January 2023 WATERritual

Standing Against Injustice Empowers the Marginalized

Tuesday January 24, 2023

Follow along with the January 2023 WATERritual here on YouTube.

 Preparation: Have three candles and a lighter nearby.

Welcome and Call to Gather

Welcome to the first WATERritual for the new year 2023.  It is customary for the new year to celebrate new life and new beginnings. We set new goals and raise new hopes that the changes we make in our lives will positively impact the world. We call these changes “New Year’s Resolutions.”

As we come together this evening, during Human Trafficking Awareness Month, we will acknowledge the horrors of human trafficking, which is modern day slavery, and resolve to stand in solidarity against the injustices of trafficking people.

In this ritual we will acknowledge the lives of those traumatized by human trafficking, show our support for survivors, and rally to fight to end slavery of all kinds. We will pray for healing for all families who are missing loved ones to human trafficking and for survivors as they work to reclaim themselves, their dignity, their freedom, and recapture their dreams.

I ask all who are gathered here this evening to join in cheering on survivors who have navigated the human trafficking landmine and have been rescued alive. Let us give them our support, while we look for ways to end this scourge on humanity, to find others lost in this horrible system, and to search for ways to bring this to an end.

Song: “We Shall Overcome” by Joan Baez.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBejVH2aWUw

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome, someday

Oh, deep in my heart
I know that I do believe
We shall overcome, someday

We shall be alright
We shall be alright
We shall be alright, someday

Oh, deep in my heart
I know that I do believe
We shall overcome, someday

We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace, someday

Oh, deep in my heart
I know that I do believe
We shall overcome, someday

We are not afraid (oh Lord)
We are not afraid (oh Lord)
We are not afraid, today

Oh, deep in my heart
I know that I do believe
We shall overcome, someday

We shall overcome (oh Lord)
We shall overcome (oh Lord)
We shall overcome, someday

Oh, deep in my heart
I know that I do believe
We shall overcome, someday

Lighting Candles

We light our first candle in memory of those whose light of life has been extinguished permanently and for those whose lights have been dimmed as they remain victims to human trafficking.

We light a second candle for survivors of human trafficking as they seek to rebuild their lives, regain their dignity and freedom, and achieve their potentials to contribute to the universe.

We light this third candle in solidarity with all victims and survivors of human trafficking, but especially for the 71% who are women and girls, as we fight to end this scourge of evil on humanity and support and empower survivors to reclaim their best potential.


Dear God, Holy Wisdom, Sophia Spirit, we come together this evening to stand in solidarity against slavery of every kind.  Human trafficking, which is slavery, is being committed across the world with endless reach, and people who are marginalized are affected most.  These mainly women and young girls are separated from their friends and families and dehumanized by their captors for economic purpose.

Stripped of their dignity and liberty, young girls are used as toys for grown men who use them and toss them aside like rag dolls.  They are denied a chance to continue their education, forced into hazardous labor, and have their spirits broken.

Women looking for means to sustain their family have been tricked to work in conditions not fit for any life, to include prostitution and drug.

Merciful and compassionate God, we bring before you the horrors of human trafficking and ask you to strengthen and guide us as we join hearts and hands to stand against this evil and fight to restore the dignity and liberty of all who have been caught in this horrible plague.  We are the light of the world and with your help we will illuminate the darkness of human trafficking and create space for healing, restoration, and empowerment for the survivors. Amen.

Poem: “Human Trafficking” by Glamorous Enigma

Source: https://pickmeuppoetry.org/human-trafficking-by-glamorous-enigma/

All over the world;





Trafficked people are tricked,

by false promises they are attracted

There is no mercy!

When the way is to delinquency

There is no pity

When the way is to cruelty

There is no humanity

When the way is to atrocity

There is no love

When the way is to hate

There is no forgiveness

When the way is to intolerance

When the human rights violation are prevalent

When the child abuses are predominant

When the teenager exploitations are persistent

When the girl oppressions are constant

When the woman mistreatments are incessant

When the Humans are the ZOMBIE victims

When the children are the pedophile’s victims

When the teenagers are exploited in the worst crimes

When the girls are the victims of sexual violence

When the women are injured physically and morally

There are no words can describe these aggressions

There are no words can express these corruptions

There are no words can define these transgressions

There are no words can recognize these indiscretions

There are no words can identify these condemnations

Human Trafficking or Slavery

of the 21st Century

demolishes the freedom

and buries

Guiltily, it kills innocents

and murders.

Song: “We Are The World” by Clarksville Elementary Students


There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Well, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
So their cries for help will not be in vain
We can’t make them suffer, no we cannot turn away
Right now they need a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We all need somebody that we could lean on
When you wake up and look around and see that your dream’s all gone
When the earthquakes will help you make it through the storm
When the floor breaks the magic carpet you stand on
We are the world united by a love so strong
When the radio isn’t on you can hear the song
A guiding light on the dark road you’re walking on
A signpost to find the dreams you thought was gone
Someone to help you with the obstacles you stumble on
Someone to help you rebuild after the rubber’s gone
We are the world connected by a common bond
Love, the whole planet singing along

Nosotras somos el mundo

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day,
so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Poem: “They Come” by Julia F


They come in the dawn.
They come in the night.

They come in the dark.

They come in the light.

They come in the Morning,

And afternoon.

They come in the evening,

And when the clock strikes noon.
They come in ones and twos and threes;

They come with rice and wine and ease.

They come with only one thing in mind;

They come for me,

For I am hardly one of a kind,

In their eyes.
They come to get their fix of choice.
They point at me, Like I am a toy

On a shelf,

For use by all of them.

I have been turned into an object,

With which to have sex.

Its face,

Marred with use.

Its body,

Scarred from abuse,

Its mind,

One large bruise,

Only able to muse

Over the fact that it can no longer refuse

Any of them.

I hear the sound

Of the old deadbolt.

It locks me in and others out,

Adding injury to old insult.
They leave me,

Who they think is so pretty,

In the hands of the Chinese,

Until the next time.
Even though I have now escaped,

I still feel like I am a sex slave.

To this day,

I still am in the sex trade.
Although I am not chained to that same bed,

The men still come in my head,

In my mind,

I am no longer one of a kind.
Sung Myung

(The old one)

Has long since died.

The new one

(The new Sung Myung)

Has only men come for her in her mind.
She waits every day,

and hopes one will bring a change,

For her darling, Hye Ryoung,

The beautiful, young girl,

Who keeps her pushing on through it all.

She is the light,

The one source of brightness carrying me through to the end of the dark tunnel of life.

She brings me peace and sweetness.

She brings me innocence and joy.

One day,

I will tell my mother and older sister that they will no longer be slaves.
They will stay

In their chains

No more.

They will someday be free,

Through Heaven or through me.
Either way,

God and I will stay

Together through even the toughest days.

God and I will free them
From that world.

They will know no more fear.
They will be able to live the rest of their years



With me,

In a good country.

My daughter,

My girl,

Will never know that life.
She will never know the price

Of a chained soul,
Enclosed within a cloak of darkness, shade, brokenness, and shame.


Will never know what it is like
To be a sex slave.

A Report from The Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security reports that the crime of human trafficking produces an annual global profit of $150 billion and affecting approximately twenty-five million people in the U.S.  The District of Columbia ranks within the top seventh cities in the U.S. with reported human trafficking violations. (https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/2022-02/CCHT%20Annual%20Report.pdf)

U.S. Proclamation to End Human Trafficking

On December 30, 2022, President Biden signed a proclamation reaffirming the U.S. commitment to ending human trafficking.  An excerpt from the proclamation reads:

“Human trafficking is a challenge that transcends borders, so the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development have partnered with allies across the globe to detect human trafficking, connect victims with supportive services, and strengthen accountability.  In 2021, I signed into law the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to prevent goods made with forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China from being imported to the United States.  Throughout all of this work, we are listening to and highlighting the voices of survivors — particularly members of racial and ethnic minorities, women and girls, the LGBTQI+ community, migrants, and other disproportionately affected groups — and we will continue to ensure that survivors are treated with dignity and respect.”

A News Report

As faith would have it, while this ritual was being planned, I turned on the television to see the weather report. Primetime news was still on, and the news caster reported an item in the news that four bodies were found on a grow farm in Oklahoma. The owner of the farm is the lone survivor, after spending two weeks in the hospital for gunshot wounds. Dairy farms are being converted to grow farms for medical marijuana. Most of these farms are operating illegally with trafficked workers from China, and the marijuana grown trafficked across the country. The news item featured another group of Asian workers on a similar farm in California. The workers were tricked about the type of work they were coming to the U.S. to do.

Human traffickers’ greed of money and power exploits vulnerable people who are desperately looking for ways to raise their standard of living and to better support their family. The State Department declares that this crime presents a threat to international peace, safety, and security as it undermines the rule of law, robs millions of their dignity and freedom, and enriches transnational criminals and the terrorists.

The United Nations sustainable development goal is working to end human trafficking or modern day slavery through various projects which include eliminating poverty and hunger, improving health and well-being, and education, providing gender equity, providing clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, providing decent work and economic growth, reducing inequality, increasing responsible consumption and production, taking care of the environment, and creating peace through a strong legal and a justice system.



In small groups of 3 or 4, let’s take time to share: What have you learned from what you have heard? And what are your reflections?

Take Action

Let us put our prayers into action.

When we stand against injustice to the marginalized, we empower them and allow them to live towards their full potential.  When we prevent human traffickers from disrupting the life of the poor and marginalized, we allow the poor and marginalized dignity and freedom to achieve livelihood that can sustain them and their families.

  • Learn the indications of human trafficking and participate in human trafficking awareness training sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign program, https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/indicators-human-trafficking
  • Know the human trafficking hotline number 1-888-373-7888 and report suspicious activities.
  • Help victims of human trafficking to escape alive. If you are handed a piece of paper with “help” written on it or if someone tells you they are in danger, call 911.
  • Support organizations and programs that are anti-trafficking by donating money or time and make others aware of the problems of human trafficking.
  • Help empower survivors by providing jobs, internships, skills training, health care access, and other opportunities to help them recover from trauma, rebuild self-esteem, and reclaim dignity and status as they assimilate back into society.
  • Be informed on how products pass through the supply chain and shop where fair trade is practiced, fair wages are paid, and no child labor is utilized in production.
  • Professionals in the health care, the media, the legal and the justice system can donate their service by volunteering with organizations assisting victims, survivors, and families.
  • Create space in your community to highlight the problem of human trafficking.
  • Tell youth about human trafficking, teach them to be alert and mindful of their surroundings, especially those moving away from home to attend college or internships abroad.

Prayer by Rose Mary Meyer, BVM, https://www.projectirene.org/human-trafficking-ritual/ from Stirring WATERS: Feminist Liturgies for Justice by Diann L. Neu

“Let us … form a heart with our two hands. Take some deep breaths, breathing in gratitude for those working to end human trafficking, and breathing out hope for the future where human trafficking will no longer be a reality.”


“Creator of All, for love, peace, and freedom you formed us and all those caught in the web of human trafficking. We pray that justice, peace, compassion, freedom, and  mercy may overflow in our hearts and in our actions. May this be so. Amen.”


Song: “Lift Every Voice and Sing” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONgOH_tq7-Q   (3.35)

Lift every voice and sing

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the listening skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun

Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,

Bitter the chastening rod,

Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;

Yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet

Come to the place for which our parents sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears have been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past,

Till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,

God of our silent tears,

Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;

Thou who has by Thy might

Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, Our God, where we met Thee;

Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;

Shadowed beneath Thy hand,

May we forever stand.

True to our GOD,

True to our native land


A Proclamation on National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, 2023 | The White House  https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2022/12/30/a-proclamation-on-national-human-trafficking-prevention-month-2023/  (President Biden’s Proclamation)

Sustainable Development Goals (unodc.org)   https://www.unodc.org/unodc/about-unodc/sustainable-


Report: Majority of trafficking victims are women and girls (un.org)     https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2016/12/report-majority-of-trafficking-victims-are-women-and-girls-one-third-children/   statistics on human trafficking

U.S. cannabis industry may be linked to international organized crime, officials say – YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVmxc4Z3sqE)

National Human Trafficking Prevention Month – United States Department of State  https://www.state.gov/national-human-trafficking-prevention-month/#:~:text=President%20Biden%20has%20proclaimed%20January,States%20and%20around%20the%20world.

2022 Trafficking in Persons Report – United States Department of State   https://www.state.gov/reports/2022-trafficking-in-persons-report/

DHS Countering Human Trafficking: Year in Review  https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/2022-02/CCHT%20Annual%20Report.pdf

Indicators of Human Trafficking | Homeland Security (dhs.gov) https://www.dhs.gov/blue-


© 2023 WATER, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual; created by Diann L. Neu with Pamella Miller and the WATER Community