Human Trafficking Community Awareness Program

By Allan Jamail

May, 20, 2023 – Saturday morning President Debra Johnson and Chairwoman Adrian Stephens of the East Harris Chambers Liberty County Alumnae Chapter (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated) had a public forum on human trafficking. The event was well attended by women, men and young adult teens at the Fellowship of Purpose church on Wallisville Road.

Alisha Kent Norman, President Elect, began the event by introducing the two moderators, Ms. Kachelle Kelly and DJ Supastar. The panelists were, Ms. Shani Bacy, Dr. Nissi Hamilton, Dr. Juanae Johnson, and Ms. Marion Reed.

The moderators alternated questions to each of the panelists, and they then gave a thorough answer that provided the audience with lots of helpful information on how to prevent them or a family members from becoming a trafficking victim. The audience attendees were allowed to ask the panelists questions regarding specific issues they wanted addressed.

Adrian Stephens, Chairwoman of the Chapter’s Human Trafficking Program, closed the meeting with praises and thanks to the attendees, moderators, panelists and all those who helped with the event and the sponsors of handout materials, and the lunch with refreshments. Everyone received a free gift swag tote back with lots of helpful literature and home necessities.

Often human traffickers will meet their victims on the growing social media internet platforms. They start by chatting with small talk at first to get the victim comfortable with them and to gain the trust of their victim. Some vulnerable teens become legitimately dissatisfied with their home life and want to get out of it. A cunning trafficker can sense this through chatting and make false promises of rescuing their victim by promising a better life. Parents need to let their kids know these tactics, but more importantly parents need to investigate their kids messaging cell phone usage. A responsible parent will demand to check into their kid’s cell phones records.

Predators of school age children victims can meet through a recruiter who’s a classmate who’ll introduce them to the trafficker who’ll then offer them a better home life. Parents need to know everything about their children’s school friends that they associate with.

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States where its reached epidemic proportion and spreading like a disease.

It can happen in the North Channel area and in any community across the world. Victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Each trafficker might use different methods to lure victims into trafficking situations.

Statistics show traffickers sometimes use violence, manipulation, false promises of well paying jobs, romantic relationships and other techniques.

Because of language barriers, and/or fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement it can frequently keep victims from seeking help, thus making it a hidden crime.

Traffickers look for victims who are easy targets whether a citizen of the United States or some other country for a variety of reasons, including: psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardships, lack of a social safety net, natural disasters and/or political instability.

Child trafficking victims, whether for labor, sex or organ trafficking, come from all backgrounds, include both boys and girls. They span a wide age range from 1 to 18 years old. Sex trafficking victims up to roughly 25 years old most often started as young as 14. Children are trafficked out of or into the United States from all regions of the world and represent a variety of different races, ethnic groups and religions. They may be brought to the U.S. legally or smuggled in.

Trafficked children can be lured to the U.S. through the promise of school or work and promised the opportunity to send money back to their families. Children are also vulnerable to kidnappers, pimps, and professional brokers. Some children are even sold to traffickers by their families, who may or may not have an understanding of what will happen to the child. U.S. born children are also trafficked within the U.S., coming from any racial group, socio-economic background, and come from or trafficked within both city and rural areas.

In 2012 the (UNODC) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports the percentage of child victims had risen in a 3 year span from 20 per cent to 27 per cent. Of every three child victims, two are girls and one is a boy.

Gender and age profile of victims detected globally: 59% Women, 14% Men, 17% Girls, and 10% Boys. 600,000 to 800,000 women, children and men bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited for forced labor or commercial sex. (Source: U.S. Government)

To report suspected human trafficking, call 1-866- 347-2423. Para reportar un posible caso de trata de personas: 1-866-347-2423.

To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, call 1-888-373-7888, or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733). Obtenga ayuda de la Línea Directa Nacional de Trata de Personas: 1-888-373-7888, o enviando un mensaje de texto con HELP o INFO a BeFree (233733).