Human Trafficking

July 30 marks the United Nations’ World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, a time to raise awareness around human trafficking and amplify efforts to stop it. With the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to the retraumatization of survivors and increasing risk among individuals experiencing disadvantage, the need is even greater to shine a light on the work Catholic sisters are doing to address the realities of human trafficking, both domestically and abroad. 


We invite you to read the article Catholic Sisters Lead the Way in the Anti-Trafficking Movement from the Hilton Foundation and to look at the resources in this page, that our office has compiled.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has partnered with local law enforcement to raise awareness about the evil of human trafficking and provide practical resources for victim assistance. It is especially important for our immigrant communities to know that local law enforcement provides victim assistance without reporting to immigration authorities. All of our parishes and schools are being asked to join in prayer against human trafficking and to help increase awareness in their communities.

Do you think someone has been trafficked?

Call 1-888-KEY-2-FREE (24 hour hotline)

If you become aware of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), sex trafficking of an adult, or forced labor, contact the CAST LA hotline for referrals. You can leave a tip on behalf of a victim.

Other resources:

What Is Trafficking?

Human trafficking is modern day slavery. At least 21 million people worldwide are forced to work without pay and unable to walk away. Traffickers prey on the most vulnerable – those looking for opportunity in the US, those without families, and unsuspecting young people online.

The FBI notes that Los Angeles is one of the major hubs for human trafficking in the United States. Most are involved in domestic trafficking. In fact, 75% of trafficking victims in California were American citizens. While trafficking disproportionately affects women and girls, half of adult victims and one third of child victims are male. And while much of what we read focuses on sex trafficking, a majority of victims worldwide suffer from labor trafficking.

In other words, anyone can become a victim of human trafficking. These are our neighbors, in our schools and businesses and churches.


Pope’s Message

Get Involved

The International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking is February 8th, the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita. Throughout the year, and on this day in particular, parishes are encouraged to engage with the issue of human trafficking.

Promote the Hotline

Put up posters in restrooms at your parish for the CAST hotline or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Law enforcement informed us that trafficking victims are often allowed to go to church, and it may be their only opportunity to be away from their trafficker.

Pray with the St. Josephine Bakhita Prayer Card

In the 19th century, St. Josephine Bakhita was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan. She was sold several times, laboring as a domestic servant and suffering torture. After Josephine was freed, she joined the Canossian sisters in Italy and devoted herself to sharing her testimony of deliverance from slavery and serving the poor and suffering. She was renowned for her joy, gentleness, and holiness. St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for us!

St Josephine Bakhita Prayer Card

Educate Your Parish

Help your parish staff, school administration, and parishioners learn to recognize victims of human trafficking. Read more from these flyers from federal agencies:

Host a Speaker

Susan Patterson educates parishes, raising awareness of the problem, offering practical ways parishes can fight human trafficking, and including information on prevention such as fair trade, stopping pornography, assisting foster youth, and training youth and parents on identifying traffickers. Email:

Join the Southern California Faith Coalitions Against Trafficking

Whether your parish is located in the South Bay, Westside, East LA, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, there are events fighting human trafficking near you. If your parish would like to do more, invite your group to attend a coalition meeting.


Host a Movie Night

The USCCB has their Shepherd Toolkit for parishes with information for awareness and prevention. The toolkit includes a movie guide of films parishes can screen about human trafficking, and a list of signs for spotting trafficking victims.


Other Ways to Get Involved:

Join the Catholic Legislative Network

Catholic Legislative Network

Sign up for the Catholic Legislative Network’s email alerts so you can raise your voice for victims and survivors of human trafficking in the California legislature.

Support Our OneLife LA Community Partners

A21 – has a youth curriculum that teaches kids how to protect themselves from traffickers

Casa de la Familia – offers culturally sensitive support and counseling for trauma survivors and their families.

Covenant House – rescues homeless youth from becoming victims of human trafficking

Journey Out – offers comprehensive case management for adult sex trafficking survivors

Saving Innocence – has an emergency shelter and long term care for commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC)

Treasures  – outreach to individuals working in the sex industry and to CSEC youth in juvenile detention centers

Educate Students with Respect Life Week Curriculum

Our annual Respect Life Week includes information for TK-12 about human trafficking and how to prevent it.

Educate Yourself and Your Parish with Angelus News Articles: