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Stories of Support of Victims of Trafficking.

 

A 2nd Cup in Houston serves coffee as a way to raise awareness about human trafficking.  The chef Marcee (not her real name) helps with a training program for survivors of trafficking.  The culinary skills help these survivors transition into a food industry career.  The program starts with skill development for writing a resume and interviewing.  Then hands-on skills are taught.  The chef considers this exciting program a way to combat human trafficking in the food service industry.
Missouri’s Attorney General investigates the online advertising website Backpage, using a unit in his office tasked with prosecuting human traffickers under the state’s consumer protection laws.  Findings from a U.S. Senate committee investigating Backpage examined 1.1 million pages of documents supplied by Backpage.
Bristol (not her real name) was kidnapped as a 3-year-old child in Kansas and sex trafficked for three years.  She was rescued by law enforcement when she was 6 years old.  Recently, she, her husband, young daughter and approximately 300 more people walked barefoot for a mile through Anchorage, Alaska, to raise awareness about human trafficking.  Three survivors of human trafficking addressed the crowd in Town Square Park.  Other cities have hosted similar 1-mile walks, called “The Barefoot Mile” to raise awareness about human trafficking and in solidarity with impoverished children who are very vulnerable to trafficking.
Peace (not her real name) was rescued from sex trafficking almost five years ago.  She had been moved from city to city, from hotel to hotel.  She now works with other victims of trafficking in North Carolina.   Charlotte, North Carolina provides easy access to major highways and is a focal point in the struggle against human trafficking.  In 2016 181 cases in North Carolina were called in to the National Trafficking Hotline.  This is an increase of 69 cases from the year before.  Newly discovered victims of human trafficking are helped with shelter and counseling about where to find mental health, substance abuse, and trauma care.
Jerome (not his real name) is a truck driver who knew very little about human trafficking.  He pulled into a gas station in Virginia.  A nearby old RV with black curtains was parked near him.  A man approached the RV, knocked, and entered.  Soon a very young woman appeared from behind the curtain and then abruptly disappeared.  Jerome sensed what was going on and immediately called the local sheriff.  Police arrived and ushered away the young woman, followed by a man and a woman in handcuffs.  Jerome gave statements to the police and to the FBI.  Months later, on television news, he saw a sex trafficking victim who had been lured away from her home in Iowa, held against her will, and subjected to torture, sexual assault, and forced prostitution.  He recognized her as the young woman he had seen in the RV.  The Iowa couple who had trafficked her were sentenced to 40 and 42 years in prison.
As a parish priest, Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney, Australia, was approached by a young woman who was a nanny trapped in trafficking.  Her passport was taken, she was not paid, and she could not leave the home without permission.  Fisher contacted police and the church’s welfare agency.  Fisher shared this life situation during a parliamentary inquiry into human trafficking in the Australian state of New South Wales.  Australia is generally an affluent country.  The New South Waves inquiry has heard from several Catholic organizations which advocate against slavery.  One of them Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking (ACRATH) noted that most of the people affected are immigrants who have been lied to by traffickers.  These immigrants are afraid to go to police because of their undocumented status.
Francis (not his real name) is an Uber driver in California.  One evening he picked up two women and a 16-year-old girl.  While driving them to their requested destination, a hotel, he heard their conversation.  The women were instructing the girl about how to interact with “John.”  After Francis dropped off the women, he immediately called the police.  Officers arrived, arrested the two women and “John.”  The girl who was a runaway teen was taken to temporary housing while her family was being located.
Eileen (not her real name) is a flight attendant.  She instinctively felt something was wrong when she noticed a young girl sitting in the window aisle.  This young girl was traveling with a very well dressed man.  Eileen tried to engage them in conversation, and the man became very defensive.  Eileen left a note for the young girl in the bathroom who wrote back to her on the note “I need help.”  Eileen contacted the pilot about the situation.  When the plane landed, police were waiting at the terminal.
Two young women were arrested for prostitution in a town in Iowa.  When the police questioned them, the officers realized the women were trafficked.   Charges against the two young women were dismissed, and their traffickers were arrested.  In northern Illinois two young women under 18 were arrested and charged with prostitution.  States’ attorneys in the Chicago area read about the arrest and informed the arresting officers that they had acted against Illinois law which forbids the arrest of anyone under 18 for prostitution.  The charges were dropped.