4-16-12: A Free Generation
Most of us are shocked that slavery still goes on around us. “Human trafficking” is enslavement: forcing or tricking someone into a commercial act, be it sex or labor. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center says Maryland generated 265 calls to a hotline last year, providing investigators information in 24 cases of potential trafficking across the state. (You can call the Polaris Project hotline at 888-37-37-888.)
There have been a couple high-profile trafficking cases in Maryland in the past year, including arrests tied to Montgomery County “massage” parlors. Maryland lawmakers passed two bills related to human trafficking during the General Assembly session that just ended. One would force truck stops to post an anti-trafficking hotline number. The other would add trafficking to the state’s definition of child abuse.
All spring, anti-trafficking activists at more than a dozen colleges across Maryland have been holding events to bring attention to human trafficking. Later in April, Community College of Baltimore County and Loyola University of Maryland will stage events.
This week the University of Maryland College Park and Johns Hopkins University will see a series of events. Tonight, at Johns Hopkins there’s a panel discussion with a Homeland Security agent, a prosecutor, and a former victim. (A full listing of this week’s events at Johns Hopkins is at the “My Generation Will Be Free” website.) This afternoon, UMCP is screening a documentary about trafficking, called Sex and Money. Johns Hopkins will screen that film on Thursday.
Today, Sheilah talks with two guests about efforts to end human trafficking. Danielle Lohan is an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins, who’s helping to organize the anti-trafficking events. Jeanne Allert is executive director of The Samaritan Women, a Baltimore-area organization that fights trafficking and helps its victims.
Web extra: Jeanne Allert speaks about legislative and law enforcement efforts to combat trafficking in Maryland:
More resources about human trafficking are available at the Maryland Coalition website. That organization has several events planned throughout the year
First up is the Maryland Sex Trafficking Conference on May 21 and 22 at the CCBC-Catonsville campus. Hosted by the Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention, MCASA, MHTTF, TurnAround, and The Samaritan Women.
In June and July, the Department of Homeland Security, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and the Maryland Coalition will be piloting a training for nursing and public health students that will become the prototype for a training to roll out nationally.
In August, Maryland Coalition will hold the “My Life My Choice” training in Baltimore County to target teachers and social workers who interact with at-risk girls.
And this fall will see the “Faith and Law Dialogue”: a discussion between national faith leaders and federal, state, and local law enforcement on community partnerships to aid prevention, intervention, and victim after-care.