COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Rotary Club of Columbus is teaming together with organizations and inviting members of the clergy to a special day of learning how to handle the sensitive topic of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is an on-going epidemic that is growing in our own backyard.
“We gathered a group of people, eight of us, to sit around the table and talk about what we needed to do," says Joseph Zanga, Community Coalition Chair for Human Trafficking. "Was there a problem in Georgia? Yes, there was a problem in Columbus, absolutely.”
Clergy members believe they have the ability to bring justice and peace to victims through faith.
“Today, we are focusing on giving pastors and ministers some things to think about, some thoughts about God and love, but also some resources in terms of using our sacred scriptures,” said Rabbi Beth Schwartz of Temple Israel.
Human trafficking can involve people of all ages and genders being kept and forced against their will to work for money.
Heather Carrington is a survivor after getting involved with the wrong crowd.
“I’ve been brutally raped, robbed, beaten. It’s almost like a brain washing you think you can’t do anything, if you did tell anybody they would think you were a lower form of life,” said Carrington.
Carrington is also a recovering drug addict, which happens often after being trafficked.
She says if it were not for her getting arrested for the last time, she would not be where she is today.
“When I was in jail, I said, ‘No more. This is my fresh start, I don’t have to go back to where I’m from,’” said Carrington.
Carrington has been clean and sober for six months and gives thanks to the House of Time for their recovery program.