Last fall, Sisters Together Against Racism (STAR) invited a speaker to inform us about human trafficking in our area and to see if there was anything that we could do to help stop the spread of this fast-growing criminal enterprise which is so prevalent in our society today.
We recently found out that we could help by posting important numbers in the bath stalls of women’s restrooms, numbers alerting authorities and numbers that can be called anonymously.
We were shocked to find out the large numbers of victims in our area.
New Jersey’s close proximity to New York City , its many farms and its long coastline make it a good place for people to exploit immigrants and farm workers, many of whom are children.
Our many recreational and resort areas with massage parlors, spas and other types of “pampering” facilities also exploit people who may not have proper working papers for legal employment.
Most STAR members didn’t know that trafficking had to include force, fraud or coercion. Often girls and women are kidnapped or tricked and their passports or other identifying documents are taken away from them.
They may have thought that they would have legitimate employment but found out too late that they were being used for commercial sex work. If anyone wants to help, Atlantic County’s Anti-Trafficking Task Force (ATTAC) meets the 1st Wednesday of every month at the Salvation Army in Atlantic City.
Also, HEAAT (Helping to Educate and Advocate Against Trafficking) will send someone to speak to your group if you’d like to help.
Call HEATT Foundation at 609-517-1627 or Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-3737-888, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Wiz at Atlantic-Cape
On a much lighter note, The Wiz packed the Walter E. Edge Auditorium at Atlantic-Cape Community College Friday and Saturday, June 8 and 9 (see pics here).
Two shows only had a few empty seats and the third show sold out.
Unbelievable local talent ages two and up performed in this first for Just Right Productions.
Ken Moore, a retired educator, was the musical director for a live pit band of local musicians, as well as three outstanding vocalists. We are certainly looking forward to next year’s production, which is tentatively an adaptation of the classic Peter Pan.
National Action Network Heads to NYC
The quietness of the silent march was enough to make anyone think deeply about these issues. National Action Network A.C. President Steve Young led a group to the silent march on Saturday, June 16, in New York City.
On the bus, all was pleasant and full of community familiarity, but once in NYC, a serious tone took over as Atlantic City locals joined thousands of marchers to protest Stop and Frisk laws and racial profiling by law enforcement officers.
Americans of every ethnic background picked up their signs and banners and began the eerily quiet march down 5th Avenue to Mayor Bloomberg’s house.
Sadly, this is a very sensitive issue for A.C. locals, because our local police are notorious for their abuses against residents.
To view the march, go to youtube.com/stopandfrisksilentmarch.
Pictured here are Dorothy, played by LaTasha S. Hall; the Scarecrow, played by Elijah Mitchell; the Tin Man, played by Michael Carter; the Wiz, played by Jimmy King; the Cowardly Lion, played by Troy David and Phyllis Hawkins, the show’s director, as Evilene.
Turiya S.A. Raheem was born and raised in Atlantic City. Currently an English teacher at Atlantic Cape Community College, she loves to describe her neighborhood as “the other Atlantic City,” because it was not the casino-resort mecca most people know today. It was a place with a “cozy, down-home feeling” as she describes in her 2010 book, Growing Up in the Other Atlantic City: Wash’s and the Northside.
Eventually, both young men fell in love with skateboarding and wanted to pass it on as a way of giving back to their community.
Though the night was filled with spoken-word talent of all genres, children and young adults also spoke passionately about being bullied and the challenges of growing up in a society that glorifies violence but complains about the proliferation of violence and guns in our neighborhoods.
Wash's hosts 'Rewind - Live Radio Show,' bringing back sounds of Motown with several local talented performers.