Human Trafficking continues to be a major core initiative of NCJW and for our Section. Trafficking is a form of modern day slavery and impacts all races, genders, ages, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. It involves the use of force, fraud, abduction, sexual exploitation, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. The Polaris Project, a nonprofit agency whose purpose is to combat human trafficking, states that “human trafficking is the fastest growing and 3rd largest organized criminal activity behind only drug and arms trade.” According to the International Labor Organization, it is a multi-billion dollar industry and a significant number of sex trafficking victims within the U.S. are U.S. Citizens.
Sadly, Florida ranks third in the country in having one of the highest incidences in human trafficking, with California and Texas being first and second. NCJW is committed on both the national and local level, to educate and make people aware of this critical issue specifically since the Council’s mission is “to strive for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children and families and to safeguard the rights and freedoms for all.”
During 2017-2018, our Human Trafficking program, under the umbrella of NCJW’s Advocacy Program, expanded beyond our expectations. Our accomplishments include: developing partnerships with community coalitions; such as the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. More opportunities are underway and will be announced in the fall. Scripts and power point presentations were created to match specific audiences and age groups such as adults at the Braden Library and for teens at the Girl Scouts. A two week exhibit was on display at the Selby Library, including a presentation where a victim shared her story.
The HT Program also disseminates lip balms with the Hot Line Number in both English and Spanish with the words “There is Hope” along with handouts that contain useful information to share at different presentations and fairs. Our program has two films designed for specific age appropriate groups: The Chosen is a video for teenagers and I Am Little Red is an animated video geared for children between the ages of 11-14. These videos are presented by our trained volunteers who are also prepared to respond to sensitive questions and issues.
For 2018-19, the HT Program plans to continue to meet the community requests by expanding its efforts to reach out to more schools, Boys/Girls Clubs, places of worship, libraries, camps, Kiwanis Club and more. Anyone interested in becoming a part of this vital program should contact Vivian Carasso, Co-Chair at
917-365-5238, firstname.lastname@example.org and Evie Batten, Co-chair, 330-421-9553,