January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and at the Charlotte City Council meeting Monday evening, Mayor Jennifer Roberts read a proclamation recognizing the occasion. The proclamation, organized by members of the local Human Trafficking Task Force, is designed to bring awareness in the community of the issue and shine the light on what we can do to address it. Read proclamation here.
Human Trafficking is a form of modern slavery -- a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to millions of people around the world. This includes labor trafficking and sex trafficking, and there is no “typical” victim. It happens to the young or old, man or woman. And, yes, it is happening in Charlotte.
There is no official estimate of the total number of human trafficking victims in the U.S. or here locally. However, there were 5,748 cases in the U.S. reported last year through the National Human Trafficking Hotline. In NC, there were 140 cases.
“In many ways, human trafficking is a hidden problem,” said Deronda Metz, director of social services for The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte. “But, as survivors know we are here to help them, we can provide them with shelter, case management services and most importantly, hope that their lives can be rebuilt.”
The Salvation Army is working alongside other community organizations on the front lines of this battle. Through its Project FIGHT (Freeing Individuals Gripped by Human Trafficking) program, The Salvation Army provides comprehensive case management for survivors of human trafficking found in North Carolina, and works to generate education and awareness about human trafficking in the community. Just recently, through Project FIGHT, we’ve helped house trafficking survivors through our Rapid Rehousing program, as well as working through our partners at Lily Pad Haven.
The best thing we can do in the face of this hidden issue, is to bring it to light. With your help, we can provide freedom to those gripped by human trafficking. And, most importantly, we can provide hope.
How You Can Help
Support financially – Donate here.
- $50 helps replace documents/birth certificates, or purchases a bus pass for a month.
- $100 provides emergency food or clothing
- $500 helps provide transitional housing for a survivor
Host an awareness event in your community, or post on social media about the problem of human trafficking to raise awareness using the hashtag #EndTrafficking
Pray for this issue and those affected by it in our community.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-373-7888 to speak with a specially trained Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocate. Support is provided in more than 200 languages. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. All communication with the hotline is strictly confidential.