Thursday, September 12, 2013

Human Trafficking in West Michigan and the Manasseh Project

Guest speaker at the Comstock Park Rotary Meeting today was Andy Soper.  Andy is program director for the Manasseh Project, an outreach ministry of Wedgwood Christian Services.  Its mission is to end the sexual exploitation of young men and women in West Michigan through community education and collaboration, and by providing support for victims of human trafficking. This includes educating social workers, educators, members of the judicial system, police officers as well as the general public. They help youth, especially at risk youth to recognize human trafficking, and provide group therapy, counseling services and residential treatment for victims.  Andy explained that while this is currently not a problem of epidemic proportions in West Michigan, it exists here, in Michigan, the entire USA and the world.

Andy stated that Michigan legislators are currently debating legislation that would recognize under age prostitutes as victims rather than perpetrators of a crime, considering is it against the law to have sex with a minor.  Members of the audience were encouraged to contact their legislator in support of such legislature, which is spearheaded by the Michigan Human Trafficking Taskforce
More information is available at their website

Andy Soper and C.P. Rotary President Melissa Graveling

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