Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Human Trafficking in NC

Are the days of slavery really over?
Or is slavery just wearing a different outfit now?

Human trafficking is no longer something that happens "somewhere else" but is going on right here in North Carolina.  In fact, NC is now in eighth place in the US in number of cases reported. (That puts us in the top ten, Folks!) Trafficking victims have been reported in Greensboro, Charlotte, Greenville, Raleigh, and Durham. That brings it pretty close to home for us here in the Chapel Hill/ Carrboro area.

Senator Ellie Kinnaird, our former mayor of Carrboro, (we are so proud of her!) sponsored the first anti-human trafficking law in our state in 2006. She is currently working to raise awareness at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

An estimated 18,000 to 20, 000 victims of  human trafficking are in the US today.
The US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines human trafficking as;

"the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or commercial sex services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery."

Last year NC became one of the first states to introduce mandatory training in human trafficking for law enforcement. NC Coalition Against Human Trafficking, or NCCHAT, (shouldn't that be NCCAHT?) and the Carolina Women's Center pushed for and provided training sources for this effort.

Last August the Salvation Army of Wake County opened its anti-human trafficking program, and since then have worked on 19 cases assisting victims. They still have a heavy case load.

What can we do to help? Glad you asked! First we should learn what human trafficking looks like, and how to read the warning signs. For that we have Polaris Project.

Learn how we can take action.

And here is the Polaris Hotline, a toll-free number to call for more info, training, or to report a case.

Special Thanks to;
Amanda Keener - news correspondent
Andrew Castle - director for World Relief Durham
Claire Chu - spokesperson for Polaris
for calling the news to our attention, and providing us with this information

Here are some more news stories you may want to see.