The Coast News Group

Dove Library to host human trafficking awareness event

CARLSBAD — Modern Day Slavery in San Diego County, a free public event providing insight on human trafficking, is scheduled for Oct. 21 at the Dove Library in Carlsbad. The event will be emceed by Kaye Van Nevel of Soroptimist International Vista.

Attendees will watch a screening of a 20-minute documentary film, “Chosen,” which highlights two American girls who were betrayed by men they thought were their boyfriends and exploited into a life of trafficking.

Van Nevel will lead a discussion with panelists Summer Stephan, district attorney of San Diego County, and Jaimee Johnson, a counselor and founder of Sister of the Streets. 

The League of Women Voters North County San Diego, American Association of University Women, Soroptimist, Sisters of the Streets and North County Life Line are hosting the event. Each of the nonpartisan groups aims to educate individuals on issues of public interest.

Van Nevel said the event is about human trafficking, but specifically the sexual exploitation of women, girls and boys. She said “Chosen,” portrays what can happen to any girl in the United States.

“It shows how easily girls are lured to a life of sex trafficking,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what ethnicity or educational level or economic strata, it covers all of that.” 

According to Van Nevel, any girl can be a target and 80 percent of the girls and women who are trafficked in the United States are citizens of the country. Van Nevel also said she hopes that people attend this event to learn more about this epidemic.

Awareness is the first step, she said. Once people are educated, they will know what to look for as well as the signs. 

Van Nevel said she is happy to assist and serve as emcee of the event. Soroptimists have been involved in the fight against human trafficking for about 12 years. Van Nevel also leads the San Diego County Human Trafficking Collaborative.

“I was asked to help because both representatives of the League of Women Voters and the AAUW had never done anything like this before,” she said. “So, when they learned that I had some experience, they asked if I would help.”

The growing awareness of human trafficking stresses the need for more shelters, Van Nevel said. The hope is to increase the shelter footprint to help women fleeing a life of trafficking, she said, and provide them with the haven they need to heal and move forward.

The free event begins at 10 a.m. Oct. 21 at the Schulman Auditorium at Dove Library in Carlsbad at 1775 Dove Lane. Doors open at 9:15 a.m.