This Book to Action report from Bri Webber at Inglewood Public Library showcases one Book to Action success story. Even with staffing shortages and a compressed timeline, they were able to get creative and partner with multiple agencies for a successful program that engaged their community and encouraged cooperation and action. Thank you to Bri Webber and Joel Rane, along with the partners and community below.
To mark National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, January 11, 2017, the Inglewood Public Library hosted a community meeting on human trafficking and with an emphasis on the Airport/Inglewood area. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about 300,000 children are trafficked in the U.S. every year. The International Labor Organization’s 2014 report indicates human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the 21st century, It is estimated that it is $150 billion dollar business and is the 3rd largest global criminal enterprise after weapons and drugs, with only one difference: guns and drugs cannot be resold over and over again. California harbors three of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation. The Los Angeles area is one of those areas.
Our goal was to highlight trafficking in our area, how to recognize it, how to report it/prevent it and to recognize the local organizations who are fighting against this phenomena. We partnered with several groups which included the Inglewood Police Department, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) Survivor Advisory Caucus, Saving Innocence, local author Pamela Samuels Young, whose book Anybody’s Daughter, deals with sex trafficking in the Los Angeles area, and a survivor of trafficking whose story would give our community insight into the experience of being a trafficked in the Los Angeles area.
We were pleasantly surprised by the 75 person turnout, which to date has been our largest attended program of its kind. Members from the community, parents, teens, Councilmembers, and other concerned community members attended the 6:00 p.m. program. After each guest presented, the floor was opened up to a question and answer session with the audience. With this portion led by the Inglewood Police Department, the audience was very engaged and had the opportunity to ask specific questions about trafficking in the Inglewood area. After the program concluded, the audience and the presenters were given the opportunity to intermingle and many of our residents were inspired to find ways that they could support the organizations. It was such a successful program, we were asked by the attendees to make this an annual program, with the idea that as the years pass and more people are aware that this is happening close to home we will be able to stamp out trafficking in our community.