Today is ‘World Day against Human Trafficking’ and community members gathered in Ocean Springs to raise awareness on how it can impact children.
People of all ages broke out their signs and put on their blue wigs to raise awareness for a cause that impacts children and families across the nation. Advocates for Freedom Founder/CEO Susie Harvill said, “The more we know, the more we can spot, and the more we can protect our own kids. It’s children from every walk of life.”
The human trafficking awareness organization Advocates for Freedom put together the ‘Rise up for Children’ march as a way to help community members spot the signs of trafficking as well as to recognize ‘World Day against Trafficking.’
Harvill says human trafficking is a problem everywhere, including here on the Gulf Coast. “We have helped 271 people, and most of them have been right here on the Coast.”
According to Advocates for Freedom, one in three girls and one in four boys are sexually victimized before they turn 18 and $150 billion is made through human trafficking each year.
Local parents say in this day and age keeping an eye on your children is now more important than ever. Parent Rachel Kaminky said, “There’s really not many safe places and that’s why this is so important. It happens every single day across our nation, but people don’t know. People don’t realize.”
As residents marched down Ocean Springs Front Beach with signs of advocacy, the community prepares to fight trafficking for as long as necessary. “We are doing something about it. Our laws have changed so much from 2013 and so this is so important that we all pull together. If we don’t it is our number two crime now and it will soon be our number one crime.”