MANCHESTER, NH — Interfaith Women of NH along with the NH Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force will present Human Trafficking: Hidden in Plain Sight April 29 at St. Catherine of Siena School auditorium.
Keynote speaker Jasmine Grace is a trafficking survivor from New England, formerly trafficked in New Hampshire. “I am Someone’s Daughter: Surviving Sex Trafficking and Addiction in America” is the title of her talk.
“I have come to know that when I share in a transparent and vulnerable way, it gives others a chance to do the same. And when we finally tell someone else about the prior abuse, or the trafficking we have endured, we open the door to healing,” says Jasmine.
The event begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. with an introduction to human trafficking and the work of the NH Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force, by Rebecca Ayling, project director.
The NH Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force strives to improve identification of victims of trafficking, support law enforcement to increase investigations and prosecutions of this crime, and improve New Hampshire’s ability to understand human trafficking.
The Collaborative comes together to combat both sex and labor trafficking across the State.
Ms. Ayling was educated for social service at UNH, interned in India and worked in children’s services in New Hampshire and England before returning to the Granite State in 2017. She began to work abroad in international counter-trafficking in 2015 and currently serves as manager of the Human Trafficking Response Program at Waypoint.
But the main focus of the April 29 program is the story of Jasmine Grace, as a survivor of sex trafficking and drug addiction.
Jasmine is a member of NSN (National Survivor Network), and is founder and director of Bags of Hope Ministries, and author of “The Diary of Jasmine Grace: Trafficked. Recovered. Redeemed.”
Jasmine has participated in a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights panel discussion in New Hampshire and has also sat in on side panels for members of the United Nations. In addition, Jasmine consults with healthcare professionals, law enforcement personnel, educators and nonprofit organizations. She advises on issues such as safe homes, program growth, curriculum development, survivor support and peer mentorship.
The final section of the event will include a panel discussion, to talk about local initiatives against human trafficking.
Participants on the panel:
Donna Plourde: Executive Director, Real Life Giving, an organization committed to combating sex trafficking and exploitation in NH. The organization provides education and training to professionals and community members; and, serves victims and survivors through street outreach, mentoring and support programs offered at “Revive,” a women’s care and support center in Manchester.
Bethany Cottrell: Founder, Brigid’s House of Hope, the first long-term safe house for victims of trafficking and exploitation in NH. In 2018, Bethany identified the need for housing of trafficked persons transitioning from victim to survivor. She brought together a group of professionals to create a Board for Brigid’s House of Hope toward that goal. Ms. Cottrell, who is Human Services director for Merrimack County, has worked with victims of sexual assault since 2005.
Jasmine Grace: Victim, survivor and founding director of Bags of Hope Ministry, a practical outreach program serving vulnerable women living on the streets or in programs, throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Rebecca Ayling: Project Director for Waypoint, Human Trafficking Response Program, an initiative to provide intensive, community-based case management for persons in NH experiencing any type of human trafficking. Ms. Ayling will speak about the role of a Manchester Police Detective dedicated to human trafficking investigations and support of trafficking victims through a victim-centered process of reporting and investigating trafficking with the goal of prosecuting traffickers.
Refreshments/Networking: Book sales, additional information and the opportunity to speak with presenters is offered from 8:30-9 p.m.