Awareness training concerning the prevention of human trafficking was held at The Salvation Army located from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26. This event was free to the public to convey some insight upon what can, and should, be done to put this issue to rest.
The Salvation Army has been leading the charge of this issue for over 150 years.
Human trafficking refers to the illegal trade or sale of human beings for sexual exploitation or forced labor through abduction, the use or threat of force, deception and fraud. It knows no gender, race, age, or even countries due to globalization.
Human trafficking is one of today's most egregious human rights violations. It is a modern-day form of slavery, which millions of people worldwide are subjected to it.
Florida Division Anti-Trafficking coordinator Dotti Groover-Skipper, explained why she’s an advocate for victims’ rights and restoration.
“I have been advocating for many years in this industry. When victims are rescued, I surround them with services that can be provided such as mental health counseling, medical services and substance abuse treatment. I’m there to support them as they get their life back together,” Skipper said.
According to the Salvation Army, Florida is one of the prime destinations spots for human trafficking because of its many airports, military bases, weather, theme parks etc. It gives traffickers the opportunity to reach their goal.
Chelsea Mack, FAMU social work graduate student, provided some tips of ways that student organizations on campus can come together to advocate.
“As students, it’s a necessity that we advocate and educate others to mainly see human trafficking for what it is. Reaching out to lawmakers and making them understand that children are the future, and we need to protect them,” Mack said.
According to a pamphlet given out at the awareness training, social media in today’s society is the No. 1 way to kids being trafficked. It is a prime place for stalkers and sex offenders. There are many layers of how human trafficking is started. Most traffickers are working for themselves, gaining family profits or have been exploited themselves.
Graciela Marquina, Human Rights program director, expounded upon her thoughts about her experience dealing with survivors.
“I was privileged to interview survivors of human trafficking in the Miami area. My interest started when I tried to understand and get all the details of what happens in their daily lives before and after they were a victim,” Marquina said. “What I want to do is establish a coalition for people who are coming from the South and Central America areas. They are very vulnerable and will need awareness.”
The Salvation Army and Big Bend Coalition are against human trafficking and is deeply committed to fighting against however it may be manifested.
Find out more information at www.salvationarmy.org/ihq/antitrafficking