President Obama launched a $6 million effort aimed at trafficking in September. “When a little girl is sold by her impoverished family — girls my daughters’ age — runs away from home, or is lured by the false promises of a better life, and then imprisoned in a brothel and tortured if she resists — that’s slavery,” he said. “It is barbaric, and it is evil, and it has no place in a civilized world.”
Yet just last year, the associate director for anti-trafficking services at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) program received an e-mail stating that it would no longer receive government funds because the Catholic Church refuses to provide abortion, sterilization and artificial birth control to its employees or those the Church’s agencies serve or refer victims to those who do.
The highly regarded, USCCB-administered program coordinated a network of organizations, many faith-based, overseeing $15 million in government funds, according to the National Catholic Register. Now, that money is gone. Maricella Garcia, of Catholic Charities in Little Rock, Arkansas, says her agency has stopped offering services to trafficked victims. “The grant that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had is that they provided direct assistance money,” she said. “That could help a victim pay for rent or help them pay for food. We don’t have that capability anymore.”
This is more than a bureaucratic decision to fund one agency over another. This is the Obama administration waging war against religious liberty.
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