Congress today and urge them to support actions to address climate change, especially the Green Climate Fund!

In Holy Week we mark Christ’s death and resurrection, may our nation’s commitment to the Green Climate Fund resurrect hope in poor developing countries.

Blessings as we enter Holy Week,
Your Catholics Confront Global Poverty team
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services

Human Trafficking Hotline

Michigan House Approves Human Trafficking Hotline Posting Measure
Human trafficking, or modern human slavery, continues to be a crime that is not often talked about in society. If legislation continues to move through the State Legislature, however, the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) would be posted in a number of public places across Michigan to raise awareness and provide a helpful resource for those in need. House Bill 5107, sponsored by Representative Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth), requires notices with the hotline to be posted at state rest stops and welcome centers, public bus or rail stations, adult entertainment establishments, and public airports. According to Polaris Project as of fall 2015, thirty states already require or encourage a human trafficking hotline number to be posted or promoted within the state. Michigan Catholic Conference supports this legislation, which will connect victims to the assistance they need, increase tips about potential cases for law enforcement, and raise public awareness on human trafficking. The measure received a 95-8 vote in the House. The bill now continues to the Senate Committee on Families, Seniors and Human Services for further consideration.

Bread for the World

Bread for the World

More than 100 Christian leaders, as part of the Circle of Protection, sent presidential candidates in both parties a letter asking him or her to produce a video stating how they proposed to provide help to hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad.

Bread has helped distribute 10 videos from the candidates explaining how they would address hunger and poverty on domestic and international levels if elected president.

To learn more about the 2016 presidential candidates’ stances on hunger and poverty,watch the videos on the Circle of Protection’s website.

The Circle of Protection represents a diverse array of Christian denominations, churches, colleges, and agencies across the country. They will not publicly evaluate the policy positions or endorse any candidate.

Human Trafficking Hotline Posting Bill

Human Trafficking Hotline Posting Bill Continues to Full House
Last week, MCC staff supported a measure requiring public posting of notices on human trafficking. House Bill 5107, sponsored by Representative Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth), requires posting of these notices at state rest stops, public bus or rail stations, places declared “public nuisances” due to acts of prostitution or human trafficking, and adult entertainment establishments. This week, the House Criminal Justice Committee added public airports to the list by adopting an amendment from Representative Vanessa Guerra (D-Bridgeport). Representative Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) offered an amendment that was also approved to require the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to consult with the attorney general to determine if other languages are needed, in addition to English and Spanish, for the notice. After unanimous approval of the amended bill, House Bill 5107 will now be sent to the full House.

Current Opportunities for Action from Catholic Charities USA

If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to participate in our active advocacy opportunities:

You can also access all of these through our new Advocacy and Policy page.