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Local Summit looks at Human Trafficking

By Staff | Nov 28, 2014

Shepherdstown resident Danielle Johnson helped build awareness about the practice of human trafficking as part of a summit held last week at American Military University. part of American Public University.

The three day summit hosted on APUS’s campus in Charles Town, featured an large variety of speakers, panels and discussions in addition to an outdoor educational exhibit in the form a big rig truck, vehicles commonly associated with trafficking crimes.

The truck provided by the organization, Truckers against trafficking, served as an interactive demo designed to instruct visitors on spotting and reporting signs of domestic sexual trafficking.

Danielle Johnson’s role in the summit was to reinforce the importance of human trafficking reporting hotlines.

Johnson works for an organization called Polaris Project, as a global hotlines program specialist.

Johnson addressed summit attendees about the national hotline for human trafficking.

Johnson said Polaris’s hotline provides things like general information about trafficking and its history as well as resources for crisis assistance.

Johnson said that though people are increasingly aware of the human trafficking issue, they still need help identifying suspicious activity.

The multi service national hotline has an extensively trained staff who provide information to users about what to look for. Tips provided by the public are reported directly to local law enforcement personnel for further investigation.

“Our hotline works extremely closely with law enforcement,” she said.

“It truly is a universal problem,” Johnson said, explaining that trafficking occurs in every community throughout the country.

The illegal global trafficking trade sees profits of around $150 billion according to the latest estimates from the International Labor Organization.

The Summit was organized by members of the

International Police Training Institute (IPTI) through partnerships amongst law enforcement personnel. Domestic and international experts of human trafficking led the effort to build awareness and facilitate continued networking amongst organizations and groups dedicated to the issue.

The summit was held to inspire action and the development of strategies for the development of the world’s first International Resource and Coordination Center.

“The 2014 Summit is the second of three events through which we plan to, collectively, build a world-leading borderless center to combat human trafficking, which countless law enforcement and border agencies, non-governmental organizations, and victim-support groups advise is desperately needed. With that resource center and coordinating strategies in place, we can accelerate bringing an end to the untold suffering endured by our world’s poorest and most vulnerable individuals,” said Kim Derry, event founder and IPTI co-chair in a statement.

More information about the about this issue can be found by visiting www.traffickingresourcecenter.org.

More information about the national hotline and Polaris can be found at www.polarisproject.org.