Human trafficking is a growing problem in Topeka, in Kansas and Missouri, and across the nation. It’s a form of modern-day slavery that includes labor and sex trafficking, organs, and sex tourism.
Illegal border crossings, drug smugglers, human traffickers and the internet are all working together to create a situation that puts more people at risk than ever before.
In August, Christine Dolan, International Investigator on Human Trafficking, joined Barry Feaker, Executive Director of Topeka Rescue Mission and Freedom Now USA, at a Safe Streets Coalition meeting to bring human trafficking education/awareness to Topeka/Shawnee County.
Dolan is a broadcast and print investigative journalist, photographer, and author. She is recognized as one of the most seasoned investigators of human trafficking in the world. A formal political director at CNN, her career has focused on US and international politics and policy, wars/conflicts, humanitarian disasters, terrorists and criminal networks.
Since 2001, she has focused on human trafficking and terrorism worldwide on the street, and over the internet, as well as international politics and policy. She investigates not just those who are trafficked and trafficking, but also those who have been falsely accused of trafficking. Her reporting and investigations to fight slavery in the 21st century have been acclaimed by Heads of States, and diplomats including President George W. Bush, President Jacques Chirac and others around the world.
Dolan is consulting for Freedom Now USA and will be speaking to coalition members on the different faces of human trafficking and how to identify it in Topeka/Shawnee County. Over the next year the coalition will undergo a discovery phase as over 120 individuals from all sectors of our community investigate how human trafficking operates in our community. By year-end, Freedom Now USA expects to develop a composite picture and action plan to combat human trafficking in Topeka and Shawnee County.
“The United States is not only losing the battle against human trafficking at home, it is leading with a global model that is doomed to failure. World leaders need to get their heads out of the sand to win this battle in the 21st Century,” said Dolan. ” Here in Topeka, Barry Feaker and Freedom Now USA have a developing model that stands a real chance of impacting a community, and seriously impeding the traffickers’ abilities to exploit the vulnerable. I am honored to partner with them, offering my global expertise to this local battlefield in the fight against human trafficking. It cannot be over-emphasized that what we accomplish here has a trajectory vision far beyond Topeka and Kansas. I stand with Freedom Now USA because they are committed to turning the tide of history yet once again.”
“Your kids are at risk. Your grandchildren are at risk,” Dolan said, noting that the average age of looking at porn is 8 years old.
To win this war, non-victims need to get involved, Dolan stressed, adding that effectiveness will only come from community involvement. That includes not only community and government leaders, but teachers, doctors, nurses, pastors and others.
Dolan said that the type of campaign being initiated in Topeka could produce effects “beyond what you can imagine.” A new system is needed, she said, “because the way it’s being done now is not working.”