JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL-TV) – Around 200 people attended a workshop in Johnson City on how to recognize human trafficking this morning.
Dave Rogers of the international group Hope For Justice conducted the session at the Christian Life Center at Munsey United Methodist Church. Hope For Justice is an international charity working around the United States and the world to bring attention to the problem of human trafficking.
There are an estimated 20.9 million modern day slaves in the world today. Hope For Justice trains frontline people across the United States, like law enforcement officers, social workers, healthcare workers, child protective services and community organizations that serve the vulnerable populations to spot the signs of human trafficking.
“Dave Rogers is here today to train them on what is human trafficking, what are the signs, how do you recognize it and what do you do about it,” Organizer Judy Markwood said, “We have people that have come from Greeneville, Surgoinsville, Elizabethton, Bristol, of course, Johnson City. Professionals, they are from all walks of life.”
Human trafficking is not just people being used for prostitution, they can be used as forced labor and in domestic situations as well. There were healthcare personnel, social workers, law enforcement and other agencies at this training workshop.
Markwood added, “It has certainly opened my eyes,it is a lot more than just prostitution for example, so I think everyone is finding this workshop to be extremely valuable.”
Hope For Justice’s approach is two fold. First, their licensed specialists investigate cases and rescue survivors of sex trafficking, forced labor and domestic servitude. They work with and also independently from, law enforcement and other partners as each case requires. Second, they assist law enforcement with prosecutions to hold traffickers accountable.
“He mentioned that a good synonym for human trafficking is slavery, so that it is not just involving sex, it can involve labor,”, Markwood said, “That was what was the eye opener for me, when I realized how much of this is going on world wide and even specifically here in our area.”
For more information on their mission, visit Hope For Juistice’s website at.http://hopeforjustice.org.
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