By Evie Batten and Vivian Carasso, Co-Chairs
Human Trafficking is a modern form of slavery, with illegal smuggling and trading of people, for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Traffickers use coercion, abduction, force, deception, and abuse to control their victims. It is one of the fastest growing businesses of organized crime, a 150 billion dollar worldwide industry, as reported by the International Labour Organization. The FBI reported that between 2008 and 2010, 83% of sex trafficking victims found within the U.S. were U.S. citizens. Approximately 100,000 American children are at risk of commercial exploitation each year.
Florida ranks third in the country in having one of the highest incidences in human trafficking, with California and Texas being first and second. Since part of NJCW’s mission is to strive for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families, and to safeguard individual rights and freedoms, NCJW is committed, on a national and local level in Florida, to educate and make people aware of the presence of trafficking in our communities. Our Advocacy team has developed a Human Trafficking Program in hopes of helping to eradicate human trafficking.
As of last year, we presented at the Boys and Girls Club, Girl Scouts of America, Braden River Library, Triad and Laurel Civic Association in Nokomis, Fl. We also had a panel discussion at the Jewish Federation. There were four panelists: two sheriffs, Camille Chapman, a representative from Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC), and Concetta Holmes, a representative from Child Protective Services. This summer we were asked to present again at Laurel Civic Association. Our presentation consists of a video narrated by a 17 year old who narrowly escaped being trafficked with a discussion after the video. We provide a display of life-size teen silhouettes, each with a breastplate relating their sad tales and distribute informational cards in English and Spanish on which there is a Hotline number and important facts about Human Trafficking.
The Human Trafficking Program also works with Council’s Legislative Program. On March 29th and 30th 2017, four members representing the Sarasota-Manatee Section joined members from other Florida sections, met with different legislators and their aides during the Tallahassee Advocacy Days for support of SB286, Human Trafficking Education in Public Schools Health Classes.
This coming year we plan to expand our program by presenting at more venues. We have filled out paperwork to present to the Sarasota Board of Education Speaker‘s Bureau and are exploring ways to broaden our base.
Anyone interested in helping may contact, Vivian Carasso, Co-Chair, 917-365-5238, firstname.lastname@example.org and Evie Batten, Co-Chair, 330-421-9553, email@example.com