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Saving our Youth: Faces of Human Trafficking

Tallahassee is excited about an upcoming symposium unlike any other. The Salvation Army is holding this unique event on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at their new location, 2410 Allen Road, Tallahassee, FL 32312. The Saving our Youth: Faces of Human Trafficking symposium seeks to reach the community in a new way. It seeks to reach out to those who work with youth in the community and beyond in order to increase awareness about childhood victims of human trafficking. It also seeks to increase a healthier environment for youth and utilize those who come in contact with youth as an impetus for change.

Human trafficking happens in our own backyard and many think it is an issue that happens across the border or overseas. This cannot be further from the truth, it is happening daily in the community in which you live and could be happening right next door. The sponsors of the symposium hope that the participants learn how to recognize the signs and trappings of human trafficking and be able to assist victims of human trafficking through knowledge of available resources.

Human trafficking victims can come from any background, race, age, or region. It s vitally important that our community understand how to identify victims of Human Trafficking and work together to provide opportunities to prevent human trafficking and restore victims to a place of dignity and value in our community.

The Salvation Army has been able to bring well-known experts in the field, to Tallahassee, to share their experiences and help bring awareness and garner help in this fight. Wendi Adelson, author of This is Our Story, will be the keynote speaker sharing her experiences working with victims and her research on this very important topic. Along with Ms. Adelson, representatives from the Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, the State Attorney’s Office Second Judicial Circuit, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Education will be able to share their expertise in working with this special population. US Attorney of the North Florida District, Pamela Marsh will be in attendance to discuss the area’s task force that is yielding excellent results around this topic.

Alesia Adams will be traveling to Tallahassee from Atlanta where she serves as the Territorial Services Coordinator against Human and Sexual Trafficking for the Salvation Army, to share her work with those affected and how the Salvation Army plays a crucial role in advocacy. John Robertson, the Program Services Director of the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services will be serving as the moderator for the event because of his amazing work in helping youth in human trafficking situations. Rounding out the afternoon will be Judge Lynn Tepper of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Dade City, FL. She has been seen on CNN and Oprah sharing her experiences and giving a voice to those who need it the most. The audience should look forward to her Call to Action which may answer the question of “what do we do now?”

The Salvation Army is committed to Doing the Most Good, and this includes helping those who are the most vulnerable. Educating those who interact with youth regularly is half the battle in assessing and recognizing what may be happening as well as having the tools to know what to do next.

This event is not just for law enforcement, it is for child advocates, the faith community, policymakers, health care providers, and concerned citizens, among others. Anyone who has a heart to help should attend.

For more information, please contact Julie Smith, Community Relations Coordinator, Salvation Army Tallahassee at (850) 222-0304.