Introducing Teresa Vyhanek, CCAO Migration and Human Trafficking Intern

February 6, 2013

Teresa Vyhanek

Having gone to bilingual schools growing up, I have always been aware of people in my midst who speak other languages, primarily immigrants. Now, studying Spanish for International Service in my undergraduate career, I have learned even more about immigration and have taken a keen interest in learning more about the processes, adjustments, and sadly the degradation which immigrants face in a new country.

Immigrants are among those most in danger of not being treated with proper human dignity.  Whatever the claims against immigrants may be in any country, immigrants are just as much members of the Body of Christ as you or me.  Imagine entering a country, hardly knowing the language, being separated from family, having no friends, seeking employment, and being treated inhumanely—and to suffer all of this ultimately for the sake of finding happiness.  Immigrants often undergo extreme circumstances in order to arrive at their destination, only to suffer great discrimination because of their race, language, or religion once arriving.  Immigrants deserve and are much in need of being invited into the Communion of Persons which God revealed to us by sending his Son into the world.

Victims of human trafficking are also not treated with due dignity.  The coercion, deception, and various forms of abuse involved in human trafficking are degrading to the human being in all respects.  Not only can a person suffer physical harm being contained by their trafficker or being forced to work under dehumanizing conditions, but they can also suffer from long-term psychological issues.

Immigrants and victims of human trafficking around the world too often fail to be recognized as human, created in the image and likeness of God.  If Christ comes to establish himself in the Eucharist and bring the world salvation, it is clear that a person should never be discriminated against or used, under any circumstance.  Rather, our call in life is to love and we can do this by speaking up and taking action against the dehumanization which immigrants and victims of human trafficking face.  I am very excited to be working with the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach in responding to this call!