Senator Chang Recognizes St. Irenaeus' Health Ministry as Nonprofit of the Month for Fighting Human Trafficking

Monday, February 10, 2020

St. Irenaeus’ Health Ministry
From left to right: Monica Kovach, Fr. Aaron Galvizo, Sen. Ling Ling Chang, Cypress Council Member Stacy Berry

SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) and St. Irenaeus Catholic Church in Cypress have a common goal, which is to combat human trafficking. Recently, Senator Chang and members of this faith community partnered together for the 2020 Solidarity Walk & Prayer Vigil to Honor Trafficking Victims in Cypress. Caring participants and faith leaders participated in the symbolic walk which was held on the World Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking and the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of human trafficking victims.

As a result of this common goal, Senator Chang recognizes St. Irenaeus Catholic Church for its efforts:

“It’s truly a privilege to recognize St. Irenaeus knowing that they are dedicated to fighting human trafficking and making a positive impact in the community. Ending this form of modern day slavery is one of my top priorities and it takes partnerships from all sectors to help survivors and shine a light on this $150 billion a year industry.”

Saint Irenaeus has been embedded in the Cypress community for nearly six decades since opening its doors in 1961 and has since grown into a vibrant and active parish. The Health Ministry at St. Irenaeus not only raises awareness about human trafficking, but also helps at-risk foster youth to prevent them from becoming victims of human trafficking. They focus on helping the body, mind, and spirit and being a bridge towards self-sufficiency and a stable future.

“It’s humbling for our Health Ministry’s Bridge of Light Human Trafficking to Human Triumph Ministry to receive this recognition,” said Monica Kovach, Health Ministry Facilitator and Bridge of Light Chair for St. Irenaeus. “Our goal is to raise awareness, prevent human trafficking, and eliminate this crime from our society. Human trafficking happens in every city – even in the city you call home. We are blessed to have the support of our Pastor, Father Binh Nguyen, our Health Ministry, and our faith community. Together, we are making a difference.”

Since Senator Chang's tenure, she has advocated on behalf of victims of human trafficking. In 2018, Senator Chang introduced SB 991, which called on the state to reinstate $15 million to support victims of human trafficking. Her passionate efforts to fight alongside advocates helped secure $10 million in funding for service providers.