“(Victims) might be exploited just to go out and clean houses and bring back money to their trafficker, or they may be selling them for sex or something of that nature on Craigslist,” Cumins said. “(The public) needs to be aware so we can rescue these people out of these situations if they want to be rescued.”
To increase awareness and raise money to help rescue and rehabilitate trafficking victims, Cumins has organized a Stop Traffick 5K for Saturday, Aug. 11 at 8 a.m. at Jensen Nature Park, 3176 S. Bluff Road, in Syracuse.
All funds donated will go to Women at Risk (WAR), International, which is a non-profit organization that creates “circles of protection” around victimized women and children. The group rescues enslaved women and children around the world and takes them to safe houses, which are often disguised as local businesses. There, the women learn vocations such as jewelry making and get medical and psychological care. Each rescue costs about $250.
“On the human side of it, we need to stop it, and kind of for our own safety as well,” Cumins said.
Her interest was piqued when members of WAR International spoke to her congregation at Christian Life Center in Layton.
There are at least 15,000 victims of trafficking in the United States alone, according to estimates from the FBI. They include not only adult and child prostitutes, but also women forced into marriages and domestic, restaurant and factory workers who are never paid. Organized crime groups, terrorists and drug traffickers are often the abusers, and they have gotten more violent in recent years, according to the agency.
Worldwide, there are millions of victims of the illegal trade, which nets criminals billions of dollars per year.
In one case, a Layton woman was kidnapped and taken all the way to Japan before she escaped, said Cumin’s fellow organizer Jennifer Scariano, of Clinton.
For more information check out the August 2 edition of Davis Clipper.