Event will discuss human trafficking.

October 27, 2021

Event will discuss human trafficking.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

HART — Living in a rural area, there is often a sense of security from issues that have traditionally been linked to urban centers. One such issue is human trafficking. Sherry Motcheck of Shelby, one of the founders of the recently formed Forward Human Trafficking Task Force said trafficking exists in Mason and Oceana counties. Though it may not present itself as bluntly as it does in larger populated areas, it’s here, Motcheck said

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, a community forum will be held on the topic of human trafficking, titled Exposing the Truth on Trafficking, at 6:30 p.m. at Hart Middle School auditorium, 301 W. Johnson St., Hart.

Motcheck said the event’s intent is to link parents, educators and others in the community.

“One of the biggest things we are seeing around here is the use of the internet to draw in children,” Motcheck said. “Online gaming is a major culprit. It’s very easy for someone to hide behind a computer and pretend they are someone else. There have been several instances locally where a child has been drawn into exploitation by a sex trafficker.”

“Pretty much, if your child has a cell phone, computer, online gaming system or any access to the internet, traffickers have access to them,” Motcheck said.

Motcheck said human trafficking locally often is connected to economics.

“An example is someone who can’t afford rent,” Motcheck said. “The landlord comes to collect and the tenant offers his/her child. It’s also often a case of someone needing drugs.”

Motcheck serves as associate pastor of Prayer & Praise Assembly of God church in Ludington. But, she emphasizes that the organization is not only reaching out to the faith-based community.

“This is a topic that effects a wide variety of people,” Motcheck said. “Our intention is to fight sex trafficking using all the tools and resources we can.”

Motcheck said she has been involved in the fight against human trafficking for 11 years.

“This is the biggest social injustice that I have ever come across. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t try to change the life of even just one person that has been exploited. To look at them and say ‘You have a future,  You get to go forward from here. You get to hope forward. You get to dream forward.'”

Motcheck said over the years she has learned about the different types of human trafficking. In order to raise funds to promote awareness, she and her husband, Mike, formed Forward Human Trafficking Task Force.

“The purpose and mission of the task force is to form a coalition with law enforcement, educators, emergency personnel, judicial advocates and the general public in Mason and Oceana counties to end human trafficking. Our goal is to help fund existing organizations, raise awareness, provide education and advocate for victim services.”

To learn more about Forward HTTF, visit its website here or go to Facebook.

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