Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta


O’Connell House, a refuge in Boston for victims of sex trafficking

O’Connell House, a refuge in Boston for victims of sex trafficking

Inaugurated near Boston, USA, O’Connell House is a cutting-edge facility for housing and supporting women victims of sexual trafficking. Deborah O’Hara Ruskowski, Special Advisor on Human Trafficking, and Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston inaugurated this “safe house”, named after the former rector, Father Terry O’Connell, designed to meet the specific needs of pregnant women and/or with infants. Housed in what was once a rectory, the building boasts 15 spacious en-suite rooms.

Some sisters provide 24-hour assistance to these women, followed also by therapists and consultants. The house has a kitchen, a laundry, office spaces, meeting rooms, a large dining area, a physical exercise space, a clinical area complete with doctor’s office and a chapel.

The inauguration of the O’Connell House was attended by members of the Sovereign Order of Malta’s Mission to the United Nations, the Boston Delegation of the Order of Malta’s American Association and numerous honoured guests. The event culminated with a special blessing from Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston.

Since 2017, the Order of Malta has been actively engaged in the fight against human trafficking with the appointment of two special ambassadors: in Geneva, Michel Veuthey, (Ambassador for Monitoring and Combating Human Trafficking) and in Africa, Romain Champierre de Villeneuve (Special Ambassador for Africa). Together they reinforce the Order of Malta’s commitment to preventing human trafficking and protecting victims, with both local (such as the Bakhita centre in Lagos, Nigeria) and diplomatic projects.

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