Human trafficking seminar in Kalamazoo aims to help victims recover


KALAMAZOO - Healing from human trafficking: A local group in Kalamazoo works to help victims who have been exploited.

The Kalamazoo Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition (KAHTC) will host a seminar Friday to make it easier to rejoin the community once victims escape human trafficking.

The KAHTC focuses on helping victims heal emotionally, physically and socially.

The seminar will be especially geared toward those who help victims escape trafficking and then re-enter society, including law enforcement officials, medical professionals and educators. It will help them understand the effects of trafficking and how they can help the victims.

Organizers said at some point we have likely all come into contact with someone who was forced into trafficking, so this will benefit the entire community. The KAHTC said community awareness is crucial.

"We do know that the most vulnerable people in our population are the most at risk. Youth that who are homeless or who have runaway, adults who have no support system, and so that person is able to target them, befriend them, give them positive attention and then pull them into being trafficked,” said Ben Moe, the vice chair of the Kalamazoo Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition.

Part of the seminar will include first-hand stories from Leslie King, a West Michigan woman who escaped trafficking and now shares her experience to help others.

The seminar will take place at the Lawrence Education Center at Ascension Borgess Medical Center from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m Friday. Organizers said there are still a few open spots for those who want to register on site.

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