The Edmond Sun

Local News

January 29, 2013

Group shines light on human trafficking

OATH urges others to become the voice of the voiceless

EDMOND — Human trafficking is something that happens some place far away, many may think, but that is not so. Oklahoma and Arkansas are prime states for modern day slavery recruitment.

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month, and volunteers for the first fundraiser luncheon for Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans (OATH) laid the statistics out and through personal testimony brought the horror of human trafficking to light and raised the awareness of the attendees.

According to the U.S. State Department, human trafficking is the world’s second largest criminal enterprise, after drugs.

2012 Miss Oklahoma Laura Lundeen said, “Slavery never ended, it is a reality today.” She went on to say, “Thirteen million children are enslaved around the world, accounting for nearly half of the trafficking victims in the world.”

Lundeen said approximately 80 percent of trafficking involves sexual exploitation and 19 percent deals with labor exploitation.

“Human trafficking victims are often hidden in plain sight, voiceless and scared,” she said, “and 300,000 children in the U.S. are at risk every year for commercial sexual exploitation. Thousands of boys and girls are falling victim and the younger they are the more they are worth.

“What concerns me is the number of people taking advantage of children,” said Cathy Mathes, one of the attendees. “Society is sick and those people have problems that need to be addressed as well.”

Edmond resident Suzi Hanson, a full-time OATH volunteer, urged the audience to become the voice of the voiceless.

Anyone can be caught up in this world of darkness, Hanson said, and anyone can be vulnerable. She added anyone can be caught in the web of human trafficking, although children living in poverty with a lower education run a higher risk of being trafficked along with children living in alcohol and drug addicted homes with no security and no love.

Hanson added children who are or have been in foster homes are also at risk.

“Twenty to 30 times a day unwilling boys and girls in captivity are forcibly raped,” Hanson said. “It is an issue of vulnerability for these women and children and it encompasses 184 countries around the globe.”

Hanson went on to say theses victims are not kidnapped, rather they are approached by a handsome, charming, older man, many times not much more than a child himself, who wins the children over before the violent behavior and abuse begins.

“The chains are not on the outside, but are psychological,” Hanson said.

Human trafficking is second only to drugs in profitability, Hanson said, at $32 million in profit a year.

“The risk is low, costing virtually nothing, and the profit is high,” Hanson said. “We must be their voices.”

OATH wants to raise awareness by educating others, especially those in law enforcement, and help them understand the girls are victims being persecuted.

Survivor Jeannetta McCrery, now 41, shared her testimony of being an 11-year-old child caught in this underworld of being prostituted by individuals looking for money machines.

As a young girl she loved church, made straight A’s, was a cheerleader and although her home life was far from perfect — she was sexually abused — she at least had a home. Things transpired and she shared she was eventually given or sold at the age of 18 to the Mexican mafia in Fort Worth. She said she escaped once only to be caught and stabbed 36 times, but yet returning because she felt she had no place else to go.

“I lost my virginity, options and opportunities,” McCrery said.

But today her life has turned around and she is learning to cook, is getting her master’s degree, is married and has a friend.

“Don’t get me wrong, my life has been a struggle and still is, but I am luckier than most,” McCrery said. “I am disease free, am attending the University of Oklahoma where I am excelling and am in love with becoming a social worker.”

She said seven years ago she meet a lady who now is 92 years old who literally led her to Christ and told her she would work with children some day.

“My life could have been so different and so much easier,” McCrery said, “but I need to help innocent children who are lost like I once was.”

Lundeen said it is important to raise awareness by providing endeavors to keep children safe by informing them in schools, working with legislators, host student clubs and community action teams.

“We must provide a safer community for our children,” Lundeen said.

There is only one safe house in Oklahoma, but it is for young women 18 and older. There are no safe houses for children under 18, Hanson said.

“One of the things OATH will be doing is fundraising for a home for minors,” Hanson said.

Hanson left the audience with the words of William Wilberforce, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

FOR MORE information or to donate, go to www.oathcoalition.org.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Preparing for a fall home garden

    Gardening can be a year-around activity for those that have an appreciation for fresh and nutritious vegetables. Some of the best vegetables in Oklahoma are produced and harvested during the cooler weather of fall. Successful fall gardens, however, require some work in the summer growing season. Factors to be considered are location, soil preparation, crops to be grown and how/when to plant.  
    The major consideration for garden placement is sunlight. All vegetables require some sunlight; the most popular vegetables require full sun. “Full” sun means at least 8 hours of intense, direct exposure.

    July 24, 2014

  • OBU dance team celebrates National Dance Day

    In 2010, “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation co-president Nigel Lythgoe created National Dance Day in an effort to help people embrace dance and combat obesity on the last Saturday in July.
    This year, on July 26, Oklahoma Baptist University’s dance team will host a fundraiser that allows participants to dance all day for $30. The fundraiser will be in the Noble Complex on OBU’s campus.
    Cami Gower, an OBU junior and co-captain/co-founder of the dance team, said the team’s officers have been planning for their upcoming season since April. Gower is a graduate of Deer Creek High School.
    “Since then we have been coming up with better ways to reach the community with dance,” she said. “This day of dance was a great way to do it and help the team raise funds.”

    July 24, 2014

  • Blackmon.jpg Local cops arrest NFL player on marijuana complaint

    The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
    Blackmon, 24, a product of Plainview High School in Ardmore, is a 6-1, 210-pound wide receiver in his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Oklahoma State University, he was a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best collegiate wide receiver.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Women aided in Afghanistan, Rwanda through AT&T

    AT&T renewed its support for the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS program Wednesday by making a $125,000 contribution to the program at Lakeside Women’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.
    AT&T has been a major supporter of Peace through Business since its inception in 2007, said Steve Hahn, the new president of AT&T Oklahoma.

    July 23, 2014

  • Salvation Army pantry closes until September

    Due to an increase of need, The Salvation Army in Oklahoma County has distributed all of its food supply. July 23 was the last day of the food pantry operations. In preparation for the move to the Center of Hope at 1001 N. Pennsylvania, The Salvation Army Client Choice Pantry will not resume operations until September.

    July 23, 2014

  • Payne Co. crash sends Guthrie man to hospital

    A two-vehicle crash in Payne County sent a Guthrie man to a local hospital, a trooper stated.
    Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper James Ritze stated a 2005 Jeep SUV and a 2013 Ford pickup were about a mile east of Perkins headed west on State Highway 33. When the pickup slowed for a truck pulling out of a private drive, the SUV struck the rear of the pickup, Ritze stated.

    July 23, 2014

  • 7-11 Second Street to get new 7-Eleven

    The amended site plan for a new 7-Eleven Convenience Store was approved by the Edmond Planning Commission this week by a vote of 4-0.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guard adds jobs, revenue to Oklahoma

    During a Wednesday morning press conference at Joint Force Headquarters, members of the Guard touted the findings of an in-depth study addressing impacts the organization has in areas including gross state product, employment and tax revenue.

    July 23, 2014

  • Large party turns into police house search

    A citizen’s tip about an excessive amount of foot traffic led to the discovery of 76 grams of marijuana, digital scales and firearms in an Edmond home, an incident report states.

    July 23, 2014

  • Gas State gas price plummets 18 cents in 25 days

    Abundant domestic refinery production is behind a steep 18-cent plunge in Oklahoma gasoline prices at the pump during the last 25 days, AAA reports.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Facebook Is Officially A Mobile Company 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter
Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results