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NEW YORK (RNS) — They began the day outside the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan, where many young, vulnerable people arriving in New York for the first time come across their predators. This was the first Station of the Cross (Jesus’ condemnation).
A handful of 50 or so people led by the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser, who chairs the Episcopal Diocese of New York’s Taskforce Against Human Trafficking, stood amid the steady stream of commuters in the chill of an early April morning and read the New Testament account of Jesus being sentenced to death and taking up his cross.
Spots - Manhattan - Bronx - Brooklyn - Bus
Then it was on to other spots in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn by bus, stopping six more times to highlight the lives of sex trafficking’s victims through an abbreviated Stations of the Cross, a traditional penitential rite often performed during Lent on Good Friday, usually inside a church.
Each stop on their route was a place where people are commonly ensnared and exploited by sex traffickers and, with each stop, the group of pilgrims finding resonances between the suffering of victims of trafficking and the passion of Jesus: a strip club and “track” — a pick-up joint, in sex workers’ parlance — where Jesus falls for the first and third time; Covenant House, a Catholic Church refuge where victims are given succor and relief, an allusion to the fourth station, where Jesus meets his mother.
Stop - Brooklyn - Motel - Use - Brothel
The last stop was a Brooklyn motel, notorious for its use as a brothel, to illustrate the moment when Jesus is nailed to the cross.
Though many Americans’ perception of sex trafficking is of foreigners who are tricked to coming to the U.S. against their will and all but imprisoned, most sex trafficking victims here are American born, according to Dannhauser. They often become sex slaves through a relationship...
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