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Human Trafficking Survivor Advocates Change

April 24, 2014

“Modern day slavery in the form of human trafficking is one of the most important issues of our time, and one that very few people know about.” — Joanne Gilbert

Human trafficking survivor and victim’s advocate Theresa Flores will speak about her experiences at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8 in the Dunning Memorial Chapel at Alma College.

The talk is sponsored by the Alma Woman’s Club and Alma College’s Women’s Issues Advisory Board, Women’s and Gender Studies program, Department of Communication and New Media Studies and Counseling and Wellness Center.

Admission is free for the Alma College community and area students, and $5 for the general public, unless pre-paid through the Alma Woman’s Club.

As a 15-year-old girl, Flores was trafficked in Michigan, a state with the fifth highest rate of human trafficking in the nation. She survived two years of being trafficked and now, years later, is a passionate advocate who uses her story to bring about awareness and change.

“Modern day slavery in the form of human trafficking is one of the most important issues of our time, and one that very few people know about,” says Joanne Gilbert, professor of communication at Alma College. “I hope that those who attend this talk will share what they have learned with others, and that they will take a more active role in eradicating human trafficking.”

Flores is the author of USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller Slave Across the Street and Sacred Bath. She has been a guest on the Today Show and MSNBC’s “Sex Slaves: The Teen Trade,” and was featured on Nightline, America’s Most Wanted and “For the Record.” She also was featured by the National Underground Railroad Freedom center museum in its travel exhibit titled “Invisible Slavery.”

She was appointed to the Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission in 2009 and has testified before the Ohio House and Senate in support of Human Trafficking Legislation. Her efforts were seen by many as being instrumental in the passing of SB235, a bill dealing with human trafficking, into law in Ohio in 2010.

Human trafficking stories such as Flores’ must be brought to light, says Gilbert.

“Human trafficking is the world’s dirty little secret,” she said. “It is a global, multi-billion dollar industry that affects all of us. We must become change agents, beginning in our local communities, in order to end this atrocity.”

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