From the Director
Betsy Huggett, Executive Director
Happy New Year to everyone out there! We have had an amazing holiday season here at Diane Peppler Resource Center. The outpouring of support for our families was amazing beyond belief. We are so grateful for everyone who thinks of us during the holiday season. But now the holidays are over and our services have not ceased to operate. I am grateful for the staff who worked during this time and provided the best Christmas and New Year for the clients we are working with. Their commitment to our movement comes with no little amount of dedication.
January for us means a focus on Human Trafficking Awareness month. The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation. Our focus here is on sexual exploitation. This is being done in many ways and is here in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
What sexual exploitation or commercial sex trades can look like here would be ads for modeling careers, waitressing, nannies, and “One Day Only” recruiting. These “recruiters” are sex trade workers or pimps. They will promise big things like money, clothes, technology items, and trips. They will take them to places like Grand Rapids, Detroit, or Flint. They will blend in with the environment by meeting in places like casinos, restaurants, or shopping centers. They will advertise on Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, Backpage, or flyers posted around town.
Diane Peppler Resource Center, in conjunction with other members of the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force, is hosting one of several educational events throughout the Upper Peninsula. On January 22, 2018 from 10:00am until 11:30am at LSSU Art Center Theater, we will have Leslie Hagan from the Department of Justice and Todd Wilton from Immigration and Customs Enforcement presenting some basic information regarding what we can do to help stop human trafficking in our area. If you can’t make that one, there will be another presentation in Bay Mills on the 22nd from 2:30pm to 4:00pm at the Bay Mills Casino Horizon Conference Center.
We look forward to seeing everyone there. I truly believe that together, once we learn what to look for, we can stop people from perpetrating human trafficking on the unsuspecting citizens of the Eastern Upper Peninsula.