The Macomb Feminist Network, with the Schultz Foundation for Advancing Counseling, will host a forum on sex trafficking during its Saturday, September 14, meeting in the Community Room of Macomb’s City Hall from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Though not widely recognized, especially in rural areas, sex trafficking is a serious issue throughout the United States, with Illinois being the state with the highest number of sex trafficking occurrences. Program presenters will include local residents Diane Mayfield and Janice Rockwell, as well as Dana Pfeiffer, Founder/Director of Grounds of Grace, a not for profit 501 c3 that supports victims and survivors of sex trafficking in several Illinois cities.
Diane Mayfield served as Victim Services Director with the Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency for almost 20 years and continues to assist with grant writing at the agency. Before moving to the area she taught in Kansas public schools for 27 years and volunteered as a public speaker, professional trainer, and victim advocate for the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault in Kansas City and the surrounding area.
Janice Rockwell, after a career as an art teacher and a school counselor in west central Illinois, founded, with other concerned people, Western Illinois Traffic Stop (WITS). WITS focuses mainly on “increasing awareness about the staggering reality of people enslaved in sex trafficking globally, nationally and regionally.” The group has shared information about the issue with the Regional Office of Education and continues to work with educators, social workers, school psychologists and therapists within the region.
Dana Pfeiffer founded Grounds of Grace which helps survivors and provides a home for women recovering from the effects of sex trafficking. Grounds of Grace, a statewide organization, is unique in that it meets each person where they are whether this is in a home, jail, prison, shelter, psych unit or on the streets. Programs are managed by volunteer counselors and supported through community resources and facilities that respond to the medical, psychological, legal, transportation, educational and religious needs of each survivor who wants to take personal ownership in their recovery. In addition, Grounds of Grace works with legislative and human trafficking task forces and partners with individuals and organizations to secure judicial, legal, and legislative support to address the problem of trafficking on a systemic level.
The presenters will discuss the prevalence and varied forms of sex trafficking as well as the importance of recognizing traits that help identify victims.
The MFN program is open to the public. Because it is crucial that members of law enforcement, medical and mental health providers, and educators recognize and report possible cases of sex trafficking, they are particularly encouraged to attend. For further information about the program, contact Melanie Rawlins at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Rawlins, Professor Emerita and former chair of Western Illinois University’s Department of Counselor Education, will moderate the discussion.