Volunteers of different ages join in calling people’s attention and offering guidance.
Thirty members of Straford Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church in Chicago, Illinois, United States, stood on a city block on the evening of Saturday, January 18, 2020, to take a physical stand against human sex trafficking in the area.
Church member Victoria Davis Hollins, who also serves as the statewide human trafficking program manager for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), was one of the volunteers in attendance for the event, and she said that the church sees firsthand the need for such an event.
Right outside their doors is a sex trafficking hotspot. These spots are called “tracks,” where men, women, and children are commercialized. Hollins said the aim is to provide outreach to the victims and let them know where they can go for help.
“I announced [the event] one week in church, and by the next week, I had supplies coming in,” Hollins said. “The members just jumped right in.”
The community-wide event, called “GIRLS Night Out: A Stroll Through the City,” was held on January 11, 2020, on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The event is the brainchild of Kisha Roberts-Tabb, a Cook County juvenile probation officer and founder of Roberts-Tabb & Associates, a non-profit organization aimed at helping girls ages 13 to 18.
Roberts-Tabb said she has been organizing this event for the past two years, and she felt compelled to start the initiative because she wanted to bring awareness to sex trafficking in black and brown communities.
“The way we’ve seen sex trafficking portrayed across the city, across the state, and even nationally, we don’t tie it to poverty, we don’t tie it to adolescent minority women and boys,” she said. “It’s usually portrayed as something that goes on elsewhere, that goes on in another country.”