January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Members of the Dorchester County Council issued a proclamation to For All Seasons Outreach and Events Coordinator Denae Spiering on Jan. 8, in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Month. From the left are Council Members Lenny Pfeffer, Jay Newcomb, Ricky Travers, Ms. Spiering, and Council Members Libby Nagel and William Nichols.

CAMBRIDGE — Members of the Dorchester County Council have proclaimed January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The move on Jan. 8 addresses an issue that has received increased attention nationally and locally in recent years.

In reading the proclamation, Member Lenny Pfeffer (Dist. 4), said, “Maryland has one of the highest rates of human trafficking in the nation.” The term’s definition includes sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion when the person so induced has not yet reached 19 years of age; and the recruitment, harboring, or transportation of a person used for labor or services through the use of force, fraud or coercion, for the purpose of involuntary servitude.

“Dorchester County recognizes the considerable moral and economic harm of human trafficking,” he said, as a way to bring hope to those suffering its effects.

Outreach and Events Coordinator Denae Spiering of For All Seasons accepted the proclamation. She said her organization, active throughout the Eastern Shore, offers classes and resources for professionals dealing with the issue.

She said the Eastern Shore’s location near metropolitan transportation corridors mean that trafficking is prevalent in the area. Ms. Spiering said. “I appreciate you all acknowledging that.”

A statement on For All Seasons’ website, www.forallseasonsinc.org says, “While movements like #MeToo have started to bring crimes like sexual harassment and sexual assault out of the shadows, human trafficking largely remains hidden. Putting an end to human trafficking starts with acknowledging its existence.”

Harriett’s House is a site in Cambridge dedicated to assisting those who have been affected. The organization was founded last year “to combat human trafficking and to bring freedom and healing to women who have been sexually exploited through raising awareness, educating communities and providing outreach, drop-in centers and long-term restorative care,” its social media site says.

The group is looking for help. “Come join us for our volunteer orientation — the first step in the volunteer process. Learn more about human trafficking and Harriett’s House. You must also pay for and pass a background check to volunteer with us. Please secure your free ticket to attend,” a statement on the site says. The orientation will take place Feb. 1, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Harriett’s House is at 409 Muir St., Cambridge. Call 443-786-1843 for information.

For All Seasons’ main office is at 300 Talbot St., Easton. For information, call 410-822-1018.

For the English-language crisis hotline, call 800-310-7273 or 410-820-5600. For the Spanish-language hotline, call 410-829-6143.