Impact of human trafficking focus of two-day event

­On Thursday and Friday, Nov. 13-14, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners will host a two-day informative event entitled, Learn About the Impact of Human Trafficking. This free event is sponsored by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in partnership with the Human Trafficking Workshop Committee and supporting community partners.

The effort is spearheaded by Oakland County Commissioners Shelley Goodman Taub, Mattie McKinney Hatchett, and Janet Jackson. The two-day event will feature special guest speakers Theresa Flores, a human trafficking survivor and advocate from Birmingham.

Flores is the author of “The Slave Across the Street,” a Wall Street Journal and USA Today best seller, and “Sacred Bath.” She has been featured on The 700 Club, The Today Show, MSNBC’s Sex Slaves: The Teen Trade, Nightline, America’s Most Wanted, and For the Record.

In October, she witnessed a series of Human Trafficking bills including one named in her honor that extends the statute of limitations to allow prosecution of human traffickers up to 25 years after they force a teen into the sex trade. These bills were signed into law by the governor and state leaders in Michigan.

 Joining her to speak on the issue of Human Trafficking will be Russell Petty, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s  senior outreach diversity coordinator. He will provide national insight and information on the issue. He has worked for 7 years speaking, engaging and educating the public on the new methods Human Traffickers lure children into this unsavory world  and how law agencies and community can help victims of this money making crime. He will also offer valuable information and educate the public on how to access resources.

The two-day event will be held in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Auditorium, 1200 North Telegraph Road in Pontia. The first day is dedicated to parents, students and the public on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

 On Friday, Nov. 14, two professional trainings are scheduled for teachers, social workers, law enforcement, and professionals dealing with the issue of human trafficking. The first professional session is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon and the second session is scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. A special panel of professionals have been assembled to provide additional insight, in conjunction with the keynote speakers. These panelists represent the Department of Homeland Security, the U of M Human Trafficking Clinic, the Attorney General’s Office for Michigan, and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. On November 14, a special discussion focusing on “Successful Interventions” will also be provided.

“With missing children reports, abductions, along with stories of children being abused by adults they trust, it is imperative that we talk about the issue of Human Trafficking to help arm parents, grandparents, the community and professionals on how we can best protect our children,” stated Oakland County Board of Commissioner Shelley Goodman Taub.

The Human Trafficking Workshop Committee and community partners joining the Oakland County Board of Commissioners in this effort includes the OaklandSchools, Crossroads for Youth, Jewish Family Services, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, and Youth Assistance for Oakland County.

“In Southeast Michigan, there have been unspeakable cases with tragic outcomes that have impacted the lives of families and communities, due to Human Trafficking. It is time that we work to shed light on this issue which is our goal with the two-day forum and training event,” stated Oakland County Commissioner Janet Jackson.

“I encourage everyone to come out and be a part of the event, we have outstanding speakers who will provide firsthand accounts and valuable information. I want the public to be informed because Human Trafficking has no boundaries. We want people to connect the dots and learn about the many resources that are available to them,” stated Oakland County Commissioner Mattie McKinney Hatchett.

 Due to limited seating, registration is required. To register for this free event, go to http://human-trafficking-event.eventbrite.com, call 248-858-0051, or go to www.oakgov.com/boc.

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