Dynamic duo Shree Jackson and Lindsey Speed from Traffick911 opened the eyes of their audience to the world of human slavery and trafficking that is in Denton’s backyard. Traffick911 and TWU partnered to host an Ethics Conference at the Cumberland Presbyterian Home on Friday, April 20. With ethics in mind, Case Manager Jackson stressed the importance of continuously learning to be aware of trafficking.
“Pimps are professors of the streets,” Jackson said. “If we don’t keep our minds open, we’ll miss something.”
As social media continues to attract predators, Lindsey Speed, Chief Programs Officer, notices this trend and trains her team to have compassion for victims and survivors. “There’s a commodification of human beings that’s happening, and it’s not okay,” Speed said.
With standards today, the grooming is already done for the pimps- all they have to do is finish the transaction and keep the profit. Even with enacting the controversial FOSTA/SESTA Bill (Fight Online Sex-Trafficking Act/Stop Enabling Sex-Traffickers Act), a bill making it illegal for children to be sold online for sex, trafficking cannot be eliminated entirely. This is why Speed and her team at Traffick911 seek to prevent the problem by helping the helpless.
“That’s our goal- to make them have a voice,” Speed said. “I’m doing now what I always wanted to do when I was little, which is speak up for those who I felt like could not speak for themselves.”By emphasizing equity and empathy, Speed trains her team and others to imagine feeling how victims and survivors feel.
“It’s a relational wound that starts this, and we believe it’s a relational bond that will solve it,” Speed said. “First you have to get to the point that you’re not biased. When you can get to the point in your mind when everyone has value and worth and everyone is equal, I think then when you see that not happening, like trafficking, that’s where my compassion kicks in. I don’t think it’s compassion unless there’s action involved.”
In order to help these victims and survivors, raising awareness is imperative. TWU is home to a small organization called Students Against Traffic and Slavery that deals directly with raising awareness of trafficking and slavery in this area.
“People only think that it is in other countries, and people don’t realize that modern-day slavery and human trafficking are happening here in the DFW area with people that we actually know,” Laryn Kropik, President of Students Against Traffic and Slavery said.
Kropik’s concern on the proximity of predators starts with relationships she has with children in a daycare that she works at over the summers.
“I love those kids, and I wouldn’t want something like that to happen to them,” she said, “This takes away a child’s childhood.”
With the issue hitting close to home for her as president, Kropik intends to do more volunteering, start a 5k and create a visual component to raise awareness of human trafficking. Kropik said, “You can talk to people about it all day long, but it’s not as moving if they don’t watch something or see something.”