On Saturday, January 19, Covenant Presbyterian Church of Jackson will be hosting a conference, Human Trafficking: In Our Own Backyard. Covenant is partnering with Advocates for Freedom to raise awareness about human trafficking taking place here in Mississippi. The conference, which will last from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be led by executive director of AFF Susie Harvill and Lynda McCarty, a board member of House of Hope in Asheville, NC. The cost is $10, and lunch will be provided.
The AFF web site describes the organization as follows:
"AFF is bringing awareness to the MS Gulf Coast of the problem of human trafficking. We are working with others throughout the law enforcement, business, government, education, medical, media/arts, non-profit and faith communities (among others), to help victims and end this modern form of slavery. AFF wants to inspire the public to “look beneath the surface” and help find a solution to end human trafficking, locally and abroad. AFF is initially focused on meeting a victim’s need for shelter and protection."
With a very similar focus, North Carolina's House of Hope mission statement is "To restore women and girls that have been sexually exploited through the commercial sex industry. We accomplish this through outreach, direct services, shelter programs, and leadership development."
Tickets for this weekend's conference can be reserved at the church office. For those paying by check by mail, checks can be made to Covenant Presbyterian Church with “Human Trafficking Conference” in the memo. The mailing address is:
Covenant Presbyterian Church
Attn: Gwen Hardin
4000 Ridgewood Road
Jackson, MS 39211
For those unable to attend this weekend's conference, AFF will be hosting another conference featuring speaker Ernie Allen on January 23-24, 2013 in Biloxi, MS. Location and time is to be announced.
To reserve a spot to the Covenant Pres. conference by phone, call Gwen Hardin by Wednesday, January 16 at 601-981-1334. Dr. Joe Martin, chair of Belhaven University’s Biblical Studies department believes this is such an important conference that he is helping ensure scholarships are available for those who cannot afford to attend. To contact Dr. Martin, call 601-968-5907.
* If you suspect that you have witnessed an example of what might be classified as Human Trafficking, the National Hotline number is 888-3737-888.