Gone but not forgotten

Gone but not forgotten.  It’s a statement held close by a group of EHOVE students.  As part of a school project, they’ve been working to raise awareness about human trafficking, a $32 billion/year industry. 

Believe it or not, this crime and human rights violation is a real problem in the greater Toledo area.  With Toledo’s geographical features near water, multiple states and easy access to international routes, it’s an ideal port for traffickers.  “Toledo is number four in the nation,” said EHOVE Forensic Science student Roy Rashke (Bellevue Senior HS) who has been part of the team working on the project.  “That’s close to home.”

Victims are forced to labor in factory, domestic or agricultural work, forced to participate in prostitution or sexual entertainment, or coerced into begging or criminal activities.  Often, victims are young and susceptible to believing the traffickers initial claims and tempting offers of money.  “After they’ve been trafficked, victims often tend to stay because they have to,” said EHOVE Forensic Science student Alison Harper (Edison HS), another team member.  “Sometimes, it’s forced but it can also be because they’ve left their family and think they can’t go back.”

EHOVE’s student team has developed an information network that includes pointers for parents to help identify the signs to protect their children.  The information is available at www.teamgbnf.com.  The group actively posts updates on their Twitter and Facebook pages as well.  Links are available on the website.

“Our goal is to educate people and help the victims,” said Harper.

PHOTO:  EHOVE Forensic Science students Alison Harper, Cassandra Harper and Roy Rashke at their info table about human trafficking