As a mother of three wonderful daughters, I feel truly blessed each year on Mother’s Day.  I often look back at the touching, hand-made cards I received from each of my girls and marvel at their creativity.  One card from my youngest when she was in kindergarten, proclaimed that she loved me because “I made her breakfast.”  It’s the simple things that they cherish and remember even to this day.

As I reflect on Mother’s Day, though, I am saddened by the realization of how many mothers have lost daughters to human trafficking.  A young woman suddenly goes missing – kidnapped and forced into the growing business of sex trafficking.  I wish I could say that it is an isolated issue, but unfortunately, it happens every day.

It’s one of those subjects people don’t like to talk about – human trafficking for sex or labor.  But, the problem is real and so profitable that law enforcement officers say that more and more drug dealers are turning to trafficking because it is easy money.  It affects US citizens and foreign nationals of every sex, race, age and ethnicity.  

Last week at an event, I learned about what The Salvation Army Eastern Michigan is doing about this problem.  The Salvation Army established a program in the tri- county area about a year ago to:

  • • Identify victims of all types of human trafficking
  • • Investigate and assist in the prosecution of such cases at the local, state and federal levels
  • • Address individualized needs of victims through a comprehensive array of quality services

Working with State and Federal authorities through the Joint Anti-Trafficking Taskforce (JATT), our team works collaboratively with other service providers to offer trauma informed and client-centered services including intensive case management for survivors, shelter and housing assistance, medical care, substance abuse treatment as well as interpreter and translation services. 

Because these young women are often abducted in their teen years, they also need assistance in getting their lives back on track. Once brought to safety, we can assist with providing additional help in re-entering society with life skills training, literacy education, transportation and employment assistance. 

As our local program continues to build, we will increase awareness of this problem and help survivors move beyond their current circumstances and once again become participating members of society.

As you give your children a hug this Mother’s Day, please remember all of the captive daughters out there and pray that someday they will be saved from this life of despair.  That would be the best Mother’s day gift of all.

Anti-Human Trafficking is one of the issues The Salvation Army is focusing on during Doing the Most Good Week (May 11-21). To find out more about our Anti-Human Trafficking efforts, visit our Website, http://salmich.org/emi/letsstopit

 

-Mary Zaleski