Program offered on trafficking

Jessica Bursztynsky, IV Leader Associate Editor

As a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, IVCC will be hosting a presentation by Women at Risk, International (WAR), an organization combatting human trafficking, on Wednesday, April 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The presentation, located in CTC 124-125, will discuss the realities of human trafficking and how it pertains to local communities. There also will be a booth selling the free-trade products made from the women helped by the organization.
The WAR Chest Boutique, a branch of WAR International, is essentially the key to the success of the rescue agency. Once victims of human trafficking are rescued, WAR International provides the women with the necessary training to produce the free-trade items sold at the boutique.

According to the WAR International website, 90 percent of the profits go back to the women who made the products, with the other 10 percent being used for production costs.

WAR began its involvement with IVCC when Jean Batson-Turner, human services program coordinator, received a Christmas present from her son and his family, purchased at the WAR Chest Boutique.

“I was really impressed with the gift when I found out about it,” says Batson-Turner. After learning more about the organization, Batson-Turner and her family agreed to visit the WAR Chest Boutique in Naperville.
The Naperville location is the only WAR International boutique in Illinois, and Batson-Turner was impressed with the large amount of volunteer members staffing the store.

“They do a fantastic job on how they set up the products, and you can find out on the cards the story of the women, to know just what the impact is,” stated Batson-Turner. “We also learn what we can do as citizens in regard to these issues.”

It was after the visit to the store that Batson-Turner decided to reach out and ask the store to give a presentation at IVCC for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“Several of my students have asked me about information on human trafficking,” says Batson-Turner. “I hope they [students] will learn about the reality of human trafficking, as it applies in our state of Illinois and also learn about the laws in Illinois.”

In 2013, WAR International opened a training center for American women. Aside from selling products, WAR also provides micro-loans, professional skill development, vocational training, emergency rescue and support for wounded women.

WAR is currently represented in all 50 states and over 40 countries. More information on the WAR Chest Boutique and the services WAR provides can be found on the website, www.warinternational.org.

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