What is human trafficking?

Isn’t that an issue in larger, more metropolitan communities? What does it have to do with people in rural Minnesota? After all, it isn’t happening here, right?

Human trafficking is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited.”

Human trafficking is a growing issue nationwide. It is not just happening in bigger cities, and, according to Sean Levesque, executive director of West Central Minnesota Youth for Christ, it is important for people in rural areas to be aware of it.

Levesque, who, along with his family, spent two years traveling the United States going from city to city to raise awareness of this pervasive problem, is scheduled to talk about human trafficking in Redwood Falls.

The free awareness event is being held this coming Tuesday (Feb. 25) at 7:10 a.m. at the Redwood Falls American Legion Hall.

Levesque said he will offer a brief presentation, approximately 20 minutes, in which he will address the issue and offer the truths about it.

“Any kid is at risk because of social media,” said Levesque, adding human trafficking is now considered the number two crime in all of America, second only to illegal sale of narcotics.

Levesque will talk about ways parents and a community as a whole can implement efforts to send a message that it is standing up to human trafficking, and he will also demonstrate that these efforts do make a difference in communities.

No, said Levesque, the intent of the awareness meeting is not to offer scare tactics to the community. Rather, he wants people to see the reality that is all around them and to encourage them to get involved in doing something about preventing it.

What can one do to engage in this issue?

Levesque will also talk about the warning signs people can be looking for in youth who are on the verge of or are already the victims of human trafficking.

This is an issue that crosses economic, denominational and social lines, Levesque said, adding no one is immune to it.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend this event to learn more about human trafficking and to find ways to take action.

Refreshments will be served.

– Photo courtesy of the Internet Public Domain