Local advocates share actor's stance against human trafficking

Local advocates share actor's stance against human trafficking

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - The fight against human trafficking is a big task and it's one local advocates are happy to share with actor Ashton Kutcher.

He testified on Capitol Hill hoping to end human trafficking.

(Video Source: CSPAN)

Video of his passionate speech has been viewed millions of time and shared across the country.

Local advocates say their goal is the same as Ashton's: to bring an end to this form of slavery.

"This is I think the social justice issue of our lifetime," said Dr. Celia Williamson, director of the University of Toledo's Human Trafficking and
Social Justice Institute. "So I would say to people don't sit on your couch and let it pass you by, join in the fight."

Dr. Williamson says she was glad Ashton used his fame for good and is hopeful it will encourage others to stand up to stop human trafficking.

Toledo is an area known for fighting back. In 2006 the FBI created a task force working on domestic cases of human trafficking.

"They have rescued over a 120 young people and they have secured over 40 convictions," explained Dr. Williamson. "We may see about 60-70 victims in our direct service agencies a year."

While there is a lot of work being done here in Toledo, there is still more to do.

The Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition seeks to bring an end to labor and sex slavery by bringing together law enforcement, social workers, health professionals and more.

"We want to create a space where all those resources can come together, where people can share information, share the knowledge, and continue to grow and expand," said Sandy Sieben, a co-chair of the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition.

They meet every third Wednesday of the month at the Kent Branch Library and have various programs addressing awareness, outreach, and education. They also work with other service providers and can connect volunteers to opportunities in our area.

Both Dr. Williamson and Sandy Sieben say Toledo is a caring community committed to bringing justice for victims of this crime. They also say there
are several ways to get involved from donating time or resources to a number of local organizations in our area.

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