BROKEN BOW–Millions of people around the world are deprived of their freedoms for profit in the criminal industry of human trafficking and it can reach even the most rural areas of our state.
A Human Trafficking Awareness campaign is coming to Custer County November 7-14. Educational opportunities facilitated by Broken Bow Area Rotary include an educational trailer with an interactive exhibit focused on demonstrating how easy it is to get caught up through social media, and what to look for, the red flags.
Human trafficking is defined as modern-day slavery in which people profit from exploiting others through force, fraud, coercion, or deception. The U.S. government has identified human trafficking as the fastest growing criminal industry globally, tied with illegal arms trade at second, and exceeded only by the drug trade.
Broken Bow Area Rotary Club members Jessica McCaslin and Deb McCaslin appeared on the KCNI/KBBN Get Up and Go Breakfast Show on November 1 to invite community members to a series of public events.
Each of these assemblies will include a presentation from Global Connections International and Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond. The trailer will be open and parked nearby. A question and answer period will follow each assembly
Sunday, November 7: 7 – 8:30 p.m. Countywide Parents’ Assembly in the Broken Bow Middle School Auditorium.
Wednesday, November 10: Noon – 1 p.m. Lunch and Learn in the Broken Bow Municipal Building (Bring your lunch)
Wednesday, November 10: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. – Business After Hours in the Broken Bow Municipal Building.
“While we don’t think about it much here in Broken Bow Human trafficking is a huge problem in our state and in other states so we want to educate our children and parents about this,” Jessica McCaslin told KCNI/KBBN. “Human trafficking isn’t a big city problem, it’s an everywhere problem.”
During the Human Trafficking Education Week in Custer County – seven public school districts (Broken Bow, Anselmo-Merna, Ansley, Arnold, Callaway, Sargent and Loup County) will be participating in the educational opportunities, bringing their 7-12 grade students to Broken Bow for an assembly, and an opportunity to tour the trailer.
Parents are invited on Sunday night (7 p.m.) or Wednesday (12 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.) to hear the same assembly their kids will be attending throughout the week. Sheriff Dan Osmond will present on social media apps, the dangers of certain apps, and Internet safety.
Deb McCaslin said predators groom their victims online and 80% of trafficking is lured in through the Internet/mobile apps.
“It’s not what you think it is and that’s the scary part. The whole goal here is if we can educate as many of the people in Custer County as we can,” Deb McCaslin said. “Let’s educate our teachers, let’s educate our parents, let’s educate our employees. We can teach and inform as many people as we can [to look for signs of trafficking among community members and youth].”
Bringing the Global Connections International education trailer is made possible thanks to a collaborative effort between the Rotary Club, City of Broken Bow, Healing Hearts and Families, area schools, Fox Theater, local hotels, restaurants, etc.
“We can’t thank our area leaders enough for stepping up and helping to bring the Educational trailer and its team to Broken Bow,” said Broken Bow Area Rotarian Deb McCaslin. “Every time I walked into someone’s office or connected by phone the response was yes – what can we do – how can we help? Education is a good thing, and when it comes to crimes against the most precious, our children, our best defense is to be in the know. “
For additional information email [email protected].