The organization was able to stay open as an essential service for the community
KENNEWICK, Wash. – COVID-19 didn’t slow down criminals in human trafficking, according to Mirror Ministries.
“COVID or no COVID, sex trafficking still is occurring,” Murphy Freeman said.
“It’s happening right under our noses,” Tricia MacFarland added.
Freeman, a Sex Trafficking Advocate and MacFarland, the Executive Director of Mirror Ministries said the pandemic required them to think outside of the box.
After all, they are a social service working in a time of social distancing.
“It’s hard to do social services without that social part and it’s been really important that’s why we’ve stayed open,” MacFarland said they’re considered essential.
“It has given us a new strategy on how to handle things,” Freeman added.
One of their biggest concerns is trafficking victims who aren’t being spotted because of closures. MacFarland fears once we return to normal, there will be a boom of trafficking cases.
“The needs are there right now, but we aren’t able to see them because kids aren’t in school, kids aren’t at the doctors kids aren’t at daycare, wherever those places are that things might have got spotted,” she said.
The organization also saw an increase in online trafficking.
“Particularly with our kids all home and all on devices all day long,” she said.
They amplified efforts to have an online presence to find victims. Freeman said they have advocates who can monitor the internet.
Despite pandemic hardships though, Mirror Ministries has had a great year of restoring lives.
“We have been able to do six relocation’s, that’s a blessing in itself because the airports are so not crowded. We have had family restorations. Many of our survivors entered into new housing,” Freeman said.
“In the midst of all this COVID season, we’ve seen 76 more people come to freedom,” MacFarland added.
During year of virtual gatherings, Mirror Ministries used the resource to keep up with fun activities like art classes.
“Baking classes, cooking classes, kick boxing and self defense. Our annual fundraiser was far more successful this year than it’s ever been; we had over twice the normal amount of people ‘attend,’” MacFarland said.
Both women credit the support from community organizations and volunteers for helping them during this year.
“Our community had been amazing, people have stepped forward and stepped up,” Tricia said.
There’s no doubt that 2020 has been difficult, but these women believe their clients are stronger because of it.
“2021 is just; it has nothing on 2020 for these guys,” Freeman said.
“It’s just really great to be able to hear the good, right?” MacFarland added.
Tri-Cities Trafficking Advocate Hotline 1-509-212-9995
National Hotline: 1-888-3737-888
Call 911 in an emergency
Signs of Sex Trafficking:
- Markings / branding tattoos
- Sub Culture Involvement
- Change in Behavior / Appearance
- Unexplained injuries
- Multiple pregnancies / abortions / STDs
- Multiple phones
- Expensive gifts
- Older boyfriend / girlfriend
- Unaware of where they are
- Unable to speak for themselves
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