HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Base officials will host a virtual Storytellers event, “The Unimaginable Circumstance,” to recognize January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, Jan. 14 at 11:30 a.m.
The annual observance raises awareness of human trafficking and provides communities the resources to recognize and report the crime.
“Boston is an affluent, educated and technology-driven area, and that can give people a false sense of security that human trafficking isn’t happening here in our communities,” said Rachel Desharnais, installation victim advocate. “Statistics show us that it happens in all populations and effects all socioeconomic classes.”
Desharnais said personnel can view “state report cards” by the Polaris Project, a national organization that works to combat human trafficking, to see statistics of trafficking and slavery across the country.
Catherine Piedad and Jasmine Grace, human trafficking survivors from the local area, will share their individual stories during the Storytellers event.
Personnel can stream the event at https://www.zoomgov.com/j/1611564944, meeting ID: 161 156 4944.
“I want to help people understand the whole scope of human trafficking; that it happens here in the U.S. and this is what it looks like,” said Grace, a New Hampshire native. “I want to share my story in a way that empowers other survivors, but also starts a discussion and spreads awareness.”
Jersouk Touy, Hanscom’s sexual assault response coordinator, believes the event will be eye-opening for those who attend.
“We talk about combatting trafficking in persons in trainings all the time, but to see the face of someone who has lived through it puts it all in a different perspective,” said Touy. “Their stories are raw, and it will definitely be a wake-up call.”