Students help raise awareness of sex trafficking
Grand Canyon University’s Psychology Department faculty, led by Dr. Jennifer Jones, organized an event on campus over the weekend in which 30 students helped stuff 2,300 giveaway bags designed to share a united message about preventing prostitution that fuels the sex trafficking industry.
Students heard stories from recovered sex trade victim Theresa Flores — founder of the “S.O.A.P.” initiative, or “Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution” — and attended a training before helping deliver the bags to Phoenix hotels and motels with the hope of attracting attention or urging women to flee that life. The handout bags included bars of soap and information on resources that sex trade victims could potentially use to get help, including the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number (888-373-7888). Jones organized a sex trafficking awareness panel on campus in December and, through that, brought Flores and others to campus on Saturday.
As part of January’s National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the Detroit Free Press published a Sunday story about Flores, whose jarring testimony about being drugged, raped, blackmailed and auctioned off as a sex object when she was and auctioned off to men in a seedy Detroit motel is an example of many of the victims of the fast-growing human trafficking industry, which is often linked to more regional or global organized criminal syndicates. — Michael Ferraresi (photos courtesy of Dr. Laura Terry)