The Scarlet Rope Project hosted a luncheon seminar at the Carl Grant Events Center on Thursday to spread awareness about the issue of human trafficking and the devastating effect it has on lives. Students were invited to come to this event to learn about this crime and be inspired to help fight against it. The seminar’s main speakers were Rachel Haaga, the executive director of Restore Corps in Memphis, and Julanne Stone, the Scarlet Rope Project program director.
The Scarlet Rope Project is an organization that seeks to help women trapped in sex trafficking. It aims to rehabilitate these women and give them a fresh start.
Haaga started the seminar by sharing her story of how she got involved with the project.
Haaga displayed statistics and graphs about the human trafficking that occurs in Tennessee and Madison County. The problem is closer to home than many would think.
26-50 cases of human trafficking to minors were reported in Madison County in 2010-2011, Haaga said. She showed a video which said that 300,000 children are exploited in the U.S. every year. After sharing stories of people who have been affected by this crime, she described how laws in Tennessee are changing to help their cause.
“I can tell you that there’s probably not a hotel in the city of Jackson that doesn’t have a girl working out of it,” said Investigator Glen Buckley, a speaker that was part of the panel at the seminar, about human trafficking in Jackson. “There’s probably ten or fifteen girls advertising in Jackson, Tennessee right now as we speak. So it’s an everyday ongoing problem.”
Buckley also described the goals of the Scarlet Rope Project, saying that they want to build a new facility to care for the women. He hopes that awareness gets so widespread that women will voluntarily reach out to the Scarlet Rope Project for help.
“It just teaches me to look deeper into things and not just to look at the surface level, and to really see what the basis of the problem is.” said Kelly Rogers, a Social Work major.