“We must change the moral conscience of today,” Jody Hassett Sanchez said. “There is more slavery in the world today than ever; there are 20 million around the world.”
Sanchez, formerly of ABC News and CNN and now an acclaimed news and documentary producer, spoke recently to over 300 people at the annual “More Priceless Than Diamonds” Celebration Luncheon at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach
“This year’s “More Priceless than Diamonds” event built on last year’s success, bringing amazing people together to study the complex issue of human trafficking in our own backyard and beyond,” said Dr. Sandra Morgan, director of Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice. “For me, the luncheon takes an issue that is getting so much attention like human trafficking and brings it back to the idea that we are all created in Gods image; that one little girl, one woman, one little boy are all equally important. Everyone is valuable in God’s sight.”
The Global Center for Women & Justice is a faith-based organization that seeks to create a just world where women and children are safe, respected and valued. The Global Center carries out its mission through education, research, advocacy, and collaboration, working with students, educators law enforcement, healthcare, and community leaders, to end human trafficking and the cyber-exploitation of women and children in Orange County and worldwide.
“This was the second year for the event,” Dr. Morgan explained. “We called it a celebration because when the lunch was over, we were resourced to go further than we were last year, enlarging our capacity to reach beyond our own walls. Because we are a higher education institution, we can create learning opportunities that equip our students to be global citizens so that they’re not just prepared to get a job, but they’re prepared to get a job that changes the world.”
“With a horrific issue like child sexual exploitation, we need to understand that the battle isn’t just in Thailand or in India, but includes people in our own community,” she continued. “We had 226 victims of human trafficking rescued last year in Orange County; 36 were victims of labor trafficking, and 63 were minors, children who were being sexually exploited in Orange County. Those were just the ones we found. People don’t see the others, or don’t know how to report them.”
Dr. Morgan said they hope to train more local teachers, juvenile justice professionals, probation officers, school administrators, and the public that if they see something that doesn’t seem right, they should call the hotline.
Dr. Morgan shared a story highlighting the power of increased awareness and education about human trafficking.
Two years ago she was in Zambia training community leaders about the issue.
“Zambia is very oral learning community so I told lots of stories,” Dr. Morgan said. “Everybody went home and told the same stories to their families and the community. Two years later, six kids between ages 12 and 15 were going to work in the city for what seemed like a legitimate offer. When they got there, they were put in separate hotel rooms, which is not the norm. One of the kids remembered the story, and he climbed out the bathroom window and went to the police station. The police came and rescued the kids before they were trafficked and the bad guys went to prison.”
“That kind of community education that keeps on producing good results is what we want to do,” she continued. “We want to educate our students so they can really make an impact here and internationally.”
The hotline number is (888) 373-7888. For further information, visit vanguard.edu/gcwj.
Cindy can be reached at [email protected]