FREE Workshop, Saturday, March 30
By Sheri L. Stuart, Staff Writer
A local church is working to combat human trafficking in Genesee County. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, it is commonly regarded as the second largest criminal enterprise after drugs. Human trafficking affects every community in Michigan across age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic backgrounds. In response, Christ The King Catholic Church’s Council of Catholic Women (CCW), Peace & Justice Commission, The Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary, and Of Impact are sponsoring a human trafficking workshop at Christ The King Catholic Church, 1811 Seymour Ave. in Flint. The workshop, entitled “Real Talk”, is designed to educate the Genesee County community of the human trafficking crisis and to provide awareness, prevention techniques and resources and assistance for individuals that are suspected of being victims to this crime. Joyce Haskett, a human trafficking survivor, is the keynote speaker. Other presenters include, Janeen Riegle and Pastor Christina Tipton of the Genesee County Human Trafficking Taskforce and a Michigan State Trooper.
The workshop will be held Saturday, March 30 from 1p.m. to 4 p.m. at Christ The King Catholic Church, 1811 Seymour Ave. in Flint. The workshop is FREE with lunch provided. The cost is $20 for nurses who are interested in Continuing Education Units (CEUs). The workshop is open to ages 11 and up.
For further information and/or reservations, contact: Pamela Hawkins: (810) 407-4037 or Joyce Hitchye: (810) 835-6785.
Human Trafficking – Who’s at Risk?
Trafficking victims don’t have a profile. It can happen to anyone. Trafficking occurs to adults and minors from all backgrounds, rural and urban cities, and those who are citizens or non-citizens. There are certain populations that are specifically vulnerable to trafficking, however.
Runaway youth are often vulnerable and will be approached by traffickers at shelters, transportation hubs, and any other public space. Being around unfamiliar environments may lead teenagers to be manipulated by traffickers.
Another at-risk population are individuals who have experienced violence and trauma in the past. Those who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, war, or social discrimination may be targeted by traffickers. Traffickers can often recognize those who are vulnerable and detect former abuse.
Identifying Human Trafficking
There are some common places where human trafficking can occur. These locations could be strip clubs, massage parlors, nail salons, factories, hotels, brothels, and prostitution rings. Victims are often isolated from the public, have no control of their own money, under constant threat of violence or shame, and often in fear. If you believe that you have come into contact with a victim, call 855-444-3911. If the suspected victim is in imminent danger call 9-1-1
If you know a victim or if you are suspicious of human trafficking that is going on, there are resources available for you. Victims of trafficking may have to deal with many issues such as severe trauma, shelter, legal issues, financial safety, and medical needs.
National Human Trafficking Hotline:
Phone Number: 1-888-373-7888
You can also go on their website and access a live resource chat.
The Hope Project
This program helps young female victims of trafficking by giving them a place to rehabilitate and help them address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects that can help them lead to recovery. They are in the process of opening a home in West Michigan for teenage girls who have been removed from sex trafficking.
Michigan Abolitionist Project
This organization focuses on education and engagement in order to eradicate human trafficking. They believe that by ending pornography, intercept potential online sex buyers, and by educating offenders (those that have been convicted of soliciting a prostitute), human trafficking can be reduced.
Hope Against Trafficking
Hope Against Trafficking is located in Southeast Michigan and focuses on adult female survivors of sex and labor trafficking. Their goal is to educate survivors of their rights, provide physical, emotional, and psychological help, and offer education, job skill development, and goal setting. They hope to empower women to build new lives and to build a community that can help with healing.