(photo source: Orange County Sheriff’s Office)
A group of over 120 people attended the 2019 Human Trafficking Education Seminar a few weeks ago, where O.U.R. Aftercare Director Jessica Mass presented.
Sheriff Charles Blackwood and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office assembled this training for various law enforcement officers, social workers, school nurses, youth pastors, school counselors, and many more integral community members that interface with youth and survivors.
Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy George Wilson, event organizer, said, “Human trafficking is a complex, insidious, often misunderstood problem. We created this opportunity to bring people together to learn from each other and to collectively engage in creative brainstorming about how we can better intervene at all levels to help people caught in the web of human trafficking.”
Jessica Mass shared important preventative information about trafficker’s recruiting methods and potential risk factors for children. She discussed the resilience of survivors that she has met in aftercare. Mass believes in hope for every single child. “I think one of the most powerful things that we can do for victims and survivors is when government and nongovernment agencies start to work together,” Mass said. “When we are more unified, survivors and victims are best served.”
We are incredibly grateful to work with law enforcement to educate communities about this prevalent problem. It is our hope that this training will help those that interact with children recognize when someone may need help. Health and physical education teacher, Brittany Thompson, said, “It makes me look at my job through a different lens. I am looking forward to bringing this information to children to help them learn to stay healthy and safe.”
The collaboration between the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s Human Trafficking Unit, and the presenters created a hopeful, motivating discussion space about a difficult, important topic. We believe that together with law enforcement, we can put an end to human trafficking.
Put the National Human Trafficking Hotline in your phone, you never know who it could help rescue.