February 8, 2017  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

Parishes and Faithful across Archdiocese Reflect and Pray Commemorating International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking

Archbishop José H. Gomez and Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell today, International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking, announced via video that they are joining forces to raise awareness to end human trafficking. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center lists California as the state with the highest number of reported human-trafficking victims, with 1,323 cases reported in 2016.

“Human trafficking is a grave evil and it is happening all around us without us knowing. Human trafficking is not just a problem in other countries, it is a reality right here at home in our own neighborhoods and communities,” said Archbishop Gomez. “As a community of faith and love we must work together to put an end to human trafficking which affects so many especially our children. Please join me and Sheriff McDonnell in prayer and in action.”

The Archdiocese Office of Life Justice and Peace is providing all 287 parishes throughout the tri-County Archdiocese (Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara) with information and resources to raise awareness in their communities, understand steps to take should they suspect trafficking, and learn how to help support victims of human trafficking. Resources available to parish communities are available by visiting      

“Law enforcement is on the side of the victims. We will not report victims or their to families to immigration authorities,” said Sheriff McDonnell in the video. “We work closely with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) and other victim assistance organizations to help anyone who is being enslaved. If you have reason to believe that someone is being held against their will either at a job or in sex trade, call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-222-8477.”

Today, the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking and Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, parish and faithful in the Archdiocese will reflect and pray for victims on human trafficking. In the 19th century, St. Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan. She was sold several times, laboring as a domestic servant and suffering torture. After Josephine was freed, she joined the Canossian sisters in Italy and devoted herself to sharing her testimony of deliverance from slavery and serving the poor and suffering. 

“We are pleased to announce this partnership between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and local law enforcement to raise awareness about the evil of human trafficking and provide practical resources for victim assistance, said Kathleen Domingo, Associate Director of the Archdiocese Office of Life, Justice and Peace. “It is especially important for our immigrant communities to know that local law enforcement provides victim assistance without reporting to immigration authorities. All of our parishes and schools are being asked to join in prayer against human trafficking and to help increase awareness in their communities.”

# # #