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  • Writer's pictureGrace Episcopal Church


By Deacon Mary Delancey

Tales of rescue are sensational and exciting, and for that reason we hear about them more often. But the hard work of prevention has very little glamor or thrill attached to it. Prevention is serious work without the adrenaline rush.

The crime of human trafficking hinges on the exploitation of another person. Traffickers target vulnerabilities and will look to satisfy whatever need an individual has, whether it’s providing basic needs like food or shelter or emotional support.

A lack of access to education, health care, and financial stability limit opportunity and creates systemic vulnerabilities for individuals and communities. To target these vulnerabilities requires the whole community to work toward the welfare of all community members.

Every action we take to strengthen our community and its members lessens vulnerability to exploitation (and other forms of violence). Every time we give to United Way we support their Strong Families and Reading Pals programs. When we donate to Interfaith Emergency Services, we help people get through the day without worrying when they will next eat. Through Women’s Pregnancy Center we give young parents hope. Providing gifts and activities for the teen group homes of the Arnette House, helps the residents feel valued and cared for at a particularly difficult time in their lives. And not the least, when we strengthen children and youth programs and intergenerational relationships in our own church, we tell our young people that they are important and have a network of people who care for them.

When we talk about human trafficking, don’t walk away from the problem feeling like there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Instead look around and ask what you are doing, and what more you can do to make Ocala a safer place, especially the most vulnerable.

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