For All Seasons will sponsor a Lunch & Learn, “Human Trafficking 101,” on April 10 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce in Cambridge. In 2024, For All Seasons expanded its human trafficking awareness efforts to engage the Shore’s business community in a more significant way to be a part of the solution, specifically, to know what to look for and how to report suspected incidents of trafficking. The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.
“A primary focus of For All Seasons’ Human Trafficking Program is to expand outreach and education on Human Trafficking to inform the community. For All Seasons’ Center for Learning is committed to leading the way in having a positive impact in this regard and helping community members learn about how to question, connect, and act against vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation in our region,” Susan Ahlstrom, Regional Human Trafficking Navigator, comments.
Recently, For All Seasons brought the Red Sand Project to the Packing House in Cambridge to highlight the complexity of the problem of Human Trafficking and build greater awareness in the business community and beyond. The educational event invited community partners such as law enforcement, social service agencies, educators, front-line workers, and community leaders to connect for greater collaboration in addressing the problem of Human Trafficking in the region. Participants poured red sand into cracks in the brick floor. The red sand represents the victims of human trafficking who have slipped through the cracks yet may still be hiding in plain sight.
Last year, For All Seasons joined a statewide network of agencies working to respond to and prevent human trafficking under the Maryland Human Trafficking Regional Navigator Program. The agency’s Human Trafficking program offers support to survivors and their families and provides community outreach, awareness, and education. While many on the Eastern Shore believe that human trafficking is a distant issue, our region – and especially the Route 50 corridor – experiences a high volume of cases. Several of the known factors that increase the prevalence of human trafficking on the Eastern Shore include our rural communities, poverty, proximity to airports, large public events, and more.
Additionally, with youth having increased access to the internet and smart devices, technology plays a big role in putting youth at risk for human trafficking. The overwhelming majority of human trafficking cases – 83% in 2020 – involved online solicitation. Knowing that online safety is key to prevention, this past year, For All Seasons provided regional schools with activities that helped children and families learn tools to keep kids safe from predators and potential trafficking situations.
As for those in trafficking situations, Ahlstrom wants survivors to know, “We see them and we understand how complicated the problem of trafficking is and how scared they must be. We want to help them move forward in their lives.”
To register, visit https://bit.ly/HumanTrafficing101. To learn more about For All Seasons Human Trafficking programs or to request information about trainings and presentations on Human Trafficking for your organization, visit WeSupportSurvivors.org or contact Susan Ahlstrom at [email protected].