On Monday, October 23, a human trafficking survivor from the Sanctum House Sanctuary spoke to students in Mr. Dave Wilson’s Contemporary Social Issues class, bringing awareness to the topic, explaining preventive measures, and answering questions.
“In our class, we cover a lot of topical issues. In our chapter on crime, we do organized crime, which leads us to human trafficking. This topic has always caught my eye as something that is just so under the radar,” Mr. Wilson stated.
Sanctum House Sanctuary is a voluntary, two-year program run by Executive Director Karen Moore for women over 18 who are victims of human trafficking. The program provides trauma-informed healthcare and individualized resources in a safe and secure environment to help survivors build a better future.
“There’s so much misinformation. I just wanted to get more people aware of the truth. I have had the Department of Homeland Security out. The District Attorney’s been out just to get some awareness out so it does not happen to us, and we can prevent it or alert the authorities. It is a heavy topic, but a necessary one,” stated Mr. Wilson.
Human trafficking refers to the use of force, coercion, or fraud for the purpose of exploitation. This may include sex trafficking or forced labor.
According to the University of Michigan’s Human Trafficking Collaborative, the forced labor industry is a $150 billion business, and there are 5.4 victims for every 1,000 people in the world.
For many victims, drug and alcohol dependencies play a crucial role in their trafficking experience.
Sanctum House Sanctuary provides a wide range of resources for survivors, such as:
Healthcare services: Dental and vision care, nutrition support, and fitness guidance
Professional services: Trauma-informed therapy, substance abuse recovery, legal aid, and vocational training
Educational opportunities: Job training skills, life skills, financial literacy, Survivor Leadership training, and Higher Education degree programs
Reintegration: Survivors learn how to rejoin the community and reunite with family through volunteer opportunities, relationship-building skills, and community support
“People want an identifiable – how does this happen? When the attorney was in, she was saying it is hard to fathom because it is not a diamond heist. It happens through so many ways and means, from grooming somebody or friending somebody to, yes, you do get some snatch and grabs. All stories are different,” stated Mr. Wilson.
Mrs. Moore identified vulnerability as a risk factor for victims. She stated it is important to pay attention to friends or other students who may feel alienated or alone. Do they suddenly have a new group of friends? Does something seem off? These are things to pay attention to.
The sanctuary relies on community, educational, and professional partnerships for many of its needs. Donations and gift cards are also greatly appreciated and help residents exercise their independence.
For more information, visit the Sanctuary’s website at www.sanctumhouse.org.