Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Human Trafficking in the Headlines

Human trafficking continues to be reported in the local and regional news.  A survey of the recent headlines upends the misguided notions that slavery ended long ago and that humans are not for sale right here in our local communities. These stories deliver a huge wake-up call for those who may be unaware, and they illustrate the ever-growing need for survivor aftercare.  Here are the recent trafficking stories from the past three months…

Arrests Made in Local Sex Trafficking Ring The Boston Globe, Oct. 18, 2012
Just as I was writing this blog post, three arrests were made on charges of human trafficking and prostitution at massage parlors located in Wellesley and Revere. Click on the title link above to read the full story of this latest investigation in the Boston area.

More Girls from Maine Forced into Sex TradeThe Bangor Daily News, Oct 5, 2012
This article indicates that Portland, Maine is “a destination for people looking for girls to traffic,” according to Portland Police Sgt. Tim Ferris. “Traffickers will come up from Atlantic City, Boston and New York and essentially trick these girls into working for them.”
The report explains that trafficking survivor aftercare facilities are non-existent in New England. Read the cogent and articulate words from Auburn, Maine Police Chief Phillip Crowell:
 “Regular overnight homeless shelters aren’t equipped to protect the women from being found by their traffickers, and aside from putting the women in jail cells, law enforcement officers can do little to officially protect them unless they’re witnesses in a prosecution.”
Crowell said more specialized safe houses, counseling and rehabilitation programs are needed before police and social workers can make a significant dent in the growing problem.“But until we can provide wraparound services, and come alongside someone like this and say, ‘We have opportunities for you to get away from this lifestyle that are safe,’ it’s tough,” he continued. “[Without those assurances], if we say, ‘Come testify or give a statement against this person who’s been pimping you,’ she won’t step away from that. If you look at comprehensive services for victims of human trafficking around New England, we just don’t have that.”

More recent stories from the Boston area…

These headlines continue to accumulate while human lives hang in the balance. The need is real; the need is great; and Amirah is working tirelessly to fill this void in survivor aftercare. Amirah's referral partners (local law enforcement and other social service agencies) affirm this dire local need, and it's likely that Amirah’s first safe home will be full soon after it opens.

Please join us. Together we can open Amirah's doors and begin the work of healing and restoration for trafficking survivors in the Greater Boston and New England areas. Consider becoming a monthly donor. Even $5 per month will bring us closer to opening.

Let’s not watch the headlines continue to accumulate; let’s act.  

Jodi is a stay-at-home mom and passionate supporter of Amirah. 

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