Some 350 men, women and children — including women religious from more than a dozen congregations — took part January 7 in the third annual LA Freedom Walk through the city’s garment and jewelry districts to bring awareness about human trafficking and modern-day slavery in California, the U.S. and around the world.

The Saturday morning event, sponsored by the LA Metro Task Force against Human Trafficking and participating anti-slavery organizations, also featured a Freedom Fair at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel with testimonies from two survivors of trafficking. During the 27-block walk by groups, participants engaged street vendors, shop workers and others with information about human trafficking, including how to recognize and report victims.

“At times we sang, ‘No more slavery! No more slavery!’ and a lot of people responded, ‘Yes, thank you,’” said Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet Catherine Marie Kreta, board president of CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking). “I was especially excited about all the young people who came out to walk with us. With the energy they have, you know they’re going to do something to stop these horrible crimes.”

The LA Freedom Walk and Fair commemorated National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, which was January 11. President Barack Obama has declared January 2012 as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. A feature story on the walk and fair will run in a later edition of The Tidings. 

---R.W. Dellinger

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