8th annual Traffick Jam held Saturday

Published: Jan. 28, 2023 at 3:46 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2023 at 11:18 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Human trafficking is an issue that affects communities not just across the country, but across the world.

Community leaders in Savannah gathered for the annual Traffick Jam event which explains the dangers of human trafficking and demonstrates how to be proactive.

A survivor of human trafficking was a keynote speaker at the event- our Shea Schrader was able to learn about his story.

“All I know is just, I’m here to go to school, get an education, then go back home and provide for my family. It all sounds peachy, but that’s not what life was when I came to the U.S,” Kwami Adoboe Herrera said.

Adoboe-Herrera was just seven years old when he came to the United States from Togo- a country that borders Ghana.

He was brought to Michigan with the help of a man he thought was a family friend.

“He started to abuse me, use me as his own personal slave. He controlled everything I do from day one from when I wake up to when I go back to bed, and if I don’t do things his way, I get punished for not waking up early, for not cleaning the house, for not doing what he asked me to do.”

He didn’t know it at the time, but Adoboe-Hererra was a victim of labor trafficking- which the Human Trafficking Hotline defines as a form of modern day slavery.

It wasn’t until he was in middle school that Adoboe-Hererra was able to get help from two teachers.

“They saw something in me, and they said, ‘I need to help that child,’ and they did. And I’m here now because of those two wonderful ladies.”

Now, as an adult, Adoboe-Hererra is an anti-trafficking activist.

A big part of what he does- spread awareness about labor trafficking- a form of trafficking he says isn’t very well known.

“That we don’t have the resources for them? That’s why they don’t want to identify as survivors. That’s why they don’t want to be known.”

If you suspect that someone you know is a victim of human trafficking- you can contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Adoboe-Hererra was one of many speakers at the Traffick Jam.

There were sessions about human trafficking grooming techniques, facts and statistics on labor trafficking, and a look at how human trafficking cases are prosecuted.

The event, which was put on by the Savannah Interagency Diversity Council, attracted professionals from all over area, and just members of the general public.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson was in attendance and he says it’s an important topic to be educated on.

”In a city like Savannah that has great proximity and great weather, and certainly festivals and events, world class entry points, it makes us a prime target for human trafficking. It happens underneath our noses. We don’t see it, but yet it happens in plain sight, and it’s our responsibility as a community to make sure that every citizen understands what it looks like and more importantly what to do if they see it happening,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said.

This year marked the 8th annual Traffick Jam and WTOC’s very own Dawn Baker was the Master of Ceremony.