Break Every Chain raises awareness of human trafficking

John Irwin For Echo Pilot
Andrea Meredith, interim executive director for She's Somebody's Daughter, speaks on Saturday at the Break Every Chain conference held at Greencastle-Antrim High School.

Sex trafficking is the second largest criminal industry next to drug trafficking and is the fasting growing.

“It is happening in Greencastle and Chambersburg and other parts of Franklin County,” said Kim Burkholder, public relations coordinator for Break Every Chain. “With our area being connected to major highways such as 81, 70 and Route 30, these intersections and routes can be used for trafficking.”

The Break Every Chain conference was held Saturday at Greencastle-Antrim High School. The one-day event was designed to bring lifelong awareness about human trafficking.

It originated with Hollowell Forums, the social justice arm of Hollowell Brethren in Christ Church.

“We wanted to expand to work with other churches, organizations and non-profits in the area to expand the resources,” Burkholder said.

Human trafficking is defined as “any type coercion, forced labor, or sex act for a continuation that victim does not have any say in what they are doing,” said Burkholder. Within human trafficking there are sub-areas in which it is broken down into five categories, “child soldiering, involuntary domestic servitude, bonded labor, forced labor and sex trafficking,” according to Kayla Henry, fundraising manager for A21.

“Traffickers prey upon people who are vulnerable and disconnected,” said Burkholder. “Once they have lured someone in, they will use fear to break them down and to keep them from telling the authorities.”

It is a good practice to always be aware of your surroundings and if you see someone who looks like they may be a victim take action and report it.

“We see a lot of value in prevention,” said Henry. “If we can stop a generation from becoming victims, then you are actually breaking the cycle.”

For more information about human trafficking or to report activity call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. The call is confidential and is available 24 hours a day.