Human trafficking is real.
During the month of January, advocates, organizations and individuals unite to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking.
While movements like #MeToo have started to bring crimes like sexual harassment and sexual assault out of the shadows, human trafficking largely remains hidden. Putting an end to human trafficking starts with acknowledging its existence.
Victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking include all genders, ages, races, socioeconomic statuses and communities. It happens worldwide. It happens here. It touches every community, including cities, suburbs and rural towns.
While human trafficking can happen to anyone, people who are already in vulnerable situations — such as people experiencing homelessness, mental health issues, poverty — may be more likely to be targeted.
Learning the facts about human trafficking is the first step in preventing it.
From there, communities can develop a comprehensive response to address exploitation and to prevent trafficking from happening in their community.
That's what a number of organizations, congregations and individuals are working on for Luverne and surrounding communities.
This weekend, the Southwest Crisis Center and Action169, a survivor-led, faith-based organization in southwest Minnesota, will engage the community in building awareness about sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.
The event will provide resources for individuals, organizations and communities to develop their own unique community action plan to end human trafficking in southwest Minnesota.
Join us from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, at the American Reformed Church in Luverne.