Human Trafficking | Graphic by Dylan Collison | The Wright State Guardian
Human trafficking exists as one of the most dangerous threats against women around the world. Locally, an organization called Sidewalk Soldiers has been inspiring the Dayton community to help make a difference for human trafficking victims.
Sidewalk Soldiers is a Dayton 501c3 non-profit organization that seeks to provide hope, help and healing to women who have experienced human trafficking or drug addiction.
Originally founded by a small group of sex trafficking survivors, the organization now operates with a team of advocates from many walks of life. To date, they have helped over 200 women and have seen countless success stories.
What they do
The original group of survivors formed an outreach team to go into high trafficking/drug-ridden areas to share their story in hopes of inspiring or helping other victims to escape and seek a better life. In addition, the latest efforts are hosting virtual events to raise awareness and looking for more people to volunteer and/or donate.
“My most memorable moment was at a street outreach that we encountered 17 ladies in a short amount of time. We had two folks call for help from that outreach. One has been off the streets for three years now,” one member of Sidewalk Soldiers who wished to remain anonymous said.
WSU Human Trafficking Panel Update
At one point, there was a Human Trafficking Awareness panel at WSU that was started by a Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies alum. However, WSU Intercultural Specialist Emily Yantis-Houser indicated that this was a student-led panel and has died out since those students graduated.
How WSU students can help
WSU students can help by volunteering to help this organization, fundraising and/or raising awareness by talking about the issue of trafficking and spreading information to help people who are at risk.
Sidewalk Soldiers Board member Amy Cornelius provided several events and opportunities that WSU students may participate in to make a difference in the Dayton community.
“There are many ways your talents can be used to impact others. You can sponsor an outreach, or host a collection or drive at your work, small groups, or church. You can also help by knowing the signs of human trafficking and spreading the word about Sidewalk Soldiers,” Cornelius said.
Additionally, the following are upcoming events that WSU students are invited to participate in if they are interested in getting involved:
- April 14: Human Trafficking 101 and Survivor’s Story at Dayton Engineers Club
- May 20 at 7 p.m.: Human Trafficking Zoom Presentation (sign up at https://go.oncehub.com/AdultEducation)
- May: Safe House Outreaches (dates and times vary; please reach out to Sidewalk Soldiers to confirm schedule as it becomes available at [email protected]