What a fantastic event our branch hosted for the community! Our Human Trafficking program drew more than 200 members and guests to learn about this horrendous community problem and what is being done to combat it.
Our moderator and first speaker was Jenny Williamson, the founder and executive director of Courage Worldwide. Their mission is to build homes for children who have been rescued from sex trafficking around the world. They have a home in the Lincoln area that has six beds, which is inadequate for the 400 referrals they have received from Northern California counties alone.
Jan Scully, former Sacramento District Attorney, is the director of the new Family justice Center, which will deal with all forms of domestic violence and abuse. She brought a wide range of knowledge, history and evolving thinking about trafficking.
Sonia Satchell, a deputy District Attorney, works in the trafficking unit with law enforcement to locate the victims, help them escape their trafficker and prosecute him or her. We learned that yes, traffickers can be women, too.
Holly Gibbs is a survivor and health educator with Dignity Health who has worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, among other venues. She has also written a book about how America’s youth are vulnerable to sex slavery.
The speakers were powerful in their knowledge and understanding of the issues. Those in attendance were moved by the impact of trafficking on our vulnerable youth and our community. Our branch was joined by 10 other organizations that co-sponsored this event and encouraged their membership to attend. We made valuable connections with several groups with whom we will collaborate on issues of mutual concern in the future.
If you missed this presentation, you missed seeing AAUW at its best. The program committee is to be commended for this outstanding program.