Human trafficking is closer than you think
The first in a quarterly series of community talks called “Unity Responds by Listening, Asking Questions and Taking Action” at Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake was held on Human Trafficking May 11. The next one, to be held on Aug. 10 at 7:00 p.m., is on Body Positivity, which ties in to the low self-esteem felt by people who have been or are in the midst of being trafficked.
Even in affluent suburbs like Westlake and Bay Village, human trafficking is sometimes happening right in front of us without our awareness. Joan Clark, chair of the West Shore Allies Against Human Trafficking and Lois Krebs of Cleveland Swedenborg Chapel told the crowd at Unity that human trafficking is essentially modern-day slavery. In addition to providing ample evidence of the trafficking that is ongoing in Ohio and across the world, they outlined many things that individuals can do to help.
People simply need to accept the reality that it is happening and care enough about other human beings, especially the young and vulnerable, to take simple actions. They said that no one needs to be concerned that they will be drawn into a difficult situation just for reporting a concern to the authorities about a person who might be held against their wishes. The hotlines and resource centers simply need leads and they will take it from there.
In recent years, drug dealers have been transitioning into selling humans rather than drugs because a drug can only be sold once, but a human can be sold over and over in one day. Traffickers can maintain total control over people, who might be restaurant employees working in the back, hotel maids, construction workers, gardeners, juveniles or immigrants. Often illegal immigrants are brought by a trafficker to a place where they can’t speak the language and don’t even know where they are, just so the trafficker can make them do whatever he wants. The traffickers use drug addiction and other inhumane methods to keep people psychologically and physically under their control.
Unity will be happy to email information on how anyone can join in the fight by calling the office during business hours at 440-835-0400 or leaving an email address on the voicemail. Our website, unityspiritualcenter.com, also has information. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline is 1-888-373-7888. More information is also available from the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking at collaborativeinitiative.org.
I am a Board member at Unity Spiritual Center.