By: Merideth Bush
I shouldn’t have been so surprised.
After all, I wasn’t new to the field of human trafficking. In graduate school, I conducted presentations on human trafficking on a regular basis, researching cases around the world- including the United States. I interned with the Indiana Office of the Attorney General, where I traveled around the state conducting Human Trafficking 101 training's for service providers, so they could recognize the warning signs. Everywhere I went I cautioned people, “This crime isn’t just an international problem, it happens everywhere- right in our backyards!”
So, you would think I would have been prepared.
But even I was blind-sided when news broke in October 2016 of a sex trafficking bust in MY backyard.* IMPD had apprehended sex traffickers in my hometown, on a street I knew well just minutes away from my childhood home. Suddenly, human trafficking wasn’t just a research field anymore. It was personal.
Whether they are knowledgeable about human trafficking or not, many Hoosiers still have the mindset I had before that story broke. They may hear about human trafficking in the news on occasion, but they still consider it to be a problem in someone else’s neighborhood. It’s not something that happens in their hometown. It’s not something that they can help prevent.
Today, on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, #WeWearBlueBecause we want to challenge that perception. #WeWearBlueBecause as a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center, we recognize that sex trafficking is one of the most heinous forms of sexual assault that Indiana faces, affecting Hoosiers as young as seven years old. #WeWearBlueBecause we are here to do something about it.
Beacon of Hope is dedicated to organizing prevention efforts and providing exceptional advocacy to victims of all sexual assault, including sex trafficking.
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, so for the next few weeks we will conduct a blog series outlining what human trafficking is, what it looks like in Indiana, and how Beacon of Hope is involved in this fight.
Be sure to check back next week for our second blog in the series, where you will learn what human trafficking is, what it looks like in Indiana, and what you can do about it!
About this blog
This blog is about our domestic and sexual violence crisis center, Beacon of Hope. We hope you find it full of helpful information, motivation, creativity, serious facts and positivity. We hope that it will help you know what is happening in our center, in our community and with our events. We hope you follow our blog in support of our organization and our mission.