January is National Human Trafficking Awareness month
In her various community roles, she’s made contact with numerous
government and private organizations involved with combating modern day slavery, and her husband urged her to follow her passion to establish SWORDS.
Their mission is straightforward.
“We offer advocacy, educational awareness, and non-clinical support.
Connecting with other community-based organizations, our goal is to
assist and encourage the victim to change into an empowered survivor, receiving the best services possible for healing.”
Their largest push to date will be Saturday, January 11, 2020, a “Red Sand Event”, at the Florida City, City Hall sidewalk, 404 West Palm Drive, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Speakers from One Billion Rising, International Rescue Coalition, and
Department of Children and Family will provide critical information, and what are unquestionably disturbing statistics about an issue that impacts most of Florida.
“Of the estimated 40 million people in slavery today, 75% are women and girls, 25% are children. Right here in Miami Dade and Monroe counties there were (2018-2019) 198 cases of children in sex trafficking.”
“Red Sand” is why the event will be held on the sidewalk. Molly Gochman first launched her Red Sand Project in 2014 in Miami where she used red sand as a symbol. In pouring the visible sand onto the sidewalk, it settles into the cracks most people walk across each day and don’t notice. Drawing attention to them represents those victims who have “fallen through the cracks” of our consciousness. Each attendee Saturday will receive a small bag of red sand.
“Mayor Otis Wallace and the sitting city council members of Florida City have been great, giving unanimous approval for this Human Trafficking Event,”
Afterward, sponsors Exit One Taproom and their on-site Tacos and Tattoos, invites attendees or anyone who wishes to contribute to the effort to join them at Exit One. They will donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds to SWORDS.
Although Taylor is networked with organizations that can provide shelter, the SWORDS Community Closet helps with basic needs for victims in two ways.
First, if an individual finally decides to flee abuse, it is often opportunity rather than planned. That means grabbing whatever is available and easy to carry, which may not include extra clothes, personal hygiene items, etc.,.
In the second case, victims who are trying to begin a new life often need furniture and other household goods. Additionally, working with the Community Closet is a task all volunteers can help with.
“We do have to complete background checks and other screening for anyone who works directly with the victims,” Taylor explained. All the board members of SWORDS are in fact survivors of one or more types of abuse.
Not everyone is in a position to take action to support those who are trapped in trafficking or domestic abuse. For those who can help, attending the January 11, 2020 event or reaching out to Taylor and SWORDS is a way to start.