LIMA — Julianne Burk, who operates the Guiding Light Ministries home in Lima, attended a workshop on human trafficking, Saturday, at the Lima YWCA offices.
The home she operates takes in girls who have been victims of human trafficking.
“The majority of our clients have been involved in that at some point in their life. They admit to it. Sometimes we don’t know when they get admitted. It could just be that they’re coming in for recovery help. It could just be they’re just coming in because they need structure and programming and they want to get their life together. It could be that they were from domestic violence or a broken relationship. However, as you get to know them, they start sharing their heart and their stories and you find, even from childhood, that mother was trying to get rent, that they were used and they were able to get out,” said Burk.
Burk was at the workshop as a participant.
“I want to be part of the process of helping. My understanding is that if they are trafficked here, it is much better for them to be taken away and because my houses are here and they are in an area where it’s saturated with this kind of thing, I prefer to have them transported elsewhere, so I want to know, what is my role in making that happen when I detect it, or if I’m being referred them through an agency that is dealing with that, how much more do I do to be a part of that process,” said Burk.
Marlene Carson, founder, and CEO of The Switch Anti-Trafficking Network was here in August to talk about the signs of human trafficking. Saturday’s workshop with community members was the next step.
“In Elida, in our first encounter together, we just kind of did some awareness of human trafficking, and today is really education, practical tools, resources and execution. So we are really just empowering this group to go out and love on some people that have may have fallen prey to human trafficking. Even to the traffickers, even to the men, this is not just a reactive to the victims, but in my opinion, I think we need to help the entire family to get back to family again,” said Carson, a human trafficking survivor herself.
The northwest Ohio chapter of AGLOW International sponsored Carson’s visit to Lima.
“We just have a real concern for our community,” said Pam Meek, vice president of ministry development for AGLOW International. “We’re small, but we want to do what we can to turn the tide, not just for us, but for our children.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.