Human trafficking has long been an issue in Montgomery County, in Maryland, nationally and internationally. Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council earlier this week proclaimed January as “Human Trafficking Prevention Month” in the County.
Human trafficking often involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Traffickers lure their victims and force them into labor or commercial sexual exploitation. Victims of human trafficking include women, girls, men and boys. Trafficking occurs internationally and nationally and impacts foreign nationals and/or U.S. residents. Traffickers often target vulnerable individuals or groups.
A virtual two-panel program will be held on Thursday, Jan. 20, to gain insights from experienced government officials on recent developments in U.S. anti-trafficking policies and programs and important international issues in the anti-trafficking field. Speakers will include officials from the Federal departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Labor and other agencies and organizations. Kari Johnstone, acting director of the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, will deliver a keynote. Register here.
On Jan. 25, the committee will partner with the Prince George’s County Human Trafficking Task Force, the Homeless Persons Representation Project and Amara Legal Center to present an online discussion entitled, “Know Your Rights: Tools for 2022.” The online presentation is free and begins at 5 p.m. No registration is needed. Join via Zoom. The meeting ID is 839 1163 5943. The passcode is 375685.
In addition to online programming, the committee will sponsor a social media campaign throughout the month highlighting human trafficking prevention. The goal of the campaign is to educate residents about the subject, know the signs of trafficking, and seek help if needed.
The Montgomery County Human Trafficking Task Force was created in 2014. The purpose of the task force is to increase understanding of the issue in the County and to develop interagency coordination of strategies for response and prevention. In October 2017, the task force transitioned into the Montgomery County Human Trafficking Prevention Committee.
For more information on resources available in Montgomery County, click here.