By J. C. Vega
On Saturday, August 5, the event “First Saturday Brunch and Learn” occurred at Saint Helen Catholic Church. Saint Helen Church is located at 5510 West Cholla St, Glendale, AZ, 85304.
Following mass, the event started with a delightful potluck. Most of the audience of approximately 70 people were women, with only about 5 of them men.
With all the buzz of the newly released movie “The Sound of freedom” bringing attention to the topic of human trafficking, I sat in anticipation of the human trafficking presentation scheduled at 10 AM. As I entered the event, Arizona Life Coalition and Silent No More had informative booths set up.
The main event was the presentation done by Phoenix Dream Center, an organization I didn’t know existed and wasn’t aware of prior to this event. This organization was presented by Joana Shipe and Shauna Sexton. Phoenix Dream Center is a human trafficking rescue residential organization, and they generously provided knowledge on human trafficking and keeping your family safe.
What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is best defined as the unlawful act of transporting or coercing people in order to benefit from their work or service, typically in the form of forced labor or sexual exploitation.
This begs the question: Why should I care? Because it’s happening. Because you’re human and you should care when people suffer. Because some victims are children, and chances are you have one or know one. Even if you don’t have children, you can participate in their protection by passing this information on and creating awareness of this problem.
Although the Sound of Freedom blockbuster film portrays human trafficking as kidnapping, Phoenix Dream Center explained that in actuality these are rare, and the residents they rescue are few and far between kidnapping victims. Most victims are close with their traffickers, who have methodically and carefully groomed their victims’ trust to the point of coercion and normalizing sexual exploitation. They use the victim’s vulnerability to gather information and gain trust until they reach the capability to maintain control.