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This past summer a group of us met to discuss how we could address the increasing influence of human trafficking (HT) in our community. We knew we wanted our efforts to be local, practical, and to meet real needs. We were not interested in simply a show of concern, nor did we want to be just another social cause with a lot of hype but little substance.
We learned about what other NC groups were doing to address HT, what efforts were being made in our area, and whether or not agencies recognized the advance of HT. We received lots of advice and encouragement. We learned that our county was in need of an organizing agent to “link” together services, first responders and aftercare providers to ensure a seamless response when a trafficked victim was identified. We also recognized the need to effectively persuade others about the rapid growth of this crime in our county.
So here we are!
There are national groups that affect policy, publish materials and create resources for others to use. There are ministries that staff and fund safe houses; other groups conduct extensive awareness campaigns. All of these efforts are necessary in the fight against HT. Our vision, however, is this: as HT requires a network of criminal effort, we will create our own counter-network. We organize so as to be the eyes, the ears, and the hands that our trafficked neighbors need us to be.
Liz Leon and Courtney Dunkerton serve as Program Director and Program Coordinator, respectively, and head up the Leadership Team in an executive role. The Leadership Team comprises counselors, social workers, church folks, professors, health care workers, retired teachers and county officials. The team meets quarterly to develop and lead projects, discuss research pieces and plan events.
We have assembled an Expert Advisory Group that offers suggestions and support in order to help guide coalition projects and goals. These advisers have proven throughout their careers that they are concerned community members, who work to create solutions for the good of their neighbors.
Our Associate Members receive regular updates and newsletters. This role is open to those who have a high level of interest in and support of Coalition goals, and who desire to stay informed about opportunities to volunteer and participate in projects.
We also work with various agencies and organizations. These Partners provide services to trafficked victims as well as collaborate with our Leadership Team to provide training and community education. We also network with other anti-trafficking organizations. Some of our Partners are listed below.Alamance County Law Enforcement Agencies Alamance County DSS The Children’s Advocacy Centers of NC