January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and the Delaware County District Library has a partnership with the Delaware County Against Human Trafficking Coalition (DCAHTC) to help educate and inform our local community.
Human trafficking is not a light subject, and it’s not easy to talk about, which is likely why it’s difficult to bring awareness and conversation to the table for discussion.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is “modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.” Human trafficking is not the same as human smuggling, which involves illegal transportation of a person across a border.
Victims of human trafficking are of all genders, ages, races, countries, socioeconomic statuses, and so on. While human trafficking can happen to anyone, people who are already in vulnerable situations – such as people experiencing homelessness – may be more likely to be targeted.
As people tend to learn more about the dangers and cruelties associated with human trafficking, their next question is typically, “What can I do?” The top things people can do to help abolish human trafficking is continue to spread awareness by educating others and donate to organizations actively fighting human trafficking.
The Delaware County District Library and DCAHTC are sponsoring two programs this month to advocate, educate, and prevent human trafficking. The first is a community informational meeting, which will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Please register your attendance to gain access to the Zoom conversation at www.delawarelibrary.org. Click Events and register for the event on Jan. 20. A panel of representatives, including law enforcement, counselors, and other members of the coalition will provide up-to-date information on the topic.
Then, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, mature teens (grades 10-12) and adults are invited to participate in a discussion of the book “Traffick” by Ellen Hopkins. Counselors and other members of the coalition will be joining the discussion. Registration is required for the virtual discussion, taking place on Zoom.
I hope you’ll consider attending either of these informative programs to learn the basic facts about what human trafficking is, how to recognize it, how to report it, and what is being done to stop it locally and nationally. Awareness of the problem is a beginning to bringing it to an end.
Visit the United Way of Delaware County online at www.liveuniteddelawarecounty.org/take-action/human-trafficking to learn more about the coalition. Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733 if you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking. Phones are manned 24/7 and all calls are confidential.
For more stories on putting yourself in others’ shoes, try one of these new biographies or memoirs, released in the last few months.
• “Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South” by Rick Bragg. A collection of previously published pieces written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and memoirist Rick Bragg that celebrates his relationship to the American South’s “gentler, easier nature.” Fans of Bragg and lovers of witty repartee will enjoy this breezy collection that feels like having a chat with an old friend.
• “Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck” by William Souder. Read this portrait of the complicated life and career of Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning novelist John Steinbeck (1902-1968). Highlights of the novel include Steinbeck pitting his wife and mistress against each other to determine the “winner” of his affections; and his response when asked if he deserved his Nobel.
• “Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life” by Christie Tate. After years spent battling suicidal ideation and bulimia, lawyer Christie Tate entered group therapy, where she found a renewed sense of self-worth. Tate’s candid and hopeful account “empowers readers to better understand their own lives” (Booklist).
• “This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing” by Jacqueline Winspear. An evocative and richly detailed memoir of novelist Jacqueline Winspear’s childhood in post-World War II Kent. Fans of Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs mysteries will enjoy spotting real-life inspirations for the series; readers who appreciate family histories will also find much to savor in this reflective coming-of-age tale.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at [email protected] No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!