2018-01-10 / News

Women’s Center hosts film, talk on human trafficking January 19

The Shenandoah Women’s Center will show a recent documentary about human trafficking on Friday, January 19 in Berkeley Springs. The center is raising awareness about the practice, which affects men, women and children in the Eastern Panhandle and around the world.

Human trafficking, also known as modern day slavery, can be broken down into two chief categories: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Both are defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, providing, or obtaining of a person for a commercial sex act/labor services induced by force, fraud, or coercion.

The Shenandoah Women's Center (serving Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties) served around 75 victims of human trafficking in 2017. Most likely, there are far more victims of trafficking in the Eastern Panhandle than that, said Nicole Roehm, Rural Victim Advocate.

“Often times victims of trafficking don't really identify as such. More often than not, they come to us for other reasons (domestic violence, etc.) and we identify them after listening to their stories. Intimate partner trafficking is the most common that we see and that would look like spouse trafficking their spouse for money, drugs, etc.

“We also see parents trafficking their children for the same reasons, so often times these cases can be hard to identify as the victims may be holding a regular job and the children attending school while the trafficking happens outside of business hours,” said Roehm. “It's not always a case of being snatched off of the street and forced into this type of work.”

Human trafficking is the fastest growing industry in the world and is present and prevalent in every country as it is considered a low-risk, high-reward endeavor.

The documentary “Call and Response: A call to action against modern day slavery” will be shown on Friday, January 19 at 5 p.m. at The New Earth Granary, at 143 North Mercer Street in Berkeley Springs.

After the film, there will be a short Q+A panel of guest speakers with diverse knowledge of human trafficking, giving attendees an opportunity to learn more about trafficking in the tri-state area.

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