By: Janice Tjeng
Jen Spry, a 42-year-old registered nurse, was once a victim of child trafficking. When she was 8, her neighbor caught her and the other children at her neighborhood, Norristown, Pennsylvania. She was tortured and sexually assaulted for two years as part of her daily routine from 3-6pm. At that time, no one noticed that something was wrong because she had never gone missing. She was forced to keep it a secret from her mother and relatives through cons and excessive gifts from the perpetrator. The trafficking finally ended when her neighbor moved away.
After her mother passed away, she had the courage to tell her story to Monmouth Regional High School students as part of the “R U Aware Partnership Service Day”. This event was organized by student Christian Boujaoude to coincide with Global Youth Service Day at Tinton Falls, NJ.
At the event, there were many guests, each with different projects to educate the public about human trafficking.
Another guest, Gabrielle Gillen, a Toms River resident and student at Ocean County College, screens the trailer of a movie about human trafficking title “Wife Missing.” She is also the Production Manager of the movie.
Other guests include Marcel Quinones and Rebekah Contarino. Quinones is the residential manager of Covenant House New Jersey, which provides a place for homeless and trafficked youths between ages of 18-21 to stay. Contarino is the founder of True Love, a Bridgewater-based organization that is constructing a restoration house for teenage victims of human trafficking.
There are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. 5.5 million of those are children. 14.2 million of those are victims of labor exploitation (International Labor Organization, 2012). Human trafficking is a major problem in the world. It is pleasing to see that there are many people out there willing to help these victims.
Janice Tjeng is a third year Biology student at the University of San Francisco. She is interested in healthcare and social injustices and is looking forward to applying to medical school.
Carino, Jerry. “Human trafficking survivor tells gut-wrenching story.” App.com, April 19 2015. http://www.app.com/story/news/education/2015/04/19/human-trafficking-survivor-tells gut-wrenching-story/26027453/. Date accessed, April 26, 2015
“21 million people are now victims of forced labour, ILO says.” International Labor Organization, June 1, 2012. http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_181961/lang–en/index.htm. Date accessed, April 26, 2015.