January is Human Trafficking Awareness month

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Human trafficking is an unlawful act typically in the form of forced labor or sexual exploitation. The Human Trafficking Hotline website states in 2021, 10,360 cases were identified and 16,710 victims were involved in cases.

Dr. Tamara Hurst at the University of Southern Mississippi tells News 25 anyone can experience trafficking in any community. “We’re talking about race or ethnicity, any sexual orientation. It just takes those few minutes for someone who wants to exploit somebody else to approach them and talk them into something they necessarily wouldn’t do.”

For most survivors, it’s not easy to share their story. However, there are some who share their story to bring change and help those who are going through the same situation. Jubilee Havens Founder Sharon Robbins said, “First night I was horrified that I was going on a double date, especially from the club. I’ve gone on dates before, but not like being told I need to go on a date and this is how I need to please someone I didn’t know. This is when I started drinking really bad to the point I was drinking half a bottle of schnapps just to get on stage because of what was happening and never stopped until I was delivered.”

Robbins was sexually abused as a child and became a sex trafficking victim at 18. Trying to make ends meet, she danced at a strip club on the Coast where she later was escorted out by the same club. “God can’t be good if he allows this to happen and in the beginning I actually believed that. He allowed it because he knew he was going to turn it around for good.”

It took Robbins ten years to heal, but today she uses that past trauma to help others. She started Jubilee Havens, an organization that provides a safe haven for victims.

For help you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or visit jubileehavens.com for more information.

Categories: Featured, Local News, News