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Sugar House Journal

Combating Human Trafficking With Awareness

Oct 06, 2016 15h29 ● By Natalie Mollinet

Kadi Correia is an ambassador with Beauty For Freedom. (Shaun Mader/Beauty For Freedom)

By Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]

Sometimes the world’s biggest problems seem to be out of our hands, but sometimes helping people become aware of the problem can be a first step. Human trafficking is a growing worldwide issue as more people are sold into the industry every year. It is an illegal act where people, including children, are sold for forced labor or for sexual exploitation. According to statistics, there are more than 20 million enslaved people in the world and more than 14,000 of those are brought into the United States each year. A quarter of those enslaved are children. 

“I think it’s been around too long and hasn’t gotten enough attention” Kadi Correia, a Sugar House resident who is helping raise awareness on human trafficking said. “They arrested 71 human traffickers in Utah this last year and no one heard about it.”  

Correia is currently working with an organization called Beauty for Freedom. They are a non-profit organization that fights against human trafficking and helps support its survivors in the United States. 

Correia said, “Our hope for the future is to work more in the U.S and fight human trafficking in our own country.” 

The company helps by setting up fundraisers to raise money for those affected by human trafficking, as well as saving those who are victims in human trafficking. Those in the company use their artistic talents to create fundraisers that raise awareness. 

Many victims of human trafficking are often lured in with false hopes of a better life. Even in Utah, there have been reports of human trafficking schemes, and for Correia, the world as well as those in our neighborhood, need to be aware of what’s going on. 

Correia got into modeling after a friend asked if she would help her during New York Fashion week, and from there, her natural beauty and talent caught the eye of many in the New York City modeling world. Since then she has signed on with an agency and traveled doing different photo shoots. 

“When I started modeling and traveling more, the topic of human trafficking seemed to come up more often,” Correia said. 

In her travels, Correia has met survivors of human trafficking and heard their stories. In the beginning her interest was in domestic violence, but as she talked to more people, she learned that many of those involved in domestic violence had been sold through human trafficking.

Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes has also been involved in stopping human trafficking and has pushed hard to raise awareness in Utah. He also has seen the destruction that comes with human trafficking.  

“Having witnessed its savagery and the resulting suffering up close, I can attest that human trafficking robs its victims of innocence, dignity and often hope,” Reyes wrote in an email interview. “It is a flagrant violation of human rights and despicable crime of terror.” 

Correia has met children that were involved and heard their stories, motivating her to want to make a difference. Many children she met had been born and bred to be sold and had never interacted with a normal human being. Learning this information broke her heart. 

She later found that through her talents, she could make people more aware of the situation. Correia has put together kits for rescued children who had been victims of trafficking. In the kits she includes blankets, stuffed animals, coloring books and other things that these children may have never had.

“I’d love people to help, and fundraising is our biggest thing, just going and attending a fundraiser helps,” Correia said. Correia is already working to set up fundraisers in Utah and in the next few weeks a new app called United Games will be available to download. The app is free and all the user has to do is play the games included in it. From there donations will be given to victims of human trafficking. Correia said that she is setting up a time and day when people can try the app.  

“It is critical that every American understands that human trafficking is pervasive,” Reyes wrote. “It can be present in any community – big cities, rural towns and everywhere in between. We need the help of all citizens who value virtue and freedom. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, but a humanitarian one. I invite all Utahns to get involved in the fight against human trafficking.” 

In Sugar House, people in the community help fight against human trafficking, and Correia is an example of one of these local heroes. Other Utah organizations that combat human trafficking include Operation Underground Railroad and the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Both organizations have websites where people can donate and learn about ways to stay more informed on this issue. 

“I think people think it’s a third world county issue and its right here in our city,” Correia said, “My goal is that we can coordinate with different places here in the U.S. so that people can see their money is going to help people within the country. We want to help each other.”