The Salvation Army lends expertise to human trafficking documentary
Key leaders in Western Territory engaged in groundbreaking work.
by Janet Chismar –
It’s hard to believe that in 21st century America—our own backyard—a wealthy Orange County family could “rent” a 13-year-old Egyptian girl and force her into domestic servitude. It’s even harder to believe that the girl’s parents sold their daughter for a mere $30.
Yes, slavery is alive and flourishing in the United States and around the world.
Recently a group of approximately 300 gathered in Hollywood to hear the girl’s story, learn about modern-day slavery and view the premier of Cargo: Innocence Lost. The documentary, by award-winning director Michael Cory Davis, reenacts the brutal violence and tactics forced onto victims as it showcases intense narratives from the nation’s top officials and abolitionists fighting back against human traffickers—including two from The Salvation Army.
Rohida Khan, based at Western Territorial Headquarters (THQ), and Michael Smith, who moved from national headquarters to the Southern California divisional office, were interviewed by the director last year and are featured in the film.
In her role as the Network for Emergency Trafficking Services (NETS) director for The Salvation Army, Khan is working to increase the identification of trafficking victims, training service providers and law enforcement officials how to respond to cases, and helping to meet the needs of victims in the area.
Smith provides clinical and management consultative services to the non-Los Angeles metro Salvation Army corps in the Southern California Division. He is working to increase public awareness of human trafficking, training staff on how to serve trafficking victims, and managing the delivery of services to rescued trafficking victims.
Some who attended the film premier and panel discussion said they were surprised that their “favorite charity” is actively involved in the fight against human trafficking.
“Since its inception, The Salvation Army has worked in communities around the world to address problems associated with exploited persons,” Smith explained. “The Salvation Army is known for its leadership position within the United States.”
In December 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice recognized that leadership and awarded a $1 million grant to The Salvation Army and its partners for a new initiative to reduce and eliminate the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the United States. THQ’s Adam Freer is coordinating the program for The Salvation Army.