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Praying to end human trafficking

Strong women: Catholic Women’s League Queensland executive members Shona Cobham, Veronica Box, Gemma Courtney and Joan Armstrong after their installation at St Stephen’s Cathedral. Absent: Yvonne Hore.

Strong women: Catholic Women’s League Queensland executive members Shona Cobham, Veronica Box, Gemma Courtney and Joan Armstrong after their installation at St Stephen’s Cathedral. Absent: Yvonne Hore.

By Emilie Ng

QUEENSLAND’s new Catholic Women’s League state president is determined to rally more lay Catholic women to pray for an end to human trafficking.

Veronica Box said her two-year term, which started on February 11, would include advocacy against human trafficking, an issue put forward by the World Union of Catholic Womens’ Organisations.

“This year we’ll be making sure all our branch members throughout Queensland are aware of this terrible problem,” Mrs Box said.

“Queenslanders aren’t aware that human trafficking takes place in our own state, and so we’re going to make our members aware of that.”

Pope Francis recently marked February 8, a day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking, coinciding with the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese nun who was a victim of slavery.

Mrs Box said the Pope’s comments had sparked interest among Catholic women around the world to work “all together” on the issues of human trafficking.

The comments followed her installation as new CWL Queensland president on February 11 at St Stephen’s Cathedral.

Fellow executive members Gemma Courtney, Joan Armstrong, Shona Cobham, and Yvonne Hore were also installed.

Mrs Box said the CWL Queensland branches would also raise money for Mercy Works, an organisation founded by the Australian and Papua New Guinea Sisters of Mercy that supports refugees and asyulum seekers.

“So this year, every branch in Queensland will hold some kind of function and that money will go to Mercy Works to help the asylum seekers,” Mrs Box said.

While many of its members are active parishioners, often supporting a handful of parish ministries, social justice and bioethics are also at the forefront of their mission.

“We’re very much into advocacy on what we see are wrongs happening in our society,” Mrs Box said.

“Through the national body we send senate inquiries, and we write letters to parliamentarians.

“We are of a certain age most of us, but we are well informed on all kinds of issues.”

Less than 5000 lay Catholic women are part of CWL, a national organisation, but the new Queensland executive aren’t content with their current numbers.

“Ten years ago we would have had 8000 members in Australia,” Mrs Box said.

“We’re going to build them up again in Queensland.

“We’re determined.”

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