Read full Op-Ed on The Baltimore Sun’s site…
In 2014, members of the Victim Services Subcommittee of the state’s Human Trafficking Task Force identified and provided services to 396 victims of human trafficking here in Maryland. Of those, 381 were victims of sex trafficking, with 373 being U.S. citizens. Of those whose ages were reported, more than half were children.
Through increased awareness and training, we are able to identify and serve more human trafficking survivors each year, but more needs to be done….
Now that the Maryland General Assembly has begun its 2016 session, we call on members to act on the recommendations of the work group and pass Safe Harbor laws to better protect our children and provide for the specialized services survivors of trafficking require….
Just last month, we commemorated the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th amendment, which officially outlawed slavery in the United States. What should have been a celebration was tempered by the fact that modern-day slavery still exists, despite its official prohibition, in the form of human trafficking….
As President Barack Obama put it in a presidential proclamation recognizing January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month: “The bitter fact remains that millions of men, women, and children around the globe, including here at home, are subject to modern-day slavery: the cruel, inhumane practice of human trafficking.”
Beginning this National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, let us truly work toward that prevention the month calls us to, and not simply “awareness.” Let us commit to continuing this legacy of ordinary people changing the course of history and finally bringing an end to slavery in all of its forms.
Baltimore County Executive Proclamation
designating January 2016
Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
As the Church Engagement Team met in Baltimore County, some members took the opportunity to display the County Executive’s Human Trafficking Awareness Month proclamation.
WHEREAS, more than a century and half ago, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing thousands of slaves in the United States; and
WHEREAS, slavery throughout different parts of the world remains a large problem today, with millions still in bondage, working for little to no pay; and
WHEREAS, Baltimore County seeks to promote fairness, equality, and human rights for everyone; and
WHEREAS, Baltimore County is home to an innumerable amount of people who work tirelessly, committed to ending the evils of modern-day slavery; and
WHEREAS, Baltimore County is in the fight against slavery by combatting the underlying forces that lead to forced labor such as prostitution, child abuse, and other degrading practices; and
WHEREAS, slavery and human trafficking can be fought by anyone by speaking out against this terrible practice and speaking on behalf of victims from around the globe; and
WHEREAS, “Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month” is celebrated throughout the world by nations, cities, and individuals dedicated to the promotion of human rights and to the eradication of modern-day slavery:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kevin Kamenetz, as County Executive of Baltimore County, do hereby proclaim January 2016 as “SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION MONTH” in Baltimore County, and do commend this observance to all citizens with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of Baltimore County to be affixed this first day of January in the year two thousand sixteen.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
Designating January 2016
“Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month”
Iona Rudisill, Program Operations Manager, Baltimore Child Abuse Center (and Araminta board member); Lori Lickstein, SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) and Human Trafficking Coordinator, Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice; and Alicia McDowell, Executive Director, Araminta Freedom Initiative with Baltimore City proclamation
WHEREAS, this month is dedicated to raising awareness about sexual slavery and human trafficking worldwide; human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will; and
WHEREAS, there are 21-30 million people in slavery today; this is more than at any time in human history; and
WHEREAS, every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people in the United States and around the world; and
WHEREAS, despite growing awareness about this crime, human trafficking continues to go unreported due to its covert nature, misconceptions about its definition, and lack of awareness about its indicators; and
WHEREAS, the City of Baltimore joins the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force and the Araminta Freedom Initiative in their dedication to awaken, equip, and mobilize our community to dismantle slavery and sex trafficking in the Baltimore region.
THEREFORE, I, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of the City of Baltimore, do hereby proclaim January 2016, as “Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month” in Baltimore, and do urge all citizens to join in this observance.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set the Great Seal of the City of Baltimore to be affixed this eleventh day of January, two thousand sixteen.