My Freedom Day is a nationwide movement spreading awareness about modern day slavery… like human trafficking and child exploitation. A local nonprofit is asking people in the Tucson area to get involved.The latest data on sex trafficking in Pima County was shared last week, including a study showing 40% of the participants had experienced sex trafficking in tucson.After that story— Lisa Hansen reached out to Nine On Your Side. She experienced sex trafficking, but after finding the power in her pain, she’s determined to break the cycle.My freedom day is March 16th but she wants to get as many people involved as possible over the next couple days-and here’s why.“My story didn’t start with human trafficking it started with sexual abuse at a very very young age,” said Hansen.She believes this is common- the younger the child, the easier it is to get away with abuse.“They don’t have a voice. they’ve not been taught the signs to look for, they’ve not been taught who they can report to, they’ve not been taught body safety,” she said.She said the normalization of that abuse is eventually what led her to trafficking…but she wants to make sure no child falls into runaway, trafficking, or domestic violence statistics.“I mean I hit all three of those target points right there, and all of that could have been avoided if there had been a conversation when I was younger,” she said.Hansen mentions the study Nine On Your Side covered last week highlighting how trafficking can often be a method of survival for homeless youth.“You talked about the homeless and the runaway youth because a lot of people consider that to be a choice that they’re making, when in reality they’re trying to survive.”The study shared those who experienced trafficking actually agreed to it for a place to stay, food, or money.She said other common methods predators use are through social media by pretending to be someone they’re not. So that’s why Hansen has initiated those conversations with her nonprofit, “Power Over Predators.”She and her volunteers are asking parents and students to join the My Freedom Day movement by making a sign and posting it to social media.“Sex trafficking is so internet driven, well then let’s use the internet for good. Let’s take the rights back of our children and their freedom on that day. I’m just asking to take a picture of yourself standing outside marching with your kid with just a little video holding that sign that says “my freedom day” and who you’re marching for.”Last week Councilman Steve Kozachik said state agencies reported 50 child sex trafficking cases in Tucson last year.He said he’s been working to find a robust response at the city level.
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