EMCC Criminal Justice Department holds Human Trafficking Awareness Conference

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A conference in Bangor Friday helped area organizations and first responders gain more knowledge about human trafficking.

As Alyssa Thurlow reports, the idea for the conference came from a woman who knows first hand what it's like to live in a world of violence.

"It happens in your backyard and it's a real thing. So, it's something we all need to be cognizant and aware of," said Molly, a sex trafficking survivor.

Last month we introduced you to Molly.

She's studying Criminal Justice at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor.

Her life looks a lot different know than it did just a couple years ago. Back then violence was all around her, and she was controlled by her pimp.

Now, she's hoping to move forward from the pain and raise awareness...starting with a Human Trafficking Awareness Conference.

"There's a statistic that only one percent of human trafficking victims get rescued and we really need to change that so, this is just one step in that process," said Molly.

Area organizations and first responders attended the free conference.

The goal was to educate the community about the dangers of human trafficking and how to identify it. Molly says it's important for everyone to be aware of their everyday surroundings.

"If something doesn't fit, say something. It goes back to that adage that started years ago, see something, say something, and you could be saving someone's life and you don't even know it," said Molly.

Molly's classmates and teachers say they applaud her for being brave and coming forward with her story.

"The fact that they can step up on that stage like that after that experience they've gone through just means that they are really brave and strong people for sure," said EMCC Criminal Justice student, Jacob Poulin.

"She has taught me a tremendous amount about this topic that even though I've been teaching in this field for 15 years and had done clinical practice prior to, I'm learning from her every day," said Cornel Plebani, Department Chair of the Criminal Justice Program at EMCC.

Molly plans to graduate next year and start a career in law enforcement.

Her goal is to help others from what she's learned living with such abuse. I asked Molly what she would say to those who are currently where she was just a short time ago.

"It's rough. I'm not going to sit here and say that it is easy. I'm not going to preach a miracle. I'm just going to say that there are people out there that want to help you, and there are ways to get out of it," said Molly.

For more information on resources to help victims of human trafficking, log on to: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/.