St. Irenaeus’ Bridge of Light: Human Trafficking to Human Triumph Ministry had a booth at the Cypress Festival on July 27th that attracted a lot of people and spread community awareness of the heinous crime of human trafficking. This ministry is part of Health Ministry at St. Irenaeus Catholic Church in Cypress. It is very active in helping foster community youth ages 18 – 24 throughout the year by providing and serving dinners regularly at the Orangewood Foundation, a center for Foster and Community Youth Services. Because youth in Foster Care are most at risk for human trafficking, providing them with assistance and support helps to prevent them from becoming victims of human trafficking. This ministry also holds an annual Prayer Vigil and Solidarity Walk to honor and pray for victims of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is now the fastest growing illegal criminal enterprise in the United States. It has been called “modern-day slavery”. It is estimated that 100,000 kids under age 18 are victimized each year in the United States; 70% of victims are U.S. citizens and 82% involve sex trafficking. The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force Victim Report for 2015 identified 225 human trafficking victims in Orange County who had received service or assistance from them. According to Orangewood Foundation, “400 victims of sex trafficking in Orange County have been identified in the past 10 years. Nearly half of those victims were children.” If you see something that may be human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 so that professionals can investigate the situation.
Janet Bica, Ministry Chair, extends her appreciation to Joe Tucciarrone for helping to set up and take down the booth, as well as her husband, Mario Bica, Carol Reed and her grandson, Monica Kovach, Sr. Gemma Pires, Donna Kriesel, Terry and Rolly Arenz, Rick and Mary Tkach and all volunteers who helped in manning this booth.
If you are interested in joining or assisting this ministry to combat human trafficking, please contact Janet Bica, Chair, at 714-743-0112. Monthly meetings are the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m.
This article was written by Rosemary Lewallen, of St. Irenaeus Health Ministry.
Editor’s Note: The photo was taken by Monica Kovach at Cypress Festival, July 27, 2019.