March 17, 2017

Many Americans commemorate the feast day of Ireland’s patron saint with green-tinted revelry—frothy pints, garlands of emerald colored beads, and the ubiquitous “Kiss Me I’m Irish” trappings—St. Patrick’s Day originally derives from a story of violence and redemption. In the fifth century, traffickers in Ireland captured teenaged Patricius and forced him to work as a shepherd. He labored as a slave—with no pay, mobility, or freedoms—for six long years. According to preserved records of Saint Patrick's writing, he describes a dream in which God instructed him to escape slavery by fleeing to the Irish coast, which moved him to risk his life in pursuit of freedom. Patricius rebuilt his life after escaping his traffickers and found purpose and community through working with others and sharing his wisdom throughout Ireland.

In remembering the struggles that St. Patrick endured, we think of the individuals trapped today in modern-day slavery across the globe. An estimated 45.8 million people are trapped in the violent bondage of human trafficking; criminals exploit labor, deprive mobility, enforce harsh conditions, inflict abuse, and trample hopes and wills of individuals around the world.

Thankfully, a strong network of anti-human trafficking coalitions combat modern-day slavery by rescuing victims, prosecuting traffickers, and offering resources to survivors. iSanctuary plays an important role in this work—through the provision of vocational training, education, healthcare, therapy, and community, we help survivors find purpose, confidence, and support as they step back into life outside of trafficking. Over the last ten years, we have imparted livelihoods, restorative counseling, and unconditional kindness on over 300 survivors of trafficking in Mumbai. You, our supporters, allies, volunteers, and community, have enabled this work. This St. Patrick’s Day, as we look to the next dawn of iSanctuary—expanding our services to more countries and aiding more survivors—we bear Patricius in mind. We honor his struggle and his restoration, as we work to render a similar redemption to survivors around the world.

If you'd like to get involved and bring hope, restoration, and true freedom to survivors of human trafficking, click here to learn more about our Bring Freedom to Uganda efforts.

Alexandra Badie