In 2007, the U.S. Senate declared Jan. 11 National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Yesterday, a crowd of about 100 concerned citizens and community leaders met at City Hall to reaffirm their commitment to stop human trafficking in the Sacramento region.
Unfortunately, it’s an issue that plagues Sacramento. You can learn about two recent cases here and here.
What’s more, the city was one of six recently chosen to form a new federal task force to better coordinate and tackle the issue. From the Sacramento Bee …
“Sacramento was selected based on the commitment to identifying, investigating and prosecuting forced labor, international sex trafficking and adult sex trafficking; the prevalence or suspected existence of these types of trafficking in the Sacramento area; and the cooperation among various law enforcement agencies and the U.S. attorney’s office to combat human trafficking, according to a news release.”
The crowd included local advocacy groups Opening Doors, Inc., Courage Worldwide and My Sister’s House, as well as community leaders Asm. Jim Cooper, mayoral candidate Darrell Steinberg, Metro Chamber President Peter Tateishi and Sacramento City Councilmember/mayoral candidate Angelique Ashby.
Ashby presented a resolution on behalf of the City Council to declare January 11 Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and a woman named Holly shared her survivor story of being swept into prostitution at the age of fourteen.
This isn’t an issue we’re going to regulate, legislate or arrest away. Stricter prosecution and penalties will help, but ultimately community collaboration and a lack of demand will help win the day. We need to help those suffering access help and speak up when we see something. It’s also critically important to support survivors so they can rebuild their lives. From counseling to housing to employment, it can be a long road home for victims of these atrocious crimes.
Want to help? Check out the following regional resources:
- Bridget’s Dream is Sacramento’s first survivor-led group that provides trauma-informed support to victims and their families.
- Courage Worldwide provides homes for victims and services, as well as a litany of collaborations and services.
- My Sister’s House IDs/empowers Asian and Pacific Islander victims, and they host an annualconference.
- Opening Doors, Inc. helps survivors achieve self-sufficiency by accessing opportunities to mainstream economic and social systems.
- Sacramento Rescue and Restore works to ID victims and get them connected to regional services.
- Sacramento Together is an umbrella group of law enforcement, state and local public agencies, and community-based organizations.
- WEAVE, Inc. provides crisis intervention, emergency response, counseling, residential and resource referral services.