Published October 2019
Our next speaker was Brandi Jude. She is the Founder and CEO of Invisible Innocence. Brandi stated there were several forms of human trafficking including labor, sex, organ, adoption, and forced marriage. The two she focused on were labor and sex trafficking.
Sex trafficking includes long working hours, STD’s, withholding of money, violence and intimidation, complex health issues, and branding. Victims will be forced to be branded by having several of the same symbols, such as a crown or a clover, tattooed on their bodies. The question was asked why they force several of the same symbols. Brandi said there were various reasons. An example was if they tried to run away the perpetrator will brand them again. The main reason to brand them several times is to show dominance and control.
Invisible Innocence has been working with the legal system and has been key to helping victims receive help. Up until 2015 a prostitute would receive a felony that stayed on her record for 7 years, while the perpetrator would only receive a misdemeanor.
Brandi pointed out Darcy’s previous myth that most people with felonies are violent. This was an excellent example. Having a felony on your record creates barriers to some essential services including qualifying for scholarships and student loans for college.
Invisible Innocence has a program called “Empower Hour” where they support victims of human trafficking by providing 36 hours devoted to help rebuild basic skills, provide support and resources.
Invisible Innocence provides “blessing bags” which includes several essential items for victims. When victims escape, they can’t grab many things, even important items like hair brush, tooth brush, feminine supplies. Invisible Innocence assemble hundreds of “blessing bags” in December and will also begin making them in the summer as well.
If you work for a business who may have contact with possible victims of human trafficking you can contact Brandi and request to carry a couple of “blessing bags” at your work. You can learn how to get involved, volunteer, sign up for their newsletter, and learn more about their services by going to https://www.invisibleinnocence.org.