World Day Against Trafficking highlights societal scourge

United Way Lenawee Monroe web logo

United Way Lenawee Monroe web logo

July 30 is World Day Against Trafficking. This effort is primarily spearheaded by the United Nations Blue Heart Campaign to “Reach Every Victim of Trafficking — Leave No One Behind.” Human trafficking is a humanitarian crisis that is a form of modern-day slavery. Not only is human trafficking prevalent around the world, but also cases of human trafficking are reported in all 50 states. The recent movie “Sound of Freedom” has also helped to highlight this human trafficking crisis.

Laura Schultz Pipis, executive director of the United Way of Monroe/Lenawee Counties

Laura Schultz Pipis, executive director of the United Way of Monroe/Lenawee Counties

Victims are trafficked for a variety of purposes, such as commercial sex, agricultural work or other forms of labor. The face of human trafficking can be rich, poor, men, women, adults, children, foreign national or U.S. citizen. They are all generally vulnerable in some way, but all victims share the loss of a most cherished human right — freedom. The Polaris Project hosts the national Human Trafficking Hotline and conducts extensive research on human trafficking. Their research shows there are 25 industries who utilize human trafficking in the United States. Human trafficking is a market-based economy that exists on principles of supply and demand. It is a high-profit enterprise with limited or low risks. It is illegal under international, federal and Michigan state law. The Federal Victims Protection Act of 2000 and the Michigan Penal Code address underage minors and adults involved in all forms of human trafficking, affected by the use of force, fraud or coercion (i.e. manipulation by traffickers or perpetrators). As a society, we are seeking better understanding of the nuances of trafficking. It is a power and control issue, similar to domestic violence and sexual assault. Because of the secretive, coercive nature of human trafficking, it is hard to find an exact figure of how many people are trafficked in the United States.

I have been a part of both the Monroe and Lenawee County Anti Human Trafficking Coalitions, collectively for over 10 years. You can help fight human trafficking by reading more about it, have a Monroe County Coalition member speak to your group, or simply help mentor vulnerable youth in your sphere of influence. You also can donate to the Monroe County Anti Human Trafficking Coalition through the Community Foundation of Monroe County ( or call 734-242-1976).

The Monroe County Anti Human Trafficking Coalition (MCAHTC) is working closely with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and its VIPER (Violent Internet Predator Exploitation Response) task force to combat human trafficking. We are fortunate to have this elite group in Monroe County. VIPER is a role model for other surrounding counties.

There are many options for more information on human trafficking. The Department of Homeland Security also has an excellent awareness campaign called the Blue Campaign ( The United Nations has the Blue Heart Campaign ( The Polaris Project is home to the National Human Trafficking Hotline (888-373-7888), and they have great information as well ( There is also a very active Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force ( Family Counseling and Shelter Services is also a good resource on violence against women issues: ( or call 734-241-0180.

For more information about human trafficking or upcoming events, you can contact Mary Kapp at or Laura Schultz Pipis at or 734-242-1331. You can follow the MCAHTC Facebook page:

For more information about the United Way and its mission regarding human trafficking, please contact us. Call us at 734-242-1331, email, contact or visit us at 216 N. Monroe St., Monroe, MI 48162, or visit our website at Visit our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok social media platforms, too.

Laura Schultz Pipis is the executive director of the United Way of Monroe/Lenawee Counties.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: United Way: World Day Against Trafficking highlights societal scourge

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