The tools needed to help women escape human trafficking can be very, very simple. Sister Margaret Kruse explains.
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This Random Nun Clip is brought to you by A Nun's Life Ministry. Hello! I am Sister Rejane Cytacki of A Nun's Life, and my guest today is Sister Margaret Kruse, a sister of St. Francis of Assisi. Her community is located in St. Francis, Wisconsin, just south of Milwaukee. Our podcast was fittingly recorded on the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint for people caught in modern day slavery, or human trafficking. Sister Margaret, you've been so active with the anti-trafficking movement, especially in the Wisconsin area, with a program called Sisters Program South, which comes out of the Benedict Center, which was founded in 1974 by the Capuchin Brothers and the Racine Dominicans, who are very near and dear to my heart, with my time at Wisconsin. I didn't realize that they were instrumental in starting that.
When we started to look at the whole issue of human trafficking -- one of the sisters that was working for the School Sisters of St. Francis wanted to do something on the South Side for women, especially women who had been trafficked. So she pulled together different communities in this area, and asked if one or two people from the communities could come together to look at the issue. So I was on leadership at the time. And I represented our community. And it took a couple of gatherings that we start talking about what could we do. And then out of that, we decided we needed to reach out to other groups already doing things with trafficking and women who were in prostitution and the like. So we invited different groups to come in, talk to us about what they were doing, and then some of our ideas, and that was back in 2014. Out of that group, we had the Benedict Center looking at us as a possibility, because they wanted to start something on the South Side. And out of that, we start communicating and having meetings with them. And it took about a year and a half to two years for us to really come to creating the Sisters Program South. And it's a place that is a respite area for women who are in prostitution or who have been trafficked. And they can come and rest. They even have beds where they can lay down and sleep for a while. They have clothes and food and provide meals there for them as well. So it's really a great respite area. And it's been now going since 20017, and I've been gone for four years. So I'm coming back, and I'm on the board now. And it's just wonderful to see the advancements of things that have been happening over those four years that I was gone. And I'm just really excited about them working so diligently with these women. They do outreach on a regular basis, they have people come to the center part where the building is and the like. So it's been really wonderful.
Yeah, I saw a picture of the van. Is that what you use for outreach?
Okay. Where you go out and look for women, right? And touch base, if they're out and about?
Right, they I think go out two to three nights a week, for probably four to six hours. And just touch base with different women in different places. The building where the Sisters Program South is about 16 blocks away from the main area where they are doing prostitution. So they have to go to those places just to make the contacts.
That's quite a distance, isn't it? So to have the van is pretty important. To hear full episodes of A Nun's Life podcasts, visit the podcast page at anunslife.org/podcasts.
This transcript has been lightly edited for readability.