Human Trafficking Awareness month
January is Human Trafficking Awareness month and Wright State students are speaking out to raise awareness.
Junior Haylie Boehringer works with the local group, which she said aims to educate and bring more attention to efforts to stop human trafficking through several different branches which started independently in 2011. Be Free Dayton has an education sector which teaches classes to young people, to parents and to teachers to raise awareness.
“We go to hotels, strip clubs and those sorts of things to help make our presence known and to help those business on the frontlines in the issue,” said Boehringer. “We help those places recognize when it might be going on.”
Boehringer said Ohio ranks fifth in the nation for human trafficking.
“There are also many places that are considered risk factors and hot spots for these sort of ordeals,” said Boehringer. “Places like truck stops and highways, and especially around the Dayton region we’ve got three college campuses, the air force base and the highway, which are very risky spots. We’re kind of compilation of risk factors.”
Boehringer went on to say that in underage statistics that in there were nearly 3,000 at risk for human trafficking, in 2012 there were between 100 and 150 cases of stranger abduction in the area.
“We have to make sure we teach kids about [the] danger,” said Boehringer.
One issue that Be Free Dayton focuses on is sex trafficking.
“We have a special branch that covers sex trafficking,” said Boehringer. “There is such a high demand for [sex trafficking] in this market and we hope bringing light to this will help decline it.”
The group also includes a research department that takes a look at how human trafficking is directly related to the Dayton and Miami Valley area. Boehringer herself manages the outreach program in the group which gets involved directly with locations like hotels to bring awareness and hopefully will be able to spot it happening.
For those interested in anti-trafficking work, there are two student organizations on campus devoted to fighting against human trafficking: a WSU chapter of Be Free Dayton and Generation Freedom Makers, a standalone group started last semester at WSU.