Human trafficking is a serious issue. And it’s unbelievable that even to this day, the problem persists. Fortunately, there are organizations like Buena Vista HOPE (BV HOPE) that are raising public awareness about the matter.
About BV Hope
BV Hope is actually a local chapter of the A21 campaign, a nonprofit organization that aims to put an end to modern-day slavery. BV Hope, for their part, shares the same ideas but focuses more on sex trafficking.
HOPE stands for Helping Others, Protecting Everyone. A noble idea in these desperate times. They believe in bringing knowledge and awareness about human trafficking. This is done through educational presentations in schools, community organizations, churches, and even with the police force.
I was fortunate enough to have a chance to talk with Beth Ritchie, Director of BV HOPE, and ask some questions about the organization and human trafficking.
About BV Hope
For those who don’t know, can you tell us a bit about Buena Vista Hope and the A21 Campaign?
“BV HOPE is a human trafficking prevention and awareness organization. Its mission is to educate the next generation to avoid human trafficking. We do that in numerous ways:
- We have programs in our schools, hold seminars, talk at other organization and club meetings
- We have booths in trade shows
- We hold a Walk for Freedom each Fall”
“We partner with numerous anti-human trafficking organizations to accomplish this. A21 is one of them and we are considered an A-Team for them. They are an international human trafficking organization. We use their curriculum in schools and join with them for the international Walk for Freedom each October.”
Walk for Freedom event
Can you give us a brief history of the organization? When and how did it start?
“BV HOPE was started in 2014 [by Beth Ritchie]. It was started because she became aware of the tragedy of human trafficking and wanted to help our youth in Buena Vista be safe as they grew up and moved away from our safe little town. The October Walk for Freedom with A21 was its first official event.”
What do you tell schools, community organizations, churches, and the police force when you make presentations?
“Our programs vary with our audience. We make presentations to kindergartners, those still working and raising kids, and retired people. The younger aged kids we use skits to teach them to be cautious with strangers especially those who are offering candy, puppies, or a free ride. The older they get, the more technological the perpetrators become — using the internet, cell phone, and social media. When we speak to adults we let them know about the dangers their kids or grandkids could be in so they can also warn them.”
HOPE classroom guesting
Beth further adds:
“Also, we educate about slavery in the labor force and how our purchase choices can affect that industry. Finally, many people don’t know that prostitution is not voluntary for most. They have been trapped, or coerced into the trade and can’t get out. Pornography and using prostitutes is fueling trafficking.”
How serious is our problem with human trafficking today?
“Human trafficking—which is modern-day slavery—is the second most profitable criminal business in the world. It has passed up illegal arms trade and generates billions of dollars. The numbers of those trafficked vary but is between 20-40 million. It is not just a crime in other countries. There are an estimated 200,000 slaves working in America. It is a hidden crime, no one knows the actual numbers, but they are right in front of us.”
The Dangers of Human Trafficking
What are some things people should know about human tracking and your organization?
If everyone does something, even small things can add up and make a difference. Click To Tweet
“We all can become overwhelmed with the knowledge of the crime of human trafficking and it’s extent in our world today. It’s easy to just give up because it seems to big to tackle and make a difference. This is not true. If everyone does something, even small things can add up and make a difference. Especially for that one person who you educated or saved from a life of slavery.”
Every little thing we do makes a difference
Beth shares some things we can do to help:
“Making purchases based on if slavery was used or not is huge. A good website is Fairtrade.net. Also, becoming aware can allow you to help others become aware and prevent more victims and save those already victimized. Carry the United States hotline with you at all times or put it in your phone and report anything unusual. 1-888-3737-888 or 911. Never engage a victim or a pimp. It could be dangerous for you and is dangerous for them. Leave that up to the professionals.”
BV HOPE has really made a difference. In fact, people have been thanking the organization for all they’ve done for the Buena Vista community.
“We have gotten feedback from our school programs from parents. Mostly thanking us for reinforcing the lessons they are trying to teach their children. We know that we’ve helped prevent tragedies that we will never know how serious they could have been. Also, we have been a part of inspiring young people to fight trafficking in other countries.”
Spreading the Word One Flyer at a Time
We love working with BV HOPE. Not only is it a great cause, we just know every person in that organization is giving it their all to end slavery. And we’re just as happy that we got BV HOPE’s approval.
“We love NextDayFlyers. It is affordable for a small non-profit like ours and we have gotten many compliments on our flyers. They are bright, durable, and have a lot of information packed into them. We use them at every event we do and send them home with students because we know they will last longer than a piece of paper.”
BV HOPE FlyerWe love NextDayFlyers! It is affordable for a small nonprofit like ours. – BV HOPE Click To Tweet
They also had no trouble navigating through the site and getting exactly what they needed.
“The design part was very user-friendly. What was amazing was that what we saw on our computer is what it printed like. Colors, sizes, centering, and every part of our project looked just like how we wanted it. I appreciated seeing a proof before ordering and it is a very quick turnaround.”
We’d like to thank BV HOPE for trusting us with their printing needs and wish them nothing but the best in their continuing fight against human trafficking. As Beth so eloquently put it, “If everyone did something today to end modern-day slavery, we could end it!”If everyone did something today to end modern-day slavery, we could end it! Click To Tweet
If you like to learn more about BV HOPE, you can visit their social media pages.
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