Mission: Rescue victims of human trafficking

By Sue Anderson 

The number of juveniles, both girls and boys, entrapped in human trafficking is growing in the United States, and Kansas is not immune.  Libby Adams, representing the Topeka Rescue Mission, brought this powerful message to members and guests of the Osage County Republican Women last week at the group’s regular business meeting held June 6, 2019, at the Lyndon Community Building.

Adams emphasized that most citizens are unfamiliar with the signs of human trafficking and don’t realize it can happen in our own communities. Yet, it is citizens themselves that can help by reporting unusual or suspicious activities to local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 888-373-7888.

Unlike a drug commodity that can be sold only once, Adams said, a person entrapped becomes a commodity of trafficking and can be sold again and again, thus being more profitable for the trafficker. It is estimated that human trafficking is a $150 billion per year industry. The traffickers are driven by money, and they use force, fraud or coercion to increase their profits.

Adams presented an overview of not only the situations of those exploited, but also steps being implemented to disrupt the trafficking networks and restore hope to the thousands ensnared. On the local level, this includes facilitating human trafficking awareness training, and enabling volunteers with training to be of assistance to those who escape or are rescued from trafficking rings.

In 2014, the Topeka Rescue Mission started a program called Restore Hope. It provides mentor advocates to come alongside victims as a means of one-to-one support. Also, a safe trauma-based community residential home serves women as an exit ramp out of trafficking and focuses on providing stabilization and restoration. The program reaches out in love to the victims of human trafficking.

Over the past five years, there have been more than 450 referrals made to Topeka Rescue Mission regarding persons who were or suspected of being trafficked. Adams pointed out that traffickers are difficult to spot. They can be a next door neighbor, employer, friend or acquaintance, professionals, or others. For that reason, there is a growing effort to educate citizens to be alert for the signs of trafficking.

To learn more about this issue and how you can train to be on the alert for signs of possible human trafficking, contact Topeka Rescue Mission Ministries at 785-354-1744 or email [email protected].

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