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Groups aim to bring awareness to human trafficking

Posted November 30, 2011

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— A Durham-based ministry and a Raleigh church are teaming up to let others know about human trafficking and to raise money to help child victims.

Transforming Hope Ministries and Ekklesia Church at Raleigh will offer a screening of the 2007 movie, "Trade," Dec. 8 at 6:45 p.m. at Mission Valley Cinemas in Raleigh.

The movie is a fictionalized account of a 13-year-old girl kidnapped and sold by sex traffickers in the United States.

But human trafficking is anything but fiction.

Organizers say that, in the U.S. alone, sex trafficking is a $9 billion industry, and North Carolina ranks eighth on the FBI's list of states most likely for trafficking violations.

"The issue of human trafficking is one of the great tragedies of our society right now," C.J. Stephens, a pastor at Ekklesia, said. "One of the biggest problems is that people don't even know that it exists."

Although the film screening is free, the church and Transforming Hope are seeking donations to benefit a shelter called Emma's Home, set to open in July 2012, for formerly trafficked girls.

Groups aim to bring awareness to human trafficking Groups aim to bring awareness to human trafficking

"We want to get them out of that world and give them a safe place, somewhere they can heal," Transforming Hope co-founder Abbi Tenaglia said.

Dave Brown, who sits on the organization's board, says he knows the toll that human trafficking can take on someone.

His wife of 10 years, Brenda, was traded sexually for drugs from the time she was 6 years old until she was a teenager. After years of dealing with emotional turmoil, he said, she committed suicide in 2002.

"It ruined her life," Brown said. "She was in many ways – and it is hard to describe – sort of an emotional equivalent to someone who has been hit by a train."

The experience, he said, has motivated him to reach out to others.

"They're victims," Brown said, "and what I would love to see is that they actually become survivors.

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  • randow23 Dec 1, 2011

    I'm sure this happens, but like the missing child campaign the numbers are greatly exaggerated. Try and pin down a source that gives numbers and you will find little supporting evidence.

  • Rebelyell55 Dec 1, 2011

    Yes it's getting to be more of a problem in NC, mainly due to lack of laws and enforcement of current laws.

  • Enough is Enough People Dec 1, 2011

    These human trafficking stories have been more and more prevalent the past year or so, but they always focus on one particular group of people. Typically those who are forced into the sex "trade." I completely agree it is absolutely disgusting and needs to stop, there is actually a larger segment that is always ignored.
    There is actually a slave trade that has been happening within the restaurant industry that is much more prevalent and always ignored. Typically what happens is an illegal immigrant is snuck into the US by a smuggler and then charges this immigrant a godly amount of money that he/she can never afford to pay back. Well then there are restaurant owners who will literally buy these people from the smugglers for about half of what is owed. Then they will have an employee that is total off the books and the immigrant will become a modern day slave because they will never be able to pay the money they "owe" off. This practice is rampant in both Raleigh and Fayetteville.

  • skyyekatfromafar Dec 1, 2011

    We can no longer "turn a blind eye, and a deaf ear" to the plight of the innocent. It doesn't "just happen" in other countries, other states.

  • mikeyj Nov 30, 2011

    Slam the borders shut. Like a military installation in
    FP CON "D"