Human Trafficking Here at Home: The Salvation Army Lights the Way for Survivors
PITTSBURGH (January 11, 2024) – January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month and January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Despite these awareness campaigns, human trafficking is a major, yet often unseen problem around the world and here at home in Pennsylvania. The Salvation Army’s LIGHT Project, Leading Individuals Gracefully out of Human Trafficking, is dedicated to raising awareness and providing support to survivors in Pittsburgh and The Salvation Army’s surrounding 28-county Western Pennsylvania service area.
“Human trafficking isn’t something that happens somewhere else, labor and sex trafficking is happening in our communities and in our neighborhoods,” Lauren Fair, Divisional Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army Western Pennsylvania Division said. “We are grateful to have a dedicated staff and strong collaborations with local partners in the fight against human trafficking. This support makes it possible for survivors to find light on their long journeys to safety, stability and self-empowerment.”
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates there are 49.6 million people enslaved in the world today. The ILO also estimates human trafficking generates $150.2 billion in illegal profits each year. The Salvation Army’s LIGHT Project is unique and helps survivors of both labor and sex trafficking. The program serves all genders, provides housing and meets immediate needs for shelter through partner agencies. In fiscal year 2023, The Salvation Army’s LIGHT Project served 64 adults and one minor, 46 survivors were female and 19 were male, 37 were survivors of sex trafficking, 27 escaped labor trafficking and there was one case of both sex and labor trafficking. Of the survivors served, 53 were US citizens and 12 foreign nationals.
To increase awareness of this issue, The Salvation Army, in collaboration with PMI Digital, has created a powerful video campaign. The spot was recently announced as a finalist for PRSA Pittsburgh’s 2024 Renaissance Awards in the nonprofit communications campaign category. Click here to watch and share. Video spots will also air on local cable and streaming platforms in the coming months.
On Saturday, January 20, The Salvation Army will serve as a partner and have a table at the Survivors Speak event taking place at Pittsburgh’s City-County Building, hosted by Eden’s Farm. Survivors Speak will feature a panel discussion where survivors of human trafficking will share personal insights and recommendations in addressing human trafficking.
The Salvation Army has historically been on the frontlines fighting human trafficking since the time of founders William and Catherine Booth in London, England – advocating to raise the legal age of consent to sexual acts. The Salvation Army has 40 anti-trafficking programs across the nation, including the LIGHT Project in Western Pennsylvania.
Visit salvationarmywpa.org/lightproject and follow @TheLIGHTProjectWPA on Instagram to learn more about this local initiative. For immediate support, call the 24/7 national human trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888, or text “befree” (233733) to get connected across the United States.
Celebrating over 150 years of global service as both a church and a social service organization, The Salvation Army began in London, England in 1865. Today, it provides critical services in 134 countries worldwide. The 28-county Western Pennsylvania Division serves thousands of needy families through a wide variety of support services. To learn more about The Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania, visit salvationarmywpa.org. The Salvation Army … doing the most good for the most people in the most need.