CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Forshaw has teamed up with national anti-trafficking non-profit Safe House Project to train thousands of pest management technicians across the country on how to spot, report and prevent child trafficking.
Hundreds of thousands of children are trafficked each year in the U.S, the company said. The International Labor Organization reported that victim identification is only 1 percent.
According to Kristi Wells, CEO, Safe House Project, more than 40 percent of trafficking is done by a family member, often from the home. On the front lines of public health, pest technicians are in a unique position to spot indicators of child trafficking.
Trafficking survivor Ria Story consulted on the new training and emphasized the importance of educating everyone about the signs and stories of trafficking.
“Many people don't know what trafficking looks like. It doesn't always look like what we expect,” said Story. “In my case, I wish someone had gotten involved sooner, asked questions, and reported that a situation wasn’t normal.”
Tom Forshaw, president, Forshaw, is spearheading the initiative to take a nationwide stand against trafficking.
In collaboration with survivors, Forshaw and Safe House have developed a free 30-minute training that allows companies to easily educate their teams on the signs to look for and how to anonymously report suspicious activity. By creating an “army” of pest control technicians and even other household service providers, everyone is one step closer to exterminating human trafficking, said Forshaw.
“Every year, pest management professionals service millions of homes and businesses,” he said. “We are the eyes and ears of the community. We are committed to do more than donate to a cause. Through our partnership with Safe House Project, we jumped in to be part of the solution and train thousands, and we will continue to train thousands more. I think we all agree that saving just one girl or boy is a victory.”
Fred Wingate, chief bugman, Noosa Pest Management, expressed his support for the training.“As with a lot of pest control firms, we are a family within our company,” he said. “Our family takes care of the community and any time we can partner and be part of the solution to something as serious and heartbreaking as human trafficking, we are honored to participate.”