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Press Release

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Media Contact:
Eric L. Steckel
Communications Manager
510-768-3147

esteckel@cceb.org

Catholic Charities of the East Bay and Alameda County District


Attorneys Office to Partner in Creating Safe Homes for Child Victims
of Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Ground-breaking public-faith-based partnership a response to statewide
pandemic and Pope Francis call for Year of Mercy.
OAKLAND, Calif. December 8, 2015 Today, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E.
OMalley joined Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ and Chuck Fernandez, Chief Executive Officer of
Catholic Charities of the East Bay to announce a new initiative to create homes for child victims
of sexual exploitation and trafficking. Alameda County is one of the nations high intensity
locations of child sex trafficking. In an effort to battle this criminal enterprise, the groundbreaking partnership will provide safe and secure housing for the young victims to recover, heal
and thrive.
Today, I am pleased to announce that we are currently in advanced talks about the
location of our first safe house in the East Bay, stated Mr. Fernandez. However, given the
enormity of the problem, we know that one house will not be sufficient. Our vision is to provide a
series of safe houses and independent living facilities, which will be a place of healing, hope
and dignity for the vulnerable girls who fall prey to traffickers.
Catholic Charities of the East Bay and Bishop Barber are stepping up to meet the basic
needs of young women who have been trafficked. Children who are the victims of sexual
exploitation and trafficking are in vital need of safe and secure housing. The lack of such
housing in our community and across the state is of grave concern, explains District Attorney
OMalley. The housing that will be created by Catholic Charities will provide the stability,
support, and love that has been absent in the lives of trafficked youth. I am eternally grateful to
Bishop Barber and Catholic Charities for making this mission a priority as part of the Year of
Mercy declared by Pope Francis. I am certain these efforts will become a model for all
communities to work together to combat human trafficking. To effectively put an end to this
criminal enterprise, we must provide safe places for the young victims to live while they heal,
recover and rebuild their lives while regaining their sense of dignity and security. These homes
will set a path for their future to be as bright as we hope for all of our children.
As the Diocese of Oakland celebrates the beginning of the Jubilee Year, Bishop Barber
declared this to be the Diocesan Act of Mercy. Pope Francis has called upon us to
contemplate the mercy that God has shown all of us, and then go forth to offer this mercy to
those in need, explained Bishop Barber. It is imperative that the Church take the lead in
building an awareness of this situation, and offer victims a safe place to rediscover their dignity
and self-worth. As we contemplate acts of mercy as a diocese, I cannot think of a more
vulnerable, needy group to serve.
Catholic Charities is seeking to partner with agencies with expertise in rescuing victims
of trafficking in order to develop best practices for our programs. We are also looking for other

local partnerships, continued Mr. Fernandez. We hope to mobilize the projected 700,000
Catholics in the East Bay so that together, we can shine a light on the epidemic of human
trafficking. Together, we can be the hand of hope.
About the Diocese of Oakland: The Diocese of Oakland serves 84 parishes and an estimated
Catholic population projected over 700,000 in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The
Catholic Church throughout the diocese offers a range of service ministries assisting the elderly,
the young, the poor, and the oppressed. For more information, visit
www.oakdiocese.org/diocese.
About Catholic Charities of the East Bay: Catholic Charities of the East Bay (CCEB) is a
social services agency headquartered in Oakland, California. In the last fiscal year, Catholic
Charities has served over 14,820 residents of Alameda and Contra Costa County through our
array of services. For more information, visit www.cceb.org.
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