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Dear Editor:

Kudos and thank you to Mat Hench on 4 years of plunging into frigid water to raise awareness for the work of the International Justice Mission.

Through 17 field offices in Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, IJM works to “rescue, restore, restrain and represent” victims of abuse by strengthening broken and corrupt justice systems that cannot protect victims of violence. When laws are not enforced, abuse is normalized and consequently the less likely that a victim will get help.

Although our American systems are not completely broken, we as a nation are only nominally aware of the epidemic of forced labor and human trafficking in our own country. We repress the fact that our own brothers and sisters are being forced against their will to do things they do not want to do; that they are being sold for profit in illicit massage parlors and motels; that their passports are being held against their wills in “jobs” of agriculture, construction and domestic work; that escort services and online ads lure desperate women, homeless girls and runaway boys into the unspeakable land of pimps and johns.

Fortunately, progress is being made locally to increase awareness. Hospital ER personnel, PennDot employees, educators and students are being trained to identify possible trafficked victims. We have numerous local organizations and elected officials battling for the right of freedom for our fellow human beings.

Will you join in educating yourself and raising awareness? Check out and learn to recognize the signs of a trafficked victim. Retain the hotline number (1-888-373-7888) for reporting suspected trafficking. See information on recovery options at Read about anti-human trafficking efforts at (Not in My Backyard).

Assist our own local law enforcement by reporting suspicious activities. Get involved as Mat has done.

Tammy Stauffer, President

Nancy Hoffman, Administrative Assistant

She’s Somebody’s Daughter