Dear Everyone: You’re Invited to the Trafficking in America Conference

Everyone who can attend is welcome to go to the 4th Annual Trafficking in America Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. It’s taking place July 16–18.

Human right word on book

Why should you be interested in this?

Because human trafficking is on the rise, and the more we learn about it, the more we learn that it’s happening right in our own neighborhoods—not just in far-away countries where water is dirty, violence is rampant, and flesh is a commodity.

Flesh is a commodity everywhere. It always has been. And US citizens have always been quick to capitalize on a commodity. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but other times . . . not so much. To think human trafficking isn’t happening in the US is naïve.

If you want to learn about the realities of human trafficking from as many direct sources and angles as possible, the Trafficking in America Conference is the place to be. You’ll hear from survivors, law enforcement agents, activists, and countless people who have collectively put in thousands of hours of research and work on the subject.

And you’ll learn how you can best help.

Registration is open to everyone, but they’re especially targeting high school and college students, youth leaders, ministers, and parents.

This year’s topic is “Restoring Humanity from Modern Day Slavery.” They’ll be discussing topics like:

  • Human trafficking 101
  • Poverty, homelessness, and prevention
  • Survivor protection
  • Labor trafficking
  • Trafficking in the military
  • Trafficking in the trucking industry
  • Preventing violence against women
  • Reducing the demand for forced prostitution
  • Gang and cartel involvement

It seems as though they’re really trying to come at this issue from as many angles as possible in a three-day timeframe, and I can’t help but admire that. They’re not just focused on the problem, in all its ugly facets—they’re actively inspiring people to come up with innovative solutions, prevention strategies, and healing services.

The Trafficking in America Task Force, which has put on the event for the past four years, has a summary of the 2013 conference on their website, along with a list of “next steps” they suggest to “create a culture free from slavery.” They humbly say, “While this is a minimal attempt at such a task, it is a start.”

I would argue that almost every individual organization, agency, and action taken to combat human trafficking seems minimal, when taken alone. But together, there’s an ocean of people swelling up to educate the public, and each other, about the horrors of modern day slavery.

There are more slaves today than there ever were at the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and that’s not something we hear about from the media. It falls on people making “minimal attempts” to step up and help others—even if it’s just one survivor at a time. Even one speaker, addressing one topic, at one conference, in one city is important.

I especially like this year’s conference topic—“Restoring Humanity from Modern Day Slavery.” I like the way it doesn’t only focus on victims and survivors as people who need healing. Trafficking is something that affects us all—victims, survivors, perpetrators with broken worldviews, and everyday people who may not realize what’s happening and might even be complicit in ways they don’t understand. (And when I say pimps and perpetrators need healing, that doesn’t mean I feel sorry for them because they’re children of poverty or something. Punishment and justice can play an important role in healing.)

The conference seems to be addressing trafficking as a wound humanity is inflicting on itself—one all of humanity needs to heal from. I agree with that point of view.

“As we work to educate about what human trafficking is, we must simultaneously bring healing to our minds and souls. That is the only way we will defeat human trafficking, modern day slavery.”

That’s from the conference website.

So is this: “Human trafficking affects us all, and all of us can affect human trafficking.”


L. Marrick is a fiction writer and freelance copywriter. 50% of proceeds from her book Working Girl, a memoir of her time working for a professional escort, go to sex trafficking non-profits. She waxes poetic about swords and the Renaissance Faire at her author blog. She looks all professional-like at her copywriting site. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @LMarrick.

© L. Marrick 2014. The content of this article, except for quoted or linked source materials, is protected by copyright. Please contact the author at the above links to request usage.

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