Sex Trafficking Vigil Held in Two Harbors

Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force Aims to Stop Trafficking Before It Starts

TWO HARBORS, Minn. – January is Human Trafficking and Sex Trafficking Awareness Month.

Monday, in Two Harbors, a vigil was held honoring the victims of sex trafficking.

The Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force held their annual vigil in memory of those who lost their lives to sex exploitation and in solidarity with those who continue to be victimized.

The Task Force started several years ago to make the Two Harbors area aware that sex trafficking is all around them.

The Task Force wants to stop sex trafficking before it starts by teaching the signs people should watch out for. Those signs include older men with young women and women not allowed to speak for themselves.

“We agree this is God’s country. We live in the perfect place and we live in a wonderful place but people are people and things are going to happen anywhere and everywhere and sex trafficking is one of those things,” said Sue Hilliard, founder and co-leader of the Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force. “It doesn’t have any boundaries.”

Joy Friedman, a trafficking survivor, spoke at the vigil about her decades as a victim.

She says the lifestyle is not a choice for victims, it’s vicious and violent, and that men are the key to ending trafficking.

“Don’t be afraid to stand up against men who feel that this is acceptable because, if it’s your mother and your sister, how are you going to feel about it? If it’s your daughter, how are you going to feel about it?” asked Friedman. “So, men are the ones who are mainly the buyers so, unless we can reach them, this won’t stop.”

Advocates say if you notice the signs of sex trafficking, call 911 or the national trafficking hotline.

Don’t get involved yourself because you could be putting yourself and the victim at risk.

The Lake County Task Force is holding a bystander activism discussion on January 23rd at the Two Harbors Community Center.