DETROIT (WWJ) – It was a nightmare that played out in real life: Theresa Flores was a victim of human trafficking two decades ago while still a high school student in Birmingham.
WWJ’s Marie Osborne brought us her story in her series of reports “In Plain Sight” and now Flores will be the guest of Common Ground for a special fund raising event Thursday evening at the The Village Club in Bloomfield Hills.
“We believe that the problem can’t be fixed by one organization,” said Vickie Krigner, vice president of Business Operations for Common Ground, “that it really takes the whole community coming together.
“When a person comes in who is a victim or survivor … we treat them the way they need to be treated – in terms of the trauma that they have experienced.”
She says education about the issue of human trafficking is key to solving it.
Krigner says trafficking happens every day in the United States – it’s not just a third world issue, it’s present in most segments of society. “It could be kidnapping as well as sexual assault … it could be labor, where people end up working for just nothing and they become slaves.”
The proceeds from the evening will go toward programs to strengthen the educational mission of Common Ground in connection with human trafficking.
Did you know:
FACT: Human trafficking is not a choice. A person cannot consent to become enslaved. Victims want to escape, but cannot. Sex trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery.
FACT: Forty percent of human trafficking cases involve the sexual exploitation of a child
FACT: Between 100,000 and 300,000 children (average age 11-14) are at risk for sexual exploitation in the U.S.
FACT: It is estimated that 76% of transactions for sex with underage girls start on the internet. FACT: Traffickers use psychological as well as physical coercion and bondage.
FACT: Victims may suffer from traumatic bonding—a form of coercive control in which the perpetrator instills in the victim fear as well as gratitude for being allowed to live.
FACT: The number of “safe shelters” for recovered victims of human trafficking in SE Michigan: NONE