COLUMN: Mental health information: Human trafficking

Published 5:44 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

By Amy Baker
Your Turn

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. has a strong history of supporting and servicing families, for the members understand a healthy family is the foundation of a healthy community. Therefore, the sorority’s multi-generational “Empower Our Families” initiative addresses various aspects of the overall health of the family, including an emphasis on the importance of mental health care. 

To support this component of the initiative, the Mental Health Committee of the Lambda Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is providing the community with helpful information regarding pertinent mental health topics.

January’s focus is human trafficking: Help protect human rights. Stop human trafficking.

Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain labor or commercial sex acts for the purpose of exploitation. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide, often lured by violence, manipulation, false promises, romantic relationships, etc.

EFFECTS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Human trafficking victims are prone to poor physical and mental health outcomes. It can cause severe mental health consequences, such as anxiety, memory loss, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, social isolation, and substance abuse.

SIGNS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING INCLUDE

Living with employer, poor living conditions, inability to speak to individuals alone, answers appear to be rehearsed, signs of physical abuse, submissive or fearful and unpaid or paid very little.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU BELIEVE SOMEONE IS BEING TRAFFICKED

If you believe you have identified someone in a trafficking situation, alert local law enforcement immediately. There are several organizations to whom the victim could be referred for help with shelter, medical care, legal assistance, and other critical services, such as The National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888); Text INFO to 233733.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA) is an international service organization that was founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC, in 1908. It is the oldest Greek-lettered organization established by African American, college-educated women. Alpha Kappa Alpha is comprised of nearly 355,000 members in 1,064 graduate and undergraduate chapters in the United States, Liberia, the Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Germany, South Korea, Bermuda, Japan, Canada, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. Led by International President Danette Anthony Reed, Alpha Kappa Alpha is often hailed as “America’s premier Greek-letter organization for African American women.” For more information on Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and its programs, visit www.aka1908.com.

AMY BAKER received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Averett University. She currently serves as a registered nurse with the Western Tidewater Community Services Board and the chairman of the Lambda Psi Omega Chapter Mental Health Committee. She can be contacted via email at amybaker13aka@gmail.com.