Human trafficking happens everywhere, Blackburn Center program notes |
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Human trafficking happens everywhere, Blackburn Center program notes

Mary Pickels
Shown is a suspected sample of a local human trafficking lure, according to the Blackburn Center.

Local residents may be surprised or shocked to learn that human trafficking happens in Westmoreland County.

According to Human Rights First , human trafficking enslaves nearly 25 million people a year worldwide, exploiting victims for sex or labor, sometimes both.

The Blackburn Center is collaborating with Reunion Presbyterian Church and the Mt. Pleasant Free Public Library to bring awareness to both community members and professionals.

The 6 p.m. program on Jan. 31 at the church hall, 769 Main St., Mt. Pleasant, will focus on helping attendees understand how human trafficking presents itself locally, and how to identify and respond to its victims.

A question-and-answer period will follow. Those attending are advised that the program contains mature language and themes.

According to the Blackburn Center, many victims can fall through the system’s cracks and often end up jailed or returning to their traffickers.

Those attending will have the option of tracing their hands on red construction paper for an initiative to prevent the trafficking of children to be soldiers overseas.

“It will just be an information table and it’s something the denomination is participating in at the United Nations,” church pastor Sue Washburn says.

The program is free and open to the public.

Pre-registration is requested by calling the library at 724-547-3850 or emailing [email protected]

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaryPickels.