POINT PLEASANT — Human Trafficking is defined as a trade of humans for the purpose of forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation and is happening close to home.
On Saturday, March 17, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., three students completing their Masters of Social Work (MSW) at Marshall’s Mid-Ohio Valley Center (MOVC) will be holding a Human Trafficking Awareness Event at the Trinity Christian Community Building in Point Pleasant. Refreshments and resource packets will be provided to guests. Also, Continuing Education (CEU) hours will be available to social workers in attendance.
Amanda Tarbett, MSW student, shared she and her fellow classmates Emily Ash and Lisa Lewis decided to arrange this event when given a class assignment pertaining to their knowledge of their community. Tarbett said they chose to address human trafficking because it correlates more with the drug epidemic in Mason County than residents realize.
Tarbett explained Mason County is at a higher risk for human trafficking since it lies on the West Virginia border. According to research regarding human trafficking, Tarbett said parents are trafficking their children for drugs. She explain children grow up seeing this as a way of life for their family.
Bradley R. Hughes, director of education for Putnam County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), will be discussing what individuals should look for regarding human trafficking and how to then report the issue said Tarbett. According to the event’s agenda, Hughes trains members and professionals on the issue of human trafficking in the state of West Virginia focusing on bringing awareness to the issue and preventing the issue.
Angie Conn, survivor leader and consultant, will be discussing her personal experience with human trafficking and how she survived said Tarbett. According to the event’s agenda, Conn is a mentor for The Rebecca Bender Initiative Elevate Academy, sits on the National Survivor Network, is an Ambassador of Hope for Shared Hope International, and is on the West Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Also, Conn is an independent consultant involved in multiple agencies and organizations in West Virginia and surrounding areas.
Hughes and Conn will be open to questions and discussion.
For more information regarding the event contact Tarbett at (304) 593-3023.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.