Released 15 March 2007
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Salvation Army Helping Marylanders Recognize Victims of Human Trafficking
(Baltimore, March 15, 2007) According to law enforcement, The Trafficking of humans for forced labor and sex is the second largest criminal industry in the world after drug dealing and amongst the fastest growing crimes in Maryland. For The Salvation Army, it took little more than the plea of a local victim to instigate its newest effort to make available" Look Beneath The Surface" brochure to help area residents identify victims of Human Trafficking among the people we help everyday.
"I had heard of human or sex trafficking and new it was a serious issue." Explains Shana Toth, Director of Booth House, The Salvation Army's Emergency and Transitional Housing Shelter for homeless, women, children and families in Baltimore. "But, it wasn't until Mary came to us seeking food and shelter that I even fathomed that this was a substantial problem in the Baltimore Area."
According to Toth, Mary, who had been a trafficking victim since who was abused and forced into prostitution, has long-escaped her captors but has help to fully regain control of her life and well-being. Mary's arrival at Booth House stimulated Toth to research the history and impact of Human Trafficking so she and her staff could better assist their client. In doing so, Toth discovered that The Salvation Army itself is part of national effort to rescue and restore victims of human trafficking of which the brochures are a vital tool to victims and those who suspect they may know a trafficking victim.
The brochure, created by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, provides information on Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking, Sample Questions to Ask Potential Victims and Human Trafficking, and a Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline.
Since Mary's arrival and departure, The Salvation Army has contacted local agencies and the Baltimore City's States Attorney's office to offer its staff and resources as partners in their efforts to aid these victims.
"We are still in the early stages of formulating a structured program to meet at minimum the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter for local victims." Explains Toth, "Step One was to help Mary. Step 2-to help better inform the public, Steps 3, 4 and beyond will be formulated as we uncover more about what, where and how The Salvation Army will be needed and what we will need to be successful."
To obtain the Look Beneath The Surface Brochure, at no charge, call 410-783-2920, contact your nearest Salvation Army location (thrift stores excluded), or visit us online at www.tsabaltimore.org
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