Central Florida has one of the major concentrations of human trafficking in the country. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Often, people fall victim to trafficking as young as middle school age. Trafficking does not just occur in certain parts of town, in fact victims are sought in places just like Winter Park.
There are 3 things our parish is doing to help the victims of human trafficking.
First, on Monday, August 21, at 7:00 p.m.
We will host Dr. Jeffrey W. Goltz, Executive Dean of Public Safety, Valencia College. Dr. Goltz will discuss his newly published book, Human Trafficking: A System-Wide Public Safety and Community Approach. The book covers the impact of human trafficking and how to fight it, with specific references and applications to central Florida. Members of the Diocesan Task Force on Human Trafficking will also be present. Awareness and recognition of this issue is key to combatting it.
Second, the weekend of August 26/27, between Masses, we are doing a backpack drive.
The parish is providing backpacks that we ask you to fill with donations of personal items, such as toiletries, $10 gift cards to Publix, Walmart, etc., or donations for bus passes. These will be placed in the backpack and provided to women who escape trafficking and are living in shelters for protection. Once they receive their backpack, it may be the only possession they own. Please see the church website for a link listing suggested items to donate. Backpacks will be set out near the church exits after Masses. No need to take them, simply put in your donations and we will make sure each person at the shelter receives a full backpack.
- Hand Towel
- Wash Cloth
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste
- Feminine Products
- Tissues & Wet Ones Wipes
- Flip Flops
- Sweat Pants & Sweat Shirt
- Underwear, bra and socks
- $10-15 gift certificate from a grocery store, pharmacy, Walmart, or Target
- Straight Talk phones, phone minutes
- Bus passes ($4.50 for an all-day unlimited pass – donate cash or check & SMM will purchase the passes from Lynx)
Third, during the month of August, all packages of newborn and size 1 diapers that are donated will be given to Harbor House.
Harbor House is a safe haven for survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking and is the only state-certified shelter operating in Orange County, Florida. It has evolved into one of the most comprehensive domestic abuse centers in the U.S. and is considered a national leader in domestic abuse intervention, awareness and prevention. Some of the women who enter Harbor House are mothers of newborn and small children and have escaped trafficking with no resources to provide for their children.