Hobart Church of the Nazarene to Host Community Forum on Human Trafficking

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Human trafficking is an epidemic in the United States and NW Indiana is not exempt. The Hobart Church of the Nazarene is hosting a community forum on how we can protect our most vulnerable citizens on January 25 at Hobart Middle School.

Hobart Church of the Nazarene will host a community discussion on human trafficking, sexual slavery and how the local community can make a difference in the lives of individuals who have been sold into slavery. The event will be held on Wednesday, January 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Hobart Middle School Auditorium, 38 East Eight Street in Hobart.

“Human trafficking is a scourge on our society that many in our local community do not realize is happening right in our neighborhoods,” said Rev. Roy Richardson, Pastor of the church. “People are sold every day in our country for sex and forms of indentured servitude and it is happening in our area. These people prey on the vulnerable, and we, as a community, can unite to protect those who are most at risk of falling victim to human traffickers.”

According to statistics from the US Departments of Justice and Homeland Security:

  •     An estimated 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 17,500 of them into the United States. (Statistics extracted from Department of State’s 2008 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.)
  •     Federally funded task forces opened 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010. (US DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics April 2011 Special Report)
  •      About 8 in 10 of the suspected incidents of human trafficking were classified as sex trafficking, and about 1 in 10 incidents were classified as labor trafficking
  •     At any given time, there may be as many as 12.3 million people held in forced labor, including forced sex, situations. (International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates from Department of State’s 2008 TIP Report.)
  •     Traffickers prey on poverty and economic hardship.

The special speakers are Erin Knowles, LCSW, Program Manager with The Salvation Army’s STOP-IT Program and Sgt.Traci Walker with the Chicago Police Department’s Human Trafficking Unit, who will discuss human trafficking in NW Indiana and the Greater Chicago area. The STOP-IT Program provides case management, safety planning, shelter, sustenance, medical, dental and trauma-informed mental health treatment for sex and labor trafficking victims. It also provides criminal justice-based advocacy and specialized educational, literacy and job training services to help victims break free of the psychological barriers that keep them trapped by their traffickers.

“I am excited that we can be part of this process to help the local community understand the scope of the issue, as well as ways they can get involved to help the victims of human trafficking,” said David Evans, Hobart Chief of Police. “Human trafficking isn’t just something that happens in Southeast Asia or the former Soviet Republics. It happens right here in NW Indiana, with the victims coming from our communities. We hope that this presentation will be the beginning of a community conversation that will help us keep traffickers away from our most vulnerable citizens.”

The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25 at the Hobart Middle School. There is no charge for the event and the public is encouraged to attend. For additional information, visit http://www.hobartnaz.com or call 219.942.3551.


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Roy Richardson
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