On January 9th St Columban’s Parish Human Trafficking (HT) Ministry, of which Sr. Bernadette Moran, RSC, is a member, commemorated National Human Trafficking and Anti Slavery Day by distributing the Maryknoll’s magazine after the Sunday masses. The December issue of the magazine had articles on ‘The Pain of Human Trafficking’.
The HT Ministry also had a booth outside of the church with posters of Human Trafficking survivors to increase awareness and to answer any questions. The following day the Stations of the Cross in the parish were dedicated to Human Trafficking victims. A poster of a HT Survivor and a HT statistic was given at each station. At the conclusion of the Stations of the Cross, Sylvia Valdez spoke about her journey to Nigeria. She said that she now realizes Human Trafficking victims/survivors are really our brothers, sisters and children. This issue is a monstrosity and is much larger than she imagined. It is about greed, power and sex. She believes that when tragedies occur it gives us the opportunity, it is our call, our quest and our future to assist our brothers and sisters in peril. This monster is about Poverty, Awareness, Fair Trade, Education, Customs, Ethics and most important HOPE. The HOPE that we each can change the world through prayer, awareness and donations. Sylvia mentioned the Orange County Task Force on Human Trafficking is requesting donations to purchase items for victims who have been rescued. Several donations were collected. She ended by stating “To the Sisters of Charity, I thank you for this experience. My heart and soul are profoundly touched by this journey. May God continue to bless the wonderful work you are doing here at St. Columban’s, in Africa and around the world.”
The group concluded National Human Trafficking Day by dedicating the evening of Taize prayer to the Human Trafficking Survivors of the world.
Sylvia Valdez is St. Columban’s parish representative on the Peace and Justice Ministry. The Ministry has one representative from each of 10 parishes in the Orange County Diocese for Deanery 4 and 5. She spoke on Human Trafficking and her trip to Nigeria at the January Peace and Justice meeting. St. Columban’s H.T. Ministry was established in 2005 and was the first HT ministry in the Orange County Diocese.