Area residents will have several opportunities during the month of January to learn how to protect children from sexual exploitation. The Franciscan Peace Center's Anti-Trafficking Committee is sponsoring the programs as part of Human Trafficking Awareness month. These events will be held at Clinton Community College and the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and are free and open to the public.
"Approximately 300,000 children are at risk of being prostituted yearly in the United States," reports Lori Freudenberg, Outreach Director for the Franciscan Peace Center. "People are often shocked to learn that the average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years old. It is crucial to get informed about the risks and signs to prevent this from happening to our children."
On Tuesday, January 9 at 12noon, a "lunch and learn" event on the topic of human trafficking will be held at the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce, 721 S. Second Street in Clinton. The featured speaker will be Kelly Saul of Family Resources and advocacy organization Braking Traffik. Topics will include: the legal definitions of human trafficking, risk factors involved in human trafficking, the process by which human trafficking occurs, how human trafficking looks locally, and resources available locally for human trafficking survivors. Lunch will be provided by the Franciscan Peace Center. Reservations are required by January 5 and can be made by calling 563-242-5702.
On Thursday, January 25 at 6:30pm, the film "Tricked" will be shown at Clinton Community College. The film tells the story of this $3 billion a year business which is the fastest growing criminal industry. Meet the pimps, the johns, the police, and the victims of America's thriving sex trade--an industry that is fueled by greed, fantasy, and the commercial exploitation of American children and girls. The film is recommended for audiences aged 13 and up. Clinton Community College is located at 1000 Lincoln Blvd. in Clinton.
A panel discussion will follow the screening. Speakers include: Bill Schemers, Clinton City Councilman and former head of the Phoenix, AZ Trafficking Task Force; Captain Bill Greenwalt, Assistant Police Chief, Clinton Police Department; Kelly Saul, Braking Traffik; and Florentia Willemsen, a local trafficking survivor.
In addition to the scheduled events, at the Clinton City Council meeting on January 9, Mayor Mark Vulich will officially proclaim January 2018 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Clinton.
The Franciscan Peace Center was established by the Sisters of St. Francis as means for integrating Franciscan spirituality with the mission of promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking, as well as advocating for social justice issues and care for the earth. More information is available HERE.