Monday, July 14, 2014

Human Trafficking - Make it Personal

Thank you My Colorado View for sharing about the importance of trafficking - As citizens we must act  - It is our Communities, our Future.

There has been a tremendous amount of conversation in the media about Human Trafficking. The release of the State Department’s 2014Trafficking in Person’s Report and the FBI’s summary of Operation Cross County success has brought this to light and has been in the media during the last two weeks. To many people’s disbelief plenty of conversations are happening about the trafficking that is taking place here in Colorado. Yes, in Colorado. Recent arrests have taken place in Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Denver and Pueblo.
I often get the question about how I personally got involved in this issue. I give credit to my daughter Chelsea for enlightening me on the topic and revealing the horrors of trafficking after she attended a youth conference seven years ago. My first step was educating myself on the subject and then taking a stance that I had to do something, anything really. Shortly after my awakening to the issue, I began to meet like-minded concerned citizens and the Human Trafficking Task of Southern Colorado was formed and led by our fearless leader Betty Edwards.
What is Human Trafficking? You might see it referenced as Modern Day Slavery. That is true; some state the fact that there are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The US State Department states, “The United States government considers trafficking in persons to include all of the criminal conduct involved in forced labor and sex trafficking, essentially the conduct involved in reducing or holding someone in compelled service.”
What can you do today to make an impact?
Education: Become familiar with the facts about trafficking. I will warn you once you start pealing back the layers this is not a pretty subject, so prepare yourself. You will either be moved in one or two ways. Moved to take action or remain motionless in disbelief.
If you see something that looks suspicious the best thing you can do is report it. Give as much information as possible so law enforcement personnel and others can act upon it. Volunteers monitor the Colorado hotline 24/7. We often suggest that you keep the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking (CoNEHT) at 1-866-455-5075 stored in your phone and if you travel have the National Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 available. The National Hotline also has a text option; text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733). We often warn people not to put on their super woman capes and go in for the rescue, let the professionals take care of that. However, your eyes and ears in your community can make a difference. Use your intuition, if does not “look” right, it probably is not.
Be an ethical consumer and employer. Find out how your actions can contribute to or reduce the demand for human trafficking. There are wonderful businesses’ along the Front Range of Colorado that sell products made by survivors. Buy locally and support small businesses. This just makes good common sense and helps business entrepreneurs.
During the 2014 Legislation Season, Colorado House Bill 14-1273 was passed with cooperation and sponsorship from both sides of the aisle. Imagine that, successful bipartisan conversation. The new legislation allows Colorado to take a stronger stance on trafficking. The bill focused on adding relevant language for protecting victims, prevention and persecution.
Bottom line make it personal.

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