With the mantra of knowledge is power, Jody Dyess, director of Say Something organization, has spoken to more than 400,000 students nationwide in high and middle school assemblies about human trafficking.
On Tuesday, he shared his message to two audiences – one as a professional development session, the other as a student seminar at Meridian Community College’s Dulaney Room. His talks, Enslaved: A Look at Human Trafficking, were sponsored by the College’s academic honor society, Phi Theta Kappa.
“It’s a heavy topic,” said MCC PTK Advisor Phyllis Holladay. “Our PTK officers learned about human trafficking while researching their Honors in Action project this year. Ignoring that the problem exists will not make it disappear,” she said. In taking action, the organization offered the sessions for the college and community.
Dyess said, “It’s important to talk about it within the college setting.” Once the listener understands what the law states, then they realize what a trafficking victim really is, he noted.
“It’s not the movie “Taken,” it’s not what TV cop shows portray it to be.” In his talk, Dyess shared what the laws state and how trafficking victims are obtained. He said the oldest victim he has encountered was 30 years old; the youngest, 5 years of age. Most of the victims are women and children who have been kidnapped, tricked, coerced, sold by family or have run away.
“So, the more people who know about human trafficking, the more people who see it, the more light is thrown at it. That’s the No. 1 problem, we don’t have enough people bringing attention to it.
“My goal is to bring awareness to it to fight it,” Dyess added.
MCC sophomore Dunnam Shirley, PTK president, agreed in the importance of shedding light on the subject. “It’s definitely a problem. It’s important for my classmates and me to see and understand the consequences of this atrocity.”
PTK partnered with Weems Mental Health to host the sessions. Care Lodge and NFusionX informational booths were included.