Human trafficking is a national problem that impacts both Queens and Rockaway.

Theresa Racine

Rockaway resident Theresa Racine is the coordinator for the January 16 Program at the Culinary Kids Farm site.

The question of human trafficking is coming to Rockaway via a seminar that will include both a movie about the topic and a group discussion that will be held at Arverne, in the winterized tent at 444 Beach 58 Street in Arverne at 12:30 p.m. on January 16.

The event is hosted by Farm Rockaway, the Culinary Kids,, UNICEF, Global Citizen and the NYPD’s 101 Precinct. The tent is between Beach Channel Drive and Almeda Avenue.

Theresa Racine, the coordinator for the event, said that January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month adding that human trafficking is a growing crime that happens all around the world.

“We have it happening right in our own back yard,” she says. “Trafficking comes in many forms: Sex trafficking, labor trafficking, organ trafficking, and the list goes on and on. Human trafficking is a billion dollar industry. It’s all about the money. Supply and demand is the drive of the traffickers. Human being are being used over and over. People who have been trafficked sometimes never see a sunrise or a sunset. They are chained, abused, some have been kidnapped and some are just coheres. So with 30 million and counting this crime has to be recognized as it is Modern Day Slavery.”

She points out that this is a national problem, even commented on recently by President Barack Obama.

“Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights causes of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it — in partnership with you. The change we seek will not come easy, but we can draw strength from the movements of the past. For we know that every life saved — in the words of that great Proclamation — is ‘an act of justice’; worthy of ‘the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God’,” Obama said.

According to the FBI, the women involved with human trafficking are trapped in lives of misery—often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take grueling jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay. We’re working hard to stop human trafficking—not only because of the personal and psychological toll it takes on society, but also because it facilitates the illegal movement of immigrants across borders and provides a ready source of income for organized crime groups and even terrorists.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center said that statistics for 2014, the latest available, show that California is the state with the most trafficking, with New York coming in fourth and that the large percentage of those trafficked are women who are forced or coerced into the sex trade as prostitutes.

The group, Not My Life is also involved in the event.

Challenging though it may be, Not My Life’s message is ultimately one of hope. Victims of slavery can be set free and go on to live happy and productive lives. Those who advocate for slavery victims are growing in numbers, and are increasingly effective. At this crossroads for the defining human rights issue of our time, Not My Life tells us, as the late Jonathan Mann said, “We can no longer flee, no longer hide, no longer separate ourselves.”