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  1. The SOAP Project Carol Ventresca and Brett Johnson 45:18

In this episode, we look into a harrowing yet crucial topic—human trafficking. Joined by our special guest Theresa Flores, the founder of The SOAP Project, we explore the intricacies of combating this pervasive issue. Theresa, a survivor of human trafficking herself, shares her profound insights and the impactful work being done by her organization to rescue victims and raise awareness.

We cover the operations and outreach efforts of The SOAP Project, from distributing millions of bars of soap labeled with hotline numbers to organizing large events in collaboration with local communities.

Discover why states like Ohio rank among the top in trafficking cases, how traffickers are evolving to avoid detection, and the alarming reality of familial trafficking in rural areas.

Additionally, Theresa emphasizes the critical role of media in raising awareness and the continuous efforts needed to support survivors, including prospective wellness programs and significant legislative advocacy.

Memorable Moments

00:00 Realized purpose: advocate against human trafficking.

04:08 Moving a lot, lacking support, led vulnerability.

08:15 Human trafficking, statistics, call for media attention.

11:46 Providing help for human trafficking victims.

14:47 Polaris Project helps victims of human trafficking.

17:13 Rural areas have more trafficking of minors.

24:42 Prostitution seen as choice, but often oppression.

27:10 Neighbors can help spot and aid victims.

32:40 Becoming a survivor advocate, changing human trafficking laws.

33:25 Fought for laws against human trafficking, succeeded.

36:49 Raised $30,000 for new dentures, future programs.

41:02 Memoir reveals journey from trauma to empowerment.

Top Takeaways

Engaging volunteers in efforts to combat human trafficking involves navigating and ensuring their safety in potentially dangerous situations.

The SOAP Project organizes sting operations to help victims, signaling an active approach in rescuing those trapped in trafficking situations.

Operating for about 15-20 years, the Polaris Project plays a crucial role in trafficking identification, with extensive reporting available online.

Ohio ranks among the top five states for human trafficking due to its metropolitan areas, with familial trafficking also prevalent in rural settings.

With the distribution of 3,000,000 bars of soap, the SOAP Project raises awareness nationwide, supported by a diverse team including law enforcement and community organizations.

There is a critical need for balanced and empathetic media coverage that focuses on victims rather than sensationalizing their situations, thus addressing the real human cost of trafficking.

The SOAP Project not only focuses on raising awareness but also on providing direct support such as hotline numbers on soap bars, connecting victims to local contacts, and offering wellness weekends for survivors.

Combating human trafficking requires substantial financial resources, often sourced through community support, donations, and fundraising events to maintain outreach programs.

Theresa Flores advocates for educational initiatives to inform youth about trafficking risks and legislative changes to protect victims and prosecute traffickers effectively.

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And of course, everything can be found on our website, Looking Forward Our Way.

Recorded in Studio C at 511 Studios. A production of Circle270Media Podcast Consultants.

Copyright 2024 Carol Ventresca and Brett Johnson

Brett Johnson and Carol Ventresca Looking Forward Our Way Podcast

The Looking Forward Our Way Podcast is co-hosted by Dr. Carol Ventresca, a recently retired Encore Careerist, who is expanding her horizons through a variety of opportunities. And Brett Johnson, owner of Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. He works with entrepreneurs, businesses, brands, and non-profits to plan, launch, produce, and implement podcasts into their marketing strategies. And he's affectionately known to his podcast clients as "My Podcast Guy."

Carol and Brett have been working together co-hosting this podcast, now in its "encore career," since 2017.

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