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Emmy-award winning journalist Shaun Robinson will host a free event raising awareness on human sex trafficking at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center on August 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

Last year Robinson started the S.H.A.U.N. Foundation for Girls, which makes grants for grassroot nonprofits that work in five areas of girls’ issues. The foundation promotes girls’ knowledge and exposure to STEM, Health, Arts, Unity and Neighborhoods.

 

“The first grant we gave was to an organization in my home town of Detroit, called Alternatives for Girls and one thing they do is help rescue girls and young women from trafficking,” said Robinson. “We had an audience of over 200 girls and young women and it was so successful that we are doing two more events, one in Los Angeles and one in Atlanta.”

 

Human sex trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. Oftentimes, it happens when a young girl is kidnapped and manipulated into engaging in sexual acts against their will. Many people are nervous about being trafficked when visiting foreign countries, but human trafficking is a growing issue here, in the United States. Last year, there were over 5,000 reported victims in California. It has become a billion-dollar industry and is ranked right under drug trafficking in world crime.

 

“Drug traffickers are moving out of drugs and into sex trafficking because it’s harder to get caught in sex trafficking and a lot of times, the women won’t testify,” said Robinson. “There are stories of traffickers getting a million dollars a year with four women.”

 

Girls, as young as nine years old, are being lured into human trafficking in many different ways. Sometimes it’s through their social media pages or in online chat rooms. Girls are also lured into trafficking in person at the shopping mall or on their school's campus. Young women are even being trafficked by boyfriends and men that they trust.

 

Some of the signs of a girl being trafficked include being disassociated from their family, not being able to clarify their address and being inconsistent with their story. Another sign is a girl having material items that she couldn't afford before. A girl being fearful, anxious and nervous can also be a sign as well as being malnourished or having physical bruises.

 

“We have to get out of our heads that sex trafficking only happens in other countries,” said Robinson. “Number one is awareness, number two is knowing not only who your child’s friends are but who their friends’ friends are. Number three is making sure you have an open line of communication.” 

 

The event on Aug. 12 will feature celebrity guest, Garcelle Beauvais, who will be in a movie about sex trafficking. There will also be experts and panel discussions on some of the signs that a girl is being trafficked as well as tips to keep your loved-ones safe. Two survivors will also share their stories and a grant will be given to Saving Innocence, a nonprofit organization that helps survivors.

 

The event is free and open to the public. No reservation is needed. For more information on how to get involved with the S.H.A.U.N. Foundation for Girls, visit shaunfoundationforgirls.org.

Category: Cover Stories