The coast, military bases and highways and interstates across North Carolina are identified as the main factors in why the state continues to rank in the top 10 for human trafficking in the United States.
MaLisa Johnson, founder of the Centre of Redemption, did not believe human trafficking was an issue in Wilmington until she discussed the topic with her boyfriend, Stephen Umstead, who had been making financial donations to anti-trafficking organizations. He convinced her to look into the issue more. The faith-based organization can be contacted by community members and victims, and has a safe house for U.S. citizens under the age of 18. Johnson is creating an outreach to girls listed online on a regular basis who could be victims of sex trafficking.
Pam Strickland, director of the Eastern North Carolina Stop Human Trafficking Now, said people could help in small ways, like purchasing fair trade products. “Fair trade means slave free, child-labor free,” Strickland said. “A lot of people won’t do that. Change is uncomfortable. This whole idea that slavery is happening today is uncomfortable. People don’t want to … know more about it so they don’t have to do anything about it. The whole problem with sex trafficking is created by demand, by men who want to pay to have sex with young girls,” Strickland said. “We would like to … have young men go in and talk to these boys about pornography and prostitution and how it’s linked to sex trafficking and respect for women.”
Learn more at Kelly Corbett’s Lumina News article: Human trafficking ranks high in North Carolina.