So, I get scared. Sometimes I get really scared about the actions of Human Traffickers, even in Northeast Ohio. Whether it is someone sharing that Summit Mall is a target area for buying and selling those in sex trafficking, or hearing about the important work that Rahab Ministries is doing, or even Transform Summit NEO’s strong effort to support the fight against, human sex trafficking is real.
I spent many years thinking “yikes”, and “I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that”. But the truth is, human traffickers can kidnap, they can groom, they can bully or even blackmail kids, teens, and adults. But the truth is, Ohio, being a lovely crossroads between Chicago, New York, and with Interstates radiating in every direction, is a hotbed for this despicable, human degrading…sadness.
Shared Hope is a nationwide organization led by Linda Smith that has made and continues to make a difference in Ohio and nationwide. Not only have they set up a legal framework for states to put legal barriers on traffickers (WHICH MANY STATES HAVE ADOPTED, INCLUDING OHIO) but they also support local and international organizations to bring brave women and girls and boys out of the hell they need to escape.
This year, their national event, the JuST Conference, is in being hosted in Cincinnati, Ohio in October at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Presentations discuss skill-building, trafficking survivor stories, collaboration efforts, government and organizational response, case studies and lessons learned from the front lines.
READ ABOUT THE EVENT HERE.. and I know I’m late.. but Early Bird Registration Ends on June 1st- so sign up now and save a few dollars.
As the title of my article states, really, this is the stuff… you don’t want to know. But as parents, we NEED to be educated.
Besides the courts, counselors, and ministry members that are on the front lines, several professions find value in attending this event. Those in hospitality, healthcare, education, and cosmetology have a huge opportunity, and responsibility to watch for the signs of trafficking.
Speaking with Britt Peck of Shared Hope, the conference organizer, I learned that their content is intended to be either intermediate or advanced- so it’s not some glossy overview of what happens in our streets. But hard information that is actionable.
The conference motto
each person has a role to play in preventing and ending commercial sexual exploitation, and that a collaborative community response is critical.”
Social Workers and Counselors can seek continuing education credits for this event.