Sex trafficking survivor headlines Human Trafficking Awareness Week

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and Heidelberg University is planning a series of presentations the week of Jan. 22-25 to bring light to the issue, including a keynote talk by a long-term survivor who now works to assist rescued victims and families and educate the community about human trafficking.

Ann Marie Babb, vice president of business operations for the We Care So We’re There Center in southwestern Ohio, is one of two keynote speakers for Heidelberg’s Human Trafficking Awareness Week. Babb will share her story as a 10-year survivor of human trafficking during a presentation at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, in Wickham Great Hall (Campus Center).

The We Care So We’re There Center utilizes a holistic approach to assisting sex trafficking victims through four programs: a mobile ministry/food distribution and assistance program, a trauma-informed care program that works with inmates due to be released from prison, a youth sports program for at-risk children and Springhaven Home, a safe house for women who have been rescued from the sex trafficking industry. Babb, who is the founder and executive director of Springhaven Home, is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and recently received the Middletown Community Foundation’s AK Steel Magnolia Award, presented to women who have overcome significant obstacles.

Kicking off Human Trafficking Awareness Week at Heidelberg will be a keynote address from Aaron Brown, the national director of operations for Destiny Rescue, an organization dedicated to rescuing children trapped in the sex trade, restoring the abused, protecting the vulnerable, empowering the poor and giving a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves. His presentation will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, in Wickham Great Hall.

After spending 14 years in the corporate world with Coca Cola, Brown spent three years assisting orphaned and vulnerable children at Forgotten Children Worldwide before joining Destiny Rescue in 2016. He is a children’s book author and founder of Impact 52, a service project that inspires individuals to change the world through kindness, love and service.

Heidelberg will host two additional events to bring awareness to the human trafficking issue:

Film screening of BuyCott – Ending Human Trafficking. This event includes a digital simulation, “How Many Slaves Work for You?” followed by a discussion led by HU graduate counseling students, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, in The University Commons.

“Lily’s Shadow,” an original one-act play, performed by the Bowling Green High School Drama Club, that draws attention to the dangers of human sex trafficking of minors, 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, in Gundlach Theatre. This performance is geared toward middle school and high school students.

All of the events in Heidelberg’s Human Trafficking Awareness Week series are free and open to the public. Sponsors include Heidelberg’s Master of Arts in Counseling Program and the Master of Arts in Education Program, Partners in Academic Coaching for Excellence (PACE) at Heidelberg and the university’s Community Engagement Committee.

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