Los Angeles, California – January 11, 2014 – Los Angeles-based organization Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) is partnering with Catholic Sisters and other community partners to host “Walk 4 Freedom” to mark National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. 

The 2-mile route will wend through Koreatown, a neighborhood where known cases of human trafficking have surfaced.  About 100 people from all walks of life are expected to turn out for the walk, including students, families and business professionals.  Internationally-recognized survivor-advocate Ima Matul will lead a contingent of survivors of human trafficking who have become vocal human rights advocates.  Sister Kathleen Newell, who is 93 years old, will show that people of all ages care about social justice. 

The United Nations estimates that 27 million people are living slavery around the world today, with Los Angeles being a top destination for human trafficking in the United States.  Tens of thousands of people in the U.S. are currently living in some type of modern-day slavery.

“Human trafficking is a serious and growing problem in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.  This human rights violation often happens behind closed doors, hidden from the public.  Today, we are walking to shed light on this issue.  Traffickers often exert control over victims by tearing down their self-esteem, saying that nobody cares whether they live or die.

Walk 4 Freedom sends a very different message:  the people of Los Angeles do care. There is hope.  Trafficking victims can come forward, receive help, and live with dignity again.  The trafficking survivors who are walking with me today are living proof of this hope that we can put an end to modern-day slavery,” says Kay Buck, Executive Director and CEO of CAST.

 

Walk 4 Freedom takes place on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.  The route begins and ends in front of St. Basil’s Church (3611 Wilshire Boulevard) and will take approximately one hour. 

 

About CAST

For over 15 years, CAST has championed a comprehensive, survivor-centered approach to combatting human trafficking.  CAST provides trafficking survivors in Los Angeles with a continuum of life-transforming services:  a 24-hour emergency response system; legal services; social services; and a survivor leadership program. Through this intensive work in the trenches, CAST holds a unique perspective that has catalyzed innovative community partnerships, as well as state and federal policy changes.

 

 

About Catholic Sisters and Friends

Catholic Nuns have invited their networks, friends and partners to participate in this walk.  Partner groups include Southern California MALES  (Men As Learners and Elders) who are  dedicated to the Journey of Illumination (JOI), that is, the ongoing transformation of men through spirituality and wisdom of the ages. In that commitment to transformation, they promote the abolition of all forms of human exploitation, including trafficking and modern day slavery.