Branch Study Series on Combating Human Trafficking (HT)
In September 2016, a small group of members began a study series to focus on statistics, resources and legislative initiatives to enable us to take effective actions in the war against HT. The group began by viewing informational videos produced by Gail Hambleton, Vice President of the Global Peace Foundation-USA. Following the viewings over a course of two meetings, we brain stormed ways in which we could heighten awareness in our communities and schools. Additionally State Delegate Jennifer Boysko attended our third meeting and alerted us to proposed legislation, Senate Bill No. 828 that State Senator Wexton along with co-sponsors has submitted for the upcoming General Assembly. This bill focuses on family life education curriculum related to the prevention, recognition and awareness of child abduction, child abuse, child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse to be taught in grades K through 12. Although the language does not specifically cite HT as a target, we have communicated our support of the bill to Senator Wexton and have asked that there be a consideration of alternative language addressing the educational efforts in the context of HT. Several members of our group attended the State Lobby Day and there was a concerted effort to make sure that our HT legislative priorities are on the agenda. We are also aware of a State Senator considering legislation addressing robust safe houses in cases of HT.
One of the group members has met with Fairfax County Police Dept. Detective Bill Wolfe who is the sole resource in this area pursuing HT cases to understand the criminalization of HT victims.
There are many opportunities for us to make small inroads that hopefully will lead to more impactful outcomes. Thanks to Marion Stillson, our meeting host, Mary and Al Zane, Judy Skirbunt, Cyndi Shanahan, Roberta Sherman and Judi Polizzotti for their time and efforts.
What can I do to help?
- Donation information to support Shelter House.
- To report, find services, or request training, one can contact 18883737888, the toll-free 24/7 National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline, communicating in more than 200 languages. The NHTRC is a non-profit, non-governmental organization working exclusively on the issue of human trafficking.
- Human Trafficking action sheet Information Resources:
- AAUW: Quick Facts on Human Trafficking
- Fairfax County Public Schools Video: Tricked: Inside the World of Teen Sex Trafficking (Note caveats on age appropriateness for viewing)
- Polaris Project: Recognizing the Signs
- Twenty Ways You Can Help (includes red flags, awareness training, hotlines to get help and more)