Benedictine Academy Teachers Battling Modern-Day Slavery At The Super Bowl

Linda Michalski, Third Order Dominican (left) and Sr. Donna Jo Repetti, OSF (right)

Linda Michalski, Third Order Dominican (left) and Sr. Donna Jo Repetti, OSF (right)

ELIZABETH — Two Benedictine Academy teachers are leading the fight to free women enslaved in prostitution are spearheading an awareness campaign around the 2014 Super Bowl.

Linda Michalski, of Chatham, and Sister Donna Jo Repetti want government officials and the airline and hotel industries to help prevent the anticipated surge in prostitution that would coincide with the Super Bowl coming to the Meadowlands.

Activists representing almost 50 community organizations that comprise the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking have been gathering to coordinate strategies in advance of the  Feb. 2 Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium.

“There are four times as many people enslaved today than there were in the 1800s,” said Michalski, a campus minister who teaches a high school curriculum, developed by Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and designed to enlighten young people about the issue.

“The value of a slave has actually decreased,” said Michalski. “Frederick Douglass was sold for $792. Today, somebody is sold for $70 in our country in the 21st century. How can this be?”

Coalition members urged the travel industry to help fight sexual exploitation

Experts say 80 percent of the victim of modern-day slavery are women and children, many of whom are forced to engage in the sex trade.

The coalition is planning a Super Bowl Hotel Outreach in September.

“We’re asking hotel management to accept materials, attend trainings, set protocols, and train their staff to spot human trafficking,” said Melanie Gorelick, a coalition facilitator who is also community relations director at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ

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