Survivors bring awareness to human trafficking

Louisville human trafficking event raises awareness

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Saturday, an informative event on human trafficking in Louisville brought awareness to an issue too many people in our community can relate to.

Human trafficking doesn’t have one face attached to it. Survivors came together to speak up and help the community learn how they can protect their family, friends and strangers.

Summer Dickerson and Jeannette Westbrook are now human trafficking survivors.

“I’ve been buried alive,” Dickerson said. “I’ve been sold and beat.”

“Mine began at home,” Westbrook said. “Half of all human trafficking cases in the United States began at home.”

The women decided to speak up and use their voices to educate and help save other victims.

“Survivors themselves have organized and they’re the ones providing the exiting services,” Westbrook said.

Both women have taken a seat at the table of change. Westbrook prosecuted her own abusers, became a Louisville social worker and joined the human trafficking task force. Dickerson started Women of the Well Ministries to help survivors stand strong after freeing themselves from their abusers.

“Make your mark on the world,” Dickerson said. “Let them know -- you can’t sell me, you can’t beat me and I’m not going to shut up.”

Saturday, Dickerson and Westbrook put a face to the statistics, and to the power of saying something, when you see something.

Teena Halbig saw, spoke, then saved a victim.

“I provided the hotline number,” Halbig said. “When I went back to the store, the man said you helped someone she got help.”

Louisville has stepped up and into the fight for change. The city is working to provide training to hotel workers and TARC and truck drivers to notice the signs.

“It can be anyone that you see anywhere,” Halbig said.

“If we don’t handle this problem and get in front of it, it could be your child that gets trafficked next,” Dickerson said.

In March, survivors will go to the United Nations in New York to talk about what victims need to be successful.

If you or anyone you know needs help or more information on Human Trafficking, call 1-888-373-7888.

Copyright 2019 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.