(WLNS) – Thousands of people are trafficked every year, and Michian ranks among the top five in the nation for the highest number of victims.
It’s a crime that can go unnoticed, but a discussion at Jackson College hoped to shine light on the issue.
What started as a way to be noticed, turned into a road to human trafficking for survivor Sarah Thompson.
“I wasn’t seeking to be sold,” Thompson explained. “I was seeking attention and love”.
She trusted the wrong people who lead her down a terrible path, but a discussion today at Jackson College aimed to stop that from happening to others.
The goal, to educate the younger generation to get them involved in the effort to end it.
“If they learn what to look for, learn some of the things that may take place when somebody becomes a victim of it, maybe it will put them in a position to help someone else flee from this devastating challenge in our world today,” Jackson College Director of Multicultural Affairs Lee Hampton said.
Thompson’s experience is one she says is not acceptable for anyone to endure.
“A gun was forced into my mouth, I started to be raped and it was going horribly wrong,” Thompson recounted.
Years after being trafficked, Thompson is now working to be a solution to the problem.
“It just really sparks me to what is my part in this, what can I do about it?” she mused.
Thompson helps with the House of Promise, a home for survivors to find refuge and recovery.
Founder Shari Montgomery says today’s forum is just one way to bring this hidden crime into the light.
“I think the more we talk about it the more it is going to be real, the more people are going to open their eyes and see,” Montgomery said.
Now dozens of students and local community members are more aware and ready to combat human trafficking one case at a time.