Washtenaw County child abuse prevention agency prompts discussion on human trafficking
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MICHIGAN – Washtenaw Area Council for Children, the county’s child abuse prevention agency, will be holding a discussion about human trafficking and how it might be affecting local children.
Between 100,000 to 300,000 children are at risk each year for commercial sexual exploitation in the U.S., according to an Estes and Weiner study.
“Please join us March 3 for an important discussion about this insidious and growing concern,” according to a statement from the Washtenaw Area Council for Children. “Awareness of the commercial sexual exploitation of children and its potential reach within our community will help us all in our work to keep the children of Washtenaw safe and sound.”
The “Removing the Blinders” discussion will be from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 3, at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s Teaching and Learning Center at 1819 Wagner Road in Scio Township.
It is free to attend and a continental breakfast is provided, but those who wish to come are asked to RSVP on Eventbrite at eventbrite.com/event/15632487190.
“Whether you call it human trafficking, sex slavery or prostitution; the commercial sexual exploitation of minors is something we all need to be aware of as potentially happening right under our noses, within our own community,” according to the Washtenaw Area Council for Children.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the county agency says human trafficking has become the second fastest growing criminal industry – just behind drug trafficking – with children accounting for roughly half of all victims.
The FBI calls it the fastest-growing type of organized crime.
The Washtenaw Area Council for Children has identified some indicators a child is vulnerable and easy prey for traffickers and exploiters:
- Being a female between the ages of 12 and 14
- A history of sexual and physical abuse
- Child welfare involvement, especially out-of-home foster care placement
- Being a runaway or homeless youth
- Living in an impoverished community
- Disconnection from education system and off-track for achievement
- Substance dependency
Panelists expected at the March 3 discussion includes: Lisa Markman, M.D., University of Michigan Health Systems child protection team; Det. Thomas Boivin, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office; Emily Schuster-Wachsberger, local council coordinator for the Children’s Trust Fund of MI and co-author of Michigan child sex trafficking protocol; Peg Talburtt, chief executive of the Lovelight Foundation and a member of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force.
For more information, call the Washtenaw Area Council for Children office at 734-434-4215 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.