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Programs offered in area to combat human trafficking

January 6, 2011

All aspects of this world-wide problem will be discussed in the coming months.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – There is actually a film involving sex, violence and children that advocates encourage the world to see in the light of day. To combat the ongoing battle against human trafficking in the state, Day One is asking all Rhode Islanders to help spread awareness and prevent the devastating exploitation of young women.

To support this effort, Day One will sponsor a screening of “Very Young Girls” on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. at 100 Medway St., Providence. Through real footage, viewers will be given a glimpse of the life thousands of young girls live every day to gage a better understanding and the effects of sexual exploitation, street prostitution, and human trafficking that is happening in our country.
While there is no trail of physical evidence (yet) of human trafficking in R.I., according to Day One and only one arrest in the state under the new trafficking laws, staff believes that such exploitation of unwilling young victims is replete in Rhode Island.
“We are just starting a survivor advocacy group, made up of survivors of child sexual abuse, interpersonal violence, stranger assault, etc., who are willing to share their experiences with the media. However, there are currently no survivors of trafficking in the group,” said Marlene Roberti, Director of Policy & Education of Day One. “It is estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 people, primarily women and children, are trafficked to the U.S. annually and Day One's own experience participating in raids at various brothels in the state, we believe that trafficking exists in Rhode Island.”
In response to the recent lone arraignment, Laura Pisaturo, Director of Advocacy and Legal Services for Day One, said, “This indictment brings needed attention to the reality of local sex trafficking and the exploitation of women and teenagers for profit. Day One will continue to work with prosecutors and law enforcement to ensure this form of human slavery ends in RI and we applaud the work of the Attorney General and Providence Police in this case.”
Space is limited for the film showing, so interested parties should contact Sarah DeCataldo at 401-421-4100, extension 141, or sdecataldo@dayoneri.org to register in advance.
Also on Tuesday, Jan. 11, community members are encouraged to observe a minute of silence at 11 a.m. and wear blue or a blue ribbonthroughout the day in honor of United Nation's Blue Heart Campaign to raise awareness, encourage involvement and inspire action to stop human trafficking.
To further prevent the exploitation of women, Day One is co-hosting with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the Rhode Island College School of Social Work a training session for social work and mental health providers. The program, entitled, “The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Girls: Understanding and Responding to Victims,” will take place on Friday, Jan. 7, at the Rhode Island College Faculty Center.
Providers will have the opportunity to learn key prevention tips and advice regarding intervening around commercial sexual exploitation of teen girls. Registration for this event is closed, but any additional interested parties should contact Sarah DeCataldo regarding future trainings.
Established in 1973 as the R.I. Rape Crisis Center, Day One is the only agency in R.I. organized specifically to deal with issues of sexualassault as a community concern. Day One's mission is to reduce theprevalence of sexual abuse and violence, and to support and advocate for those affected by it.
For more information, visit www.dayoneri.org

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