Human trafficking survivor shares personal story
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A human trafficking survivor shared her story Tuesday to shed light on a worldwide problem.
Amanda Pulley shared her personal experience of being trafficked at a documentary screening/Lunch & Learn in the Humanities and Social Sciences Building at Arkansas State University. The event, which was hosted by the Office of Title IX and Institutional Equity, is part of a series A-State is hosting during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).
Pulley gave insight into how to identify and prevent victimization, as well as highlighted the impact on vulnerable at-risk youth and college-aged students.
“A trafficker is going to build a relationship with someone, and they’re going to try and sell them a dream,” she said. “It might be ‘I want to be a medical doctor one day,’ and a trafficker is going to sell it to them by saying ‘Well, I’m going to help you do that and I’m the only one that can help you do that.’”
Pulley was first trafficked and sexually abused when she was in 2nd grade by a member of her own family.
She said if someone is in need of help to remain hopeful, no matter how impossible it may seem.
“Reach out to us when it’s safe, and we will respond. We’ll help you create a safety plan, see where you’re at, and decide if an exit is right for you,” she said. “And we will be there for you each step of the way.”
The local organization Hope Found of Northeast Arkansas fights human trafficking through prevention and restoration.
NEA Hope Found has a hotline for individuals to call if they suspect human trafficking in the area. The number is 870-336-7256.
Other events A-State will host during April to bring awareness to sexual assault in the community.
- The “What They Were Wearing” exhibit features recreated outfits and true stories of local sexual assault victims. Coordinators say this presentation will help challenge victim blaming by showcasing typical attire worn by sexual assault victims. The exhibit is in collaboration with NEA Family Crisis Center. It can be seen Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the A-State Museum located in the Dean B. Ellis Library for the remainder of the month.
- The “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event will be held on Monday, April 24, beginning at 6:45 p.m. at the front doors of the A-State Dean B. Ellis Library. Men at A-State are encouraged to walk in high-heeled shoes as an act of support and solidarity to defy gender stereotypes and expectations. A limited number of shoes will be available, but it is not required to walk in heels. The walk will continue with a candlelight vigil that will begin at 7 p.m. at Heritage Plaza to honor those impacted by sexual assault and domestic violence.
- The “Denim Day” event is the last for SAAM. A quilt made of denim jeans can be found in the Reng Student Union. Throughout the month, one may write their own story and place the note in one of the pockets on the quilt. The anonymous submissions will be read aloud as an act of solidarity on Wednesday, April 26 at 1:30 p.m. The quilt was made by the Department of Art + Design and Human Resources.
If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance revolving around sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
For more information regarding sexual assault visit RAINN.org.
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