PITTSBURG — Safehouse Crisis Center’s upcoming awareness events will focus on human trafficking and stalking.
The events are part of the Crisis Center’s monthly Lunch and Learns. January is both National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and National Stalking Awareness Month.
“It gives us a good opportunity to take advantage of national awareness and connect the community to educate them on these topics, and resources for those who are experiencing those things,” Safehouse Prevention Education Specialist Ali Smith said.
From noon to 1 p.m. on Jan. 15, Safehouse will host a Lunch and Learn at the Pittsburg Fire Department training room at 911 W. 4th Street. Attendees must bring their own lunch. The presentation will go over definitions, recognizing human trafficking, the prevalence of human trafficking in Kansas, the power and control wheel of sex trafficking, labor versus sex trafficking, potential red flags and resources, a release from Safehouse said.
The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally, a release from Safehouse said. There were at least 68 reported cases of human trafficking in Kansas in 2017.
The numbers come from hotlines and agencies which then report the to the Attorney General Office.
Although the numbers have gone up every year since 2011, Smith said the increase is more than likely people being educated on recognizing signs of stalking and human trafficking.
From 6 p.m through 8 p.m. on Jan. 31, Safehouse Crisis Center's Campus Victim Advocate along with Students for Violence Prevention and other student organizations at Pittsburg State University and community partners is hosting "Breaking the Chains of Human Trafficking," an event to raise awareness and educate the campus and community about different aspects of human trafficking including prevalence, dynamics, resources and support.
The evening will begin with educational tables and activities and follow with a question and answer panel of professionals, Smith said.
To educate southeast Kansas residents about the “dynamics of stalking, how to support survivors, and free and confidential resources,” Safehouse is hosting two more events in January.
On Jan. 22, the organization will host “The Portrayal of Stalking in the Media: 'Stalking for Love' Trope” event at 6:30 p.m. at Pittsburg Public Library.
According to the release from Safehouse, “stalking for love is a popular media trope where invasive stalker-like behavior is presented as an endearing or harmless part of romantic courtship. The hero will often go to extraordinary lengths to coerce, trick, or otherwise manipulate their way into the love interest's life.”
There will be a short film and discussion about the portrayal of stalking in the media, movies, TV shows, books and more during the event. Myths and facts of stalking, along with resources in the community for survivors will be discussed. “Stalking behavior is portrayed as romantic or harmless or part of dating relationships, when in fact it is very serious,” Smith said.
From noon to 1 p.m. on Jan. 29, Safehouse will host a Lunch and Learn on the Dynamics of Stalking at the Pittsburg Fire Department training room at 911 W. 4th Street. Attendees can bring their own lunch.
The presentation will go over definitions, recognizing stalking, the intersections of stalking and domestic violence and stalking and sexual violence, protection orders, safety planning and resources.
According to the release, “approximately 1 in every 6 U.S. women and 1 out of every 19 U.S. men have been stalked in their lifetime.
“Stalking is very prevalent and intertwines with domestic violence and sexual violence we see at Safehouse,” Smith said.
Next month, is National Teen Dating and Violence Awareness month, Safehouse will have a lunch and learn on this topic in February. Official dates can be found on Facebook at Safehouse Crisis Center, Inc.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.