Business

Houston Group Raises Awareness About Human Trafficking

Houston-based “United Against Human Trafficking” works to increase awareness of human trafficking. The group partnered with the recent Offshore Technology Conference to raise awareness.

The recent Offshore Technology Conference attracted thousands of participants from 130 countries. That made it a huge opportunity for United Against Human Trafficking to spread their message. 

“We are really big on education and awareness and ensuring that the community is aware that this is an issue in our city, and doing whatever we can to educate professionals and nonprofit organizations about really being able to identify victims of human trafficking,” said Timeka Walker, the group’s executive director of operations.

Anytime there’s a large event like OTC that draws in tens of thousands of people, more ads appear on Houston Craigslist advertising for discreet sexual services.

But Walker said her group didn’t specifically target the conference.

Walker: “OTC, you know, considering there’s over 100 countries represented, we want to do our best to make sure that everyone across the nation understands there’s an issue of human trafficking in the United States, but we’re here to rectify that.”

Mayberry: “And it’s not like that it’s because this is a problem particularly here at a large gathering of people? You know, you always think of conventions, you know, and conventioneers.”

Walker: “Well, we just think it’s an opportunity, since there’s so many people here, just to educate the community. It’s not particularly because it’s OTC. It’s any large event in the Houston area that we want to be present to make sure that everyone around the national as well as our city understand that we’re here and we’re educating people on human trafficking.”  

OTC says that the conference’s influence needs to extend beyond boosting business for local restaurants and hotels. As part of the partnership, United Against Human Trafficking trains OTC staff on human trafficking issues and identification.

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