Vestavia Hills Mayor Ashley Curry signs proclamation declaring city ‘TraffickingFree Zone’
Mayor Ashley Curry signed a proclamation during Monday’s City Council meeting that made the City of Vestavia Hills the first “TraffickingFree Zone” in Alabama.
Curry said of human trafficking, “It’s not just a problem in Vestavia Hills, it’s the whole metro Birmingham area. In fact, I-20 and I-65, that happens to cross at Birmingham, those interstates are known as the superhighway for sex trafficking.”
As part of the proclamation, all Vestavia Hills city staff will undergo human trafficking training.
The proclamation cites Birmingham hosting The World Games in 2021 as the inciting incident that demanded a higher level of attention on human trafficking.
Geoff Rogers, CEO of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, added, “Traffickers target areas with the highest demand, and international sporting events provide the perfect opportunity for traffickers to access an abnormally large number of clientele in highly-concentrated areas.”
Jordan Giddens, Community Engagement coordinator for the Child Trafficking Solutions Project, said that Vestavia Hills’ Proclamation was “the first step of a master plan that seeks to establish TraffickingFree Zones in every city in Jefferson County before the 2021 World Games.”
The TraffickingFree Zone program is an initiative of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT), that will utilize a partnership with local anti-trafficking coalition, Child Trafficking Solutions Project, to facilitate staff trainings and grassroots community outreach. As of November 2019, the Institute had established 113 TraffickingFree Zones across the United States.
The Child Trafficking Solutions Project is a coalition of over 100 anti-trafficking organizations and stakeholders from the Birmingham metro, that combat human trafficking through common-goal initiatives aimed at creating systematic change that disrupts demand. The coalition is housed under the Children’s Policy Council of Jefferson County, and is co-chaired by Jan Bell, executive director of the CPC of Jefferson County, and Carrie Hill, juvenile probation officer and Human Trafficking liaison for the Jefferson County Family Court.
Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: email@example.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.