In celebration of the strength and resiliency of people who have experienced human trafficking, the City of Portland and Preble Street Anti-Trafficking Services are partnering to host Human Trafficking Awareness Day of Remembrance and Resiliency. The event will take place on Tuesday, January 7 from 12:00 to 4:00 PM in the State of Maine Room (2nd floor) at Portland City Hall.
Human trafficking is often the consequence of other failed systems — whether related to foster care, child protection, immigration, or fair labor standards. It is not a new crime, but one that is finally being addressed by social services, legal services, law enforcement and the general public. In Maine, several organizations, including the City of Portland Public Health Division and Preble Street, are helping survivors pave a path toward healing, growth, self-sufficiency, and a life free from coercion and exploitation.
“Human trafficking is a crime hidden in plain sight,” said Daniella Cameron, Senior Director of Teen and Anti-Trafficking Services at Preble Street. “Affordable housing, healthcare, the opioid epidemic, and hunger are some of the more visible forces impacting the people we serve, but right here in Maine our team has identified and supported more than 230 survivors of human trafficking.”
“Everyday families are touched by these issues, said Councilor Jill Duson. “This effort to raise awareness is an important opportunity to get the word out about community resources available to help people, and about organizations whose mission is to be a place of refuge for vulnerable individuals.”
The event will feature several speakers, including Cumberland County District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck, Councilor Jill Duson, and four survivors of human trafficking. Representatives from Children’s Advocacy Center, City of Portland Public Health Division, CourageLIVES, Maine Migrant Health, Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Pine Tree Legal, Preble Street, Safe Voices, Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine, Through These Doors, University of New England SAFE Nursing, and Wabanaki Women’s Coalition will be on site to share resources with attendees, and there will be acupuncture and other wellness activities available.
Portland Mayor Kate Snyder and the City Council will be proclaiming January 6, 2020 at Human Trafficking Awareness Day and January 2020 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month at the January 6 City Council Meeting.
Members of the media are invited to cover the event, speak with presenters, and learn more about human trafficking in Maine.