Thank you to Indivisible Dubuque for inviting me to present tonight.
I am Suzie Wright and represent Set Free Dubuque. It is a
local non-profit that educates the public, advocates for survivors, and
eliminates the demand for human trafficking.
Let us take a few moments to recognize the members of the
Tri-state Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Slavery, and anyone else in
the audience who seeks justice for trafficking victims, immigrants, and
refugees in our community and around the globe.
It breaks my heart that we need a night like this, and yet,
here we are.
Bradley Myles, CEO of the Polaris Project, states, “We cannot let growing anti-immigrant rhetoric create a climate of fear for vulnerable populations and prevent immigrant victims from seeking help. Traffickers are emboldened by anti-immigrant statements and policies, which they can weaponize as more powerful threats.” Polaris Statement on a Border Wall and Human Trafficking, WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 1, 2019)
Looking away from the heart-rending circumstances, the
border refugees face, is too easily-done from our comfortable, midwestern
The connection between what happens on the border and what
happens in Iowa is closer than we realize. These issues may be the reality for
our co-workers, our neighbors, and our family members.
Do not be distracted by political agendas and forget that
these stories are about living and breathing people, many of whom are children
with no home, no sense of security, and often no family.
It does not matter if you agree with why they and their
families came to this country, what matters is that they are human beings
deserving of humanitarian aid and compassion.
Traffickers take advantage of people all through this story.
They prey on the vulnerable in their home countries, as they
pass through other countries, and as they arrive in the states.
Even worse, when the refugees have found shelter here in the
United States, they are still vulnerable to being trafficked. This border
crisis supplies easy targets for traffickers.
We know of the stories of children sold, we know the stories
of children stolen, and the tragic stories of those placed in the hands of
traffickers who were to foster these children.
Those children need us to do better.
We need to seek out justice through every resource we have.
Seek out our elected officials. Respectfully demand justice.
Seek out wise choices in the agencies you fund by sending
donations to well-established and respected agencies.
Seek out volunteer opportunities at local charities, such as
the Boys and Girls Club, Scouting, and the Fountain of Youth. Empower the young
through mentorships to realize they are not commodities with price tags.
Finally, I challenge those of you with the resource of time,
use it well. Consider going to the border, seek out those places desperate for
more helping hands. Be present.
P.S. There is an event coming up on July 30. Keep reading previous posts for details.
Below are photos of the event taken by Suzie Wright and Laura Field.