DEBUNKING MYTHS: It Doesn’t Happen Here…

Since my retirement from public education seven years ago, I have been passionately vested in a new teaching cause: informing anyone who will listen on the reality of human trafficking and that it occurs even here in North Central Ohio. Admittedly, this is a hard subject for most people to accommodate. In fact, I haven’t known a single person who has become actively interested in being involved in this work who hasn’t, early on, experienced something akin to a paralysis at heart. The darkness of what this entails: forcibly enslaving innocent youth to multiple daily rapes by individuals willing to pay for momentary sexual gratification, the entirety of “profits” accruing to the trafficker and none to the victim: easily becomes overwhelming as one begins to dig beneath the surface.

I have now been involved in presenting to various groups long enough that certain patterns have emerged: certain questions and prevailing attitudes have become typical and almost expected at each and every presentation. One of them goes something like this, “OK, I have heard that Toledo is one of the biggest cities for human trafficking. But SURELY it doesn’t happen here in Perkins Township. I’m not so naïve to think that we don’t have our share of problems, but surely human trafficking CANNOT be one of them. This is a SAFE community for our children.”

And by and large, there is truth to that argument… Perkins Township DOES provide a safe community in which to raise a family. Are youth vulnerable to a variety of risks in today’s world? Yes. Has the danger of human trafficking risen to such a pervasive level that we need to be in a panic over our children’s safety? No of course not. BUT… does human trafficking exist in Sandusky and Perkins Township? One only needs to purvey the escort section of Sandusky’s Backpage site to quickly realize the answer to be yes.

Without intending to re-victimize the young girls “sold” for sex here in our community, from time to time I visit the Sandusky escort page on Backpage and grab screen shots to be used in our presentations (and yes, despite what you may have heard or read in the news, Backpage is still VERY active in the escort business). We use the ads and pictures of these young women to help verify that human trafficking DOES happen here: young women who are being victimized in our motels: young women who are OBVIOUSLY minors.

In addition, I’m always on the lookout for local news that further helps to buttress the contention that yes, human trafficking DOES happen here. To wit, last Tuesday there was a brief article in our paper, the Sandusky Register, with the headline:

Police raid home as part of sex offense investigation

SANDUSKY REGISTER

May 30, 2017

PERKINS TWP. – Perkins police raided a home on Whispering Pine Road last Friday as a part of a sex offense investigation (Hull Road near Great Wolf Lodge).

Sandusky Register

I’ll leave it for you to read the entire article if you have the interest (it’s only a couple of paragraphs).

While this investigation is still in its early stages and the police are not yet able to provide much in the way of details, it does suggest that a sexual offense WAS occurring in a home here in our ‘burbs that warrants an investigation. (CAUTION: We ever need to be careful NOT to project onto an alleged situation such as this. Is this an example of a sex ring happening in our midst? Perhaps, but we simply do not have enough information at this time to make that claim and we NEVER want to be in the business of spreading sensationalized rumors).

But the point I hope I’m making is this: the next time you hear someone suggest (or find yourself thinking) that human trafficking, as horrendous as it is, cannot possibly be happening here in our safe community, please keep in mind that yes… it actually does!

 

NOTE: I want to thank each of you have signed up to receive an email notification each time I post this weekly blog. THANK YOU! For those of you who have a FaceBook page, I’d like to request a favor. In an effort to drive more traffic to our FaceBook site, would you kindly go there and “like” us?! In that way, each time I post something it will show up in your news feed for your friends to see, thereby helping to grow the number of people aware of the information we are sharing. Thanks in advance!

NCO Justice Coalition (FaceBook)

Until next week… Ken out!

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Author: Ken Hughes

Hi! I’m Ken Hughes, and on behalf of our group, I facilitate this WordPress blog as well as our FaceBook page, NCO Justice Coalition. I’m not altogether sure of the ‘why’, but somewhere along life’s journey I uncovered a passionate heart for social justice… and particularly as that relates to the youth in our culture. In today's world their vulnerabilities abound and we need to be ever vigilant in equipping families and community members with the proactive tools necessary to help keep them safe.

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