Lights for Liberty Event – hosted by Indivisible Dubuque speech given at Washington Park, Dubuque, Iowa 7/12/2019

Good evening.

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 homes.

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.

Good evening.

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.