Local residents advocate against human trafficking

Ivanka Trump has been one of the more outspoken individuals against human trafficking in this administration.

Local residents advocate against human trafficking
October 17
11:00 2020

Recent changes to a U.S. anti-trafficking law have lifted protections for vulnerable, unaccompanied minors at the border and others, putting them at a higher risk of being trafficked. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has chosen to suspend certain protections, allegedly to protect the U.S. from COVID-19.

As a response, leaders from the National Association of Evangelicals, World Relief, International Justice Mission, World Vision U.S. and various other organizations have decided to pen a signed letter, with as many signatures as possible, addressed to Ivanka Trump. Trump has been one of the more outspoken advocates against human trafficking.

In the letter, the signatories are asking that the provisions in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act be properly restored because there are approximately 60,000 people, including large numbers of children, waiting in dangerous conditions on the Mexican side of the border.

The issue of trafficking has also affected the Tar Heel state as well. In 2019, there were 266 cases of human trafficking and the majority of them were foreign nationals. Amber Harris, a mother and minister from North Carolina, is alarmed at the growing trend of human trafficking, which was the main reason she chose to sign the letter to Ivanka Trump.

“About five years ago I started doing work with World Relief of the Triad and through that partnership and relationship, I started to learn about human trafficking,” Harris said. “The conversation at that time, especially with World Relief, was specifically thinking about refugees, immigrants and children.

“This idea of our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, are already in search of something better, safer, more whole and more full, and then for anyone to be stripped away from all hope by being trafficked and lose all innocence is just revolting.”

While human trafficking affects people of all ages, children are especially vulnerable, especially if they are unaccompanied in a foreign country. Harris said trafficking not only affects those who are taken, but also the family members that have to live with that trauma, because they are aware it could happen to them as well.

“I have a six-year-old, a four-year-old and a seven-month-old, and my six-year-old can definitely reflect, through doing different things, how that changes him,” she said. “So, the fear of being forced into something so scary and just that organic reflection of how that changes a child can begin to take over.”

For Harris, the entire system needs to be changed, because she feels the protections that were in place were not being enforced anyway. She is concerned that the number of cases will not decline if drastic policy changes are not put in place.

Harris said there is a “call to action” for more people to sign the letter and for people to not look at refugees as illegal, but to just look at them as human beings.

“I think it is really going to come from the idea of welcoming refugees and immigrants with us,” she continued. “I think that we need to start looking at everyone as people and not as immigrants or refugees.”

For more information on human trafficking, some organizations to contact are: We Welcome Refugees and Choose Welcome (NC). To become a signatory of the letter to Ivanka Trump, please visit\letter_on_human_trafficking.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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