JLNO Joins the Nationwide ABOLISH Movement
JLNO ABOLISH Committee Members Anne Elizabeth Zegel, Sarah Lobell, Co-Chair Michelle Clarke Payne, Executive Director of Eden House Susanne B. Dietzel, PH.D, Michelle Mangum, Co-Chair Kaya Koban and Erin Corcoran. Photo obtained from: The Association of Junior Leagues International.

Throughout its over 100-year history, the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) has upheld the mission of developing women’s potential and improving the communities in which they live through effective action in an educational and charitable manner. That mission took a significant step forward in 2014 with the Junior League of Tampa (JLT).

JLT, together with other Tampa organizations, created a campaign which drew attention to the horrendous problem of child sex slavery in the Tampa Bay area. Traits such as its transient workforce, mild climate, sporting atmosphere and prevalent hospitality industry had made the city a hub for human trafficking. In a partnership with Ad 2 Tampa Bay, JLT created marketing materials, held local community events, screened documentaries and provided training sessions on how to recognize the signs of trafficking. According to the ABOLISH Movement website, “In 2017, AJLI adopted ABOLISH as an association-wide initiative to scale the movement and unite communities across the United States and beyond to generate greater awareness of the intractable, systemic issue of child sex slavery.”

But what exactly is human trafficking? Simply put, it is modern-day slavery. The ABOLISH website defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purposes of either a commercial sexual act or labor services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion.” The main emphasis ABOLISH has chosen to focus on is the exploitation of underage trafficking victims.

Locally, Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO) is working with various organizations, particularly Eden House, to help the ABOLISH movement. Eden House, founded in 2011, is a recovery home for adult female victims of human trafficking and commercial exploitation. Their doors are open to women who fall victim to the wage gap, use their body as currency and are forced into prostitution.

Susanne Dietzel, Executive Director of Eden House, explains how the organization “provides a way for those who want to get out of their current situation of force, fraud and coercion.” It serves as a place of escape and recovery, providing a confidentially located residence where victims can recover and rehabilitate. Susanne explains how Eden House can offer a coterie of women up to two years of therapy at the house with ongoing case management. As she states, “the recovery is not linear”, alluding to how arduous the process is. The residents must relearn how to relate to men, attend therapy, receive treatment for clinical needs and learn professional development.

Kaya Koban, ABOLISH Movement Co-Chair, expounds, “[The process] takes so long because these women have trust issues.” She applauds the efforts of the Eden House staff and the demanding work they have chosen to provide. “Eden House offers long-term care and education since they have to gain trust from these women who are in their care,” adds Kaya, emphasizing, “Trafficking harms a person both mentally and physically.”

The word abolish was not chosen lightly. It means to formally put an end to a system, practice or institution, which is exactly what the ABOLISH Movement is attempting to do — end child sex slavery. When most people hear the term trafficking, they assume it’s something that happens in other countries and not here in the United States. Sadly, that’s just not true. It happens everywhere. Michelle Payne, ABOLISH Movement Co-Chair, drives this point home with facts. “Human trafficking is the second largest enterprise in the world and happens too frequently in the city we call home. According to the Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force, 350 victims in our area were served last year alone.” Kaya admits, “New Orleans is one of the best cities in the world, and we love to celebrate life, but our hospitality often brings an overlooked dark side – human trafficking.”

The ABOLISH Movement is united in their goal to increase awareness through education. Kaya shares her aspirations for JLNO to be on the front lines, recognizing everything from red flags to risk factors. “Our goal in implementing the ABOLISH Movement is first and foremost to educate every League member on this issue so we can be 2,000 strong in raising awareness,” she says. Michelle impresses, “We hope to empower our members with the resources needed to identify and prevent this modern-day form of slavery from occurring.”

Future goals for JLNO’s ABOLISH Movement include advocacy, educating the public through formal trainings and being a public presence. Soon, people will no longer be ignorant to the fact that human trafficking exists.

JLNO invites the community to take a stance and abolish human trafficking and child sex slavery. Volunteering with Eden House, JLNO or other charitable groups are a great way to begin taking a step towards ending these horrific crimes.

JLNO Joins the Nationwide ABOLISH Movement

HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, AND VICTIMS WALK AMONG US EVERY DAY

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-3737-888

8 Common Signs:
• Doesn’t make eye contact
• Signs of physical abuse
• Poor physical health
• Tattoos/branding
• False ID
• Many hotel keys
• Stacks of cash
• Multiple cell phones

 

Tips for Reporting
• Description of a vehicle (Make, model, color, license plate number)
• Description of people involved (height, weight, hair color, eye color, age)
• Time, date, location of suspicious activity

 

Human Trafficking Is:
• Modern-day slavery
• Exploiting somebody through force, fraud or coercion
• Sex trafficking, forced labor and domestic servitude
• Happening everywhere, even in the United States
• Any person under the age of 18 involved in a commercial sex act

 

Trafficking happens everywhere, but be on high alert in certain areas: Restaurants, hotels/motels, strip clubs, airports, rest areas, bus and truck stops. Every day, children are bought, sold and exploited. Join the movement to ABOLISH child sex slavery.