October 1 was the first day in a week of local efforts to raise awareness to the human trafficking that goes on below the radar. I came to realize that God had a part that he wanted me to play to extend the efforts of others over the past couple of years.
Upon meeting with Whitney Ludlow and Nicole Bernard on May 25, I suggested we have a week dedicated for this purpose, and I could proclaim the week Human Trafficking Awareness Week.
These two planned over the summer and we did it. We claimed Apex back for good, not evil. We declared that traffickers are not welcome here, and that if they don’t flee our good town, we’ll find them and toss them in jail.
But beyond that, if we encounter any victims, we’ll bring together good people from the community to help them and apply a balm to their scarred past.
Here is the brief speech I wrote, and delivered, at our kick-off event in front of the Apex Police Department, October 1, 2017.
It would seem unlikely that we, in modern day America, would find ourselves talking about slavery.
But that’s exactly what Human Trafficking is, and we need to talk about it.
These slave owners are pimps who prey upon those who are weak and emotionally scarred.
There often are no chains; these usurpers psychologically manipulate their victims into sacrificing themselves for the benefit of their master, whether it is by forced sexual acts or straight labor.
And it is happening today, moving up and down the east coast, stopping off in wonderful towns along the way to do a bit of business, and then eventually moving on.
Or sometimes they don’t go anywhere and they’ve normalized it into a local lifestyle.
The criminals sometimes are out in the open and expect us to ignore things that look just a little bit off; to focus on our own busy lives.
And we say, no. You don’t get to do that here in our community.
That’s why I’m proud to be standing before you today, shining a flashlight on the criminals, and extending the hand of rescue to the victims.
People like Ellen Blair, Nicole Bernard, Whitney Ludlow, Joy Currey have been making a difference for the past few years.
And our police department has been working this issue here all along. Chief Letteney, Captain Gilbert, Officer Pawluk and Danica Coleman.
We can help them. We SHOULD help them.
Apex citizens: won’t you do the smallest of things to start making a difference?
Take advantage of the events this week to educate yourself so you can also shine your flashlight into the darkness and extend your hand of rescue.