It’s Human Trafficking Awareness month. People with disabilities face unique risks—what you need to know

Alabama map, trafficking people with disabilities
Just like the intersection of North-South and East-West railroads together with the raw materials for steel turned Birmingham into the Magic City, the intersection of all these interstates together with vulnerable young people makes the city a hub for trafficking. Map from ian.macky.net

Human trafficking is a big issue in and around Birmingham. It’s an especially big issue for people with disabilities in our area. We reached out to Fowler Davis, LLC to find out about the problem and what all of us can do to help. Here’s what we learned.

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Social Media Predators: What Parents Need to Know About Online Human Traffickers, presented by Bark

One of several virtual Anti-Human Trafficking Awareness Month events the Junior League of Birmingham is hosting throughout January, the JLB’s Internet Safety Training will feature Renee Abrams, the School Safety Manager from Bark, a parental control phone monitoring app designed to help keep kids safer online. Through her experience helping schools identify digital safety and implementing Bark safety solutions, Abrams will discuss the dangers of social media with trafficking and how parents can monitor their children’s online activity and protect them from online predators and human traffickers.

 

Led by the initiatives of the JLB’s Anti-Human Trafficking Committee, the free, educational events seek to promote awareness of the prominent issue and debunk common myths surrounding it. Tasked with addressing ways to prevent and provide education around the critical issue of human trafficking in the Birmingham community, the Committee focuses on bringing awareness and encouraging engagement from three different sectors: the community at large, area college students and the legal and judicial community.

 

The JLB has been a leader in the Anti-Human Trafficking arena for the past four

years. Because of these efforts by the League, 34 area mayors have signed awareness proclamations which led to seven area municipalities declaring themselves as TraffickingFree Zones in 2020; Birmingham International Airport signage was installed into every bathroom stall across the airport; and multiple awareness events and trainings have been held reaching over 1,200 people. Partnering with other entities across the state, the League supported 2019’s legislative efforts, including HB 261 that now requires all commercial drivers to take a human trafficking awareness class in order to obtain a license. The JLB also offers Anti-Human Trafficking training materials and education programs to other Junior League organizations throughout the nation.

 

The Anti-Human Trafficking program is one of the JLB’s 40 community projects addressing some of Birmingham’s most critical issues. For more than 98 years, the JLB has been a positive force for change in Jefferson County with its 2,200 trained volunteers collectively donating more than 55,000 hours of direct community service each year.

 

For more information or to register for the event, visit https://jlbawareness.swell.gives/

Events educate Birmingham during Human Trafficking Awareness Month —why you should be involved

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Did you know The Junior League of Birmingham Anti-Trafficking Committee is a leader in the state for fighting human trafficking? Here, the team— Pamela Rasberry (Trafficking Hope), Jamie Willett (JLB), Mayor Tony Picklesimer and Julia Meyers (JLB)— is meeting with Chelsea City Council to get more city officials involved in the fight. Photo via Junior League of Birmingham

If human trafficking isn’t something you know much about, it’s more important than ever you understand this prominent issue during Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The Junior League of Birmingham (JLB) is a state leader in actively educating city officials and residents on how to prevent this crime. You can get involved too by attending several of JLB’s virtual events throughout the month of January.

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Human Trafficking: What You Need to Know

FREE talk geared for mothers and daughters middle school and up, this panel highlights anti-human trafficking efforts in our area.

Human trafficking in Alabama, particularly along the I-20 corridor has historically been one of the worst areas in the nation, but in the past eight years, great efforts have been made to fight this horrific issue. Alabama is now one of the top ten states recognized for enacting some of the strictest human trafficking laws in the U.S. Thanks to efforts by multiple Birmingham agencies, progress has been made that will hopefully result long term in human trafficking decline.

Panelists from CHIPS (Children’s Hospital Intervention and Preventive Services), AIDS Alabama, The Junior League of Birmingham, Birmingham Police Department, UAB, and the Wellhouse will share how their organizations are combatting this issue, and will also address tips on how to recognize victims, what you can do to help, and keep your own families safe.

Thanks to our Gold Sponsor, Sirote & Permutt, PC for sponsoring the Wonder Woman series.

How the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport is helping stop human trafficking

human trafficking signs in the birmingham airport
Junior League of Birmingham and Birmingham Airport Authority Announce Partnership to help stop human trafficking. Photo by Chaise Sanders for BhamNow.

Did you know January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month? The effort to end this issue doesn’t stop there. An estimated 5,000 people are trafficked through Birmingham each month. The Birmingham Airport Authority along with local partners aim to change this alarming statistic. Here’s how.

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Human trafficking in Birmingham: it’s not what you think. What it is and what we can do to stop it.

The Junior League of Birmingham's anti-trafficking committee is working on human trafficking in Birmingham.
Panelists at a January 30, 2019 public roundtable on trafficking as part of Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Photo from JLB

Until I started on this story, I didn’t know much about human trafficking in Birmingham. I’d heard that I-20 was a big trafficking highway. But I always associated that with kidnapping and Amber alerts. Once I started talking to people, I learned a lot of things that surprised me.

Continue reading “Human trafficking in Birmingham: it’s not what you think. What it is and what we can do to stop it.”