As part of our commitment to abolish trafficking and as part of our networks, several RSC’s and friends walked through the garment district of Los Angeles with 300 people to raise awareness of who is hidden away in this business. We had flyers and engaged in conversations all along the way with pedestrians and business owners.
This was our third annual Freedom Walk. Our walk, which took us winding amid some of our old historic buildings, as well as some of our glittering modern skyscrapers, was followed by a short gathering back at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. This year's gathering was the biggest ever, so we left with optimism for the future of this fight against Human Trafficking.
We gathered at the Millennium Hotel with other religious congregations, faith based communities, non profits and law enforcement agencies. We listened to the State Controller, Jerome Horton, from the Capitol who spoke about his experience as an auditor. He discovered a lot of people were not on the payroll! This ignited his passion to fight human trafficking. A young actress also spoke to us about her engagement. Two of our women who have survived and now tell their story and lobby for victims’ rights, spoke to the gathering.
President Obama issued a Proclamation designating January as National Human Trafficking Month. Our President said, “During National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, we stand with all those who are held in compelled service; we recognize the people, organizations, and government entities that are working to combat human trafficking; and we recommit to bringing an end to this inexcusable human rights abuse.” You can read his proclamation for 2012 HERE.
Sr. Marsha Moon had an experience following our freedom fair. After leaving the Biltmore, four of us headed across the city towards home and decided to stop for a bit of lunch. While there, Marsha noticed that a tall, African American gentleman seemed to be studying her shirt each time she walked past (salad bar to table). She was wearing the 27 Block/27 million slaves shirt from the first freedom walk. So the last time she noticed him staring, she asked, "Are you looking at my shirt?" Although he seemed a little embarrassed to have been "caught", he said, "Yes, I was." Marsha then explained the shirt: "We marched against Human Trafficking in downtown Los Angeles this morning." The man immediately exclaimed, "Oh! Thank you so much for doing that! God Bless you!"
When leaving the restaurant, Marsha paused by his table and he thanked her again. Marsha removed a black and white wristband which said, "End Human Trafficking," and offered it to him. In response, he held out his hand for her to put the wristband on, saying, "Thank you so much! Keep up the good work!" and ended with a kiss on her cheek, a hug, and a final "God Bless you!" So the message continues to grow...
RSC's committed to fighting human trafficking.
The story was also reported in The Tidings (Southern California's Catholic Weekly). You can see the article by clicking HERE.