The Bucks County Coalition Against Trafficking has announced it will host a Human Trafficking Awareness event this month.
The event will be held at the at the BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Street Road in Warrington Township on August 22 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Sponsored by various organizations including MontBux Unitarian Church and Bucks County YWCA, the event aims to shed light on a prevalent issue occurring closer to home than many might think.
Human trafficking, as defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, involves the “use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor” either commercial or sex work.
With recent media portrayals and news reports, discussion surrounding this crime has grown nationally.
The Bucks County Coalition Against Trafficking event will focus on offering a comprehensive overview, showcasing the key indicators of trafficking, and illustrating how the crime manifests itself in Bucks County and the broader Philadelphia area.
A panel of experts and advocates will lead the conversation:
- Ali Pottebaum from Haven House
- Kristin McElroy from the Bucks County District Attorney’s office
- Karen Kutzner from Lakeside Institute
- Jamie Pfister and Jenna Spadaro from NOVA
- Officer Matthew Tyson from Bensalem Township Police Special Investigations Unit
The discussion will be steered by Elyse Hoekstra from the Bucks County Coalition Against Trafficking and will conclude with an interactive question and answer session. Attendees can also enjoy light refreshments during the event.
A disturbing reality underpins the discussion: the United Nations has reported that human trafficking rakes in $8 to 10 billion annually. Within the U.S., earnings from the commercial sex trade in major cities stretch from $39 to $290 million every year. Most victims are female, both adult and underage, but boys, men, and gender minorities are also vulnerable.
“As a human trafficking victim advocate, I can say first-hand that trafficking happens right here in our community, but it can look quite different from what you see in the movies,” said Jenna Spadaro, human trafficking victim advocate from NOVA. “It’s more often an underground industry that can be hidden in plain sight. I encourage members of the Bucks County community to attend this informative event to learn more about human trafficking and how you can spread awareness about this important issue.”
For those interested in attending, registration details are available on novabucks.org/events.