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Preston Ecumenical Progressive Dinner to address human trafficking

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Jun 7th, 2013
Posted in Preston Features

By Mitch Walbridge

A huge problem in today’s society plagues the United States as human trafficking has taken the title of the “fastest growing crime in the U.S.,” second only to illegal drug trafficking. The illegal industry is estimated to secure nearly $40 billion each year, which shows how severe of a problem human trafficking is.

Today, human trafficking is often defined as the modern day form of slavery in which human beings are traded for the purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Individuals, including men, women, and even children are bought, sold, and smuggled as they are illegally traded in this horrific industry. In the trading process it is not uncommon for the victims to be beaten, starved, or worse.

According to the 2012 Minnesota Trafficking in Minnesota Report to the Legislature, the U.S. State Department estimates that between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every day. The State Department also estimates that between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year.

Human trafficking commonly occurs in the state of Minnesota as well. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ranks Minnesota as the 13th largest center for human trafficking of children.

Because the problem has hit so close to home, there are numerous efforts to battle the problem human trafficking in Minnesota, including one to be held in Preston, Minn. on June 12. The 39th annual Preston Ecumenical Progressive Dinner will feature a presentation titled Human Trafficking: Stop the Silence and will take place on Wednesday evening to bring more awareness to human trafficking and what can be done to stop it.

The Preston Ecumenical Progressive Dinner begins at 6:00pm at the United Methodist Church in Preston for a salad course. Attendees will advance to Christ Lutheran Church at 6:45pm for the main course. Lastly, at 7:30pm attendees will meet at St. Columban’s Catholic Church for dessert and to listen to the featured guest speakers.

This year’s speakers will be Sister Anne Walch and Sister Briana McCarthy of the Sisters of St. Francis in Rochester, Minn. The Sisters will address human trafficking in a way that will allow the public to learn about the gruesome industry and how to help end its presence in our state and around the world.

The public is welcome, including both men and women, to attend this year’s event in efforts to cease human trafficking in today’s society.

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