Salem Heights Sisters gain awareness about human trafficking

Left, Sheila Crane, chairwoman of Abolition Ohio’s speaker’s bureau, delivered the informative presentation to the Sisters; right, Sheila Crane, Colleen Kammer and Sister Ceil Taphorn. Michelle Bodine photos

Since 2010, by presidential proclamation, January has been designated as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the United States. The Sisters at Salem Heights attended a presentation on human trafficking on January 9, to better understand the $150 billion-a-year global trafficking industry (labor and sex), learn national and state facts and understand how young people get caught up in the web of trafficking.

The chairwoman of Abolition Ohio’s speaker’s bureau, Sheila Crane, delivered the informative presentation. She told the 18 Sisters in attendance that the average age of young people entering the trafficking industry is 12-14 years. They are courted by “groomers” who can be older children themselves who gain the trust of the victim until they secure them through drug addiction, coercion or other methods. Over 1,000 Ohio teens are estimated to be trafficked for sex.

Some good news in the fight against human trafficking came at the end of 2018. Congress and President Trump reauthorized the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which provides resources to combat and prosecute trafficking crimes and respond to victimization. And in Ohio, child marriage, a vehicle for some young people to enter into trafficking, was banned after the passage of House Bill 511. Ohio joins 32 other states that have set a minimum marriage age.

Story by Colleen Kammer

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