TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition is doing a series of seminars throughout the month to educate the public about human trafficking.
The coalition is hosting four free Human Trafficking 101 presentations on Zoom this month. The seminars will go over what human trafficking is, what it looks like in our area, who is fighting against it here, and how you can get involved.
According to the coalition’s co-chair, Sandy Sieben, human trafficking is often thought of as someone approaching you in a dark alley late at night and kidnapping you, but that’s not the reality. In actuality, 90-95% of all human trafficking happens at the hands of someone you know.
“Those who are recruiting for trafficking, they look like you, they walk like you, and they talk like you,” says Sieben. “They’re going to know what your interests are, they’re going to know what makes you smile. And that’s what will lead you to them and lead them to you. And then it becomes a relationship, and then it turns into trafficking.”
People also tend to associate human trafficking with child sex trafficking, but that’s only one small piece of what trafficking is. People of any age, gender, or sexual orientation can be a victim, and sex is not always involved. People can be labor trafficked, when they’re forced to work for little or no pay with no chance of escape. That can be common in our area.
“We have young kids that are selling drugs, maybe small quantities at first, and then they’re forced to sell larger and larger quantities, and very quickly they’re deeper into the selling of drugs than they ever wanted to be, and they don’t have an easy way out,” says Sieben.
Presentations are taking place on January 11 at noon and 6 p.m., January 14 at 6 p.m., January 19 at 10 a.m., and January 30 at 10 a.m.
You can join the presentations at this link.
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