Feature this month: Our new Human Trafficking Program headed by Lauren Gibson

Meet Lauren. She was recently hired as the Human Trafficking Program Coordinator at For All Seasons. She attended the University of DE graduating with a BA in Criminal Justice, minoring in Sociology and Women’s Studies. She obtained her master’s degree in 2010 in public administration also from the University of DE, concentrating on nonprofit leadership. She has a certificate in prevention leadership through EverFi. EverFi is the education technology innovator that empowers students in Kindergarten through 12th grade, higher education, and adult learners with the skills needed to be successful in life.

At the University of Delaware, she was inspired to learn more to help after taking a workshop on sexual assault and dating violence in the first semester of her freshmen year. She served as a victim advocate for the Sexual Offense Support (S.O.S.) victim advocacy and educational outreach group at the University. After graduating, she was hired to work for the same organization at UD that managed S.O.S. to serve as a Prevention Specialist where she oversaw prevention initiatives on the college campus around sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. After her time at the University of Delaware, Lauren transitioned to Washington College to serve as the Director of Wellness and Prevention Education.

Gibson shares, “I started doing sexual assault advocacy and prevention when I joined Sexual Offense Support, a 24/7 crisis line and educational outreach program, at the University of Delaware during college. Since then, it has become my life’s purpose to work towards a world where sexual violence does not happen.  I have heard countless accounts from survivors of sexual assault about their assault, survival, and recovery. These accounts motivate me to work in partnership with others to ensure that there are quality services and resources for survivors, and to create a community where sexual violence does not exist. Coming to For All Seasons to do anti-human trafficking work is an extension of that calling. I look forward to partnering with the other Regional Navigators and service providers in Maryland to ensure we are doing everything we can to help victims of all forms of human trafficking.”

We welcomed Ms. Gibson to FAS in December 2016.  Her position is funded by a grant to be a regional navigator. As part of the grant, Lauren will work with other Regional Navigators in the state of Maryland to ensure there is a comprehensive approach to providing services and resources to victims of Human Trafficking.

Human trafficking has been an issue locally and nationally for many years, but came to the forefront in the state when Maryland first developed the law to prevent human trafficking in 2007.

Human trafficking begins with the recruiters targeting at risk individuals, both domestic and international victims.  Human trafficking involves labor and sex trafficking. Recruiting methods include promises for a better life for them or their family, wealth, and affection.  A predator targets individuals on their vulnerabilities, such as promises of care, money, and taking care of their family. But then once recruited, everything is controlled, including their identification documents, where they sleep and eat, and who they talk to. Everything possible is done to make the victims totally reliant on the predator, such as threats to harm loved ones or selves, and other coercive measures.

What is being done in our community? An Eastern Shore task force meets once a month. Their goal is to raise awareness in the Eastern Shore about human trafficking. Lauren highlights that partners are essential to educate the community in recognizing the signs of HT and learn what to do when reporting to law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Trainings can be done in bars, shelters restaurants, and schools where recruiting is likely to occur. Shelters are needed, there is currently no secure emergency shelter for human trafficking victims in this area and the closest is at the Life Crisis Center in Salisbury. There are also shelters across to bay bridge.

 

Lauren Gibson 5

Lauren Gibson

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