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Havre de Grace Police, SARC host training on human, sex trafficking awareness April 18

The Havre de Grace Police Department and SARC of Harford County are hosting a training session this week for members of the community to learn more about human and sex trafficking and how they can be “active bystanders” to recognize the signs and help prevent it.

The training session is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday in the Havre de Grace Community Center at 100 Lagaret Lane. The class was initially going to be at police headquarters, but it was moved to the community center because an “overwhelming number of people” have said they plan to attend, Police Chief Teresa Walter said during a City Council meeting Monday evening.

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“Please take that opportunity to come join us that evening and learn a little bit more” about the topic, Walter added.

Those who attend will learn about human and sex trafficking and how widespread the practice is, about “red flags” that indicate if a person is being trafficked and how they can prevent trafficking or provide support, in a safe manner, to a friend or family member who might be experiencing it. More information is available on the Havre de Grace Police Department Facebook page.

The training session came up during the council meeting as Nicole Blanchard, of the Bel Air-based SARC, and the Rev. Pamela Christian, chair of The Look of Love Ministry at St. James A.M.E. Church in Havre de Grace, gave a presentation on how their respective organization support victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, child abuse, even trafficking.

“Domestic violence and intimate partner violence is something that affects us in every community,” Blanchard said.

Blanchard listed the multiple services provided by SARC, or the Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center. They include a 24-hour help line — 410-836-8430 — a 28-bed shelter, crisis intervention, hospital visits, individual and group counseling, legal advocacy and representation and others.

More information is available on SARC’s website, https://www.sarc-maryland.org.

Blanchard said SARC can also partner with community organizations to provide education and outreach on issues such as bystander intervention, domestic violence, teen dating violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

Committee members with The Look of Love Ministry, which started in February, have been through a 26-hour basic crisis response training session with SARC and volunteer with the organization, according to a ministry flyer provided during the council meeting.

“As Christians we are commanded to love but what exactly does that love look like?” Christian, the ministry chair, asked.

She said Jesus Christ is the example of that love as people could see Him, through His ministry, “reaching down, reaching out, speaking up.”

“We, the church, can no longer abdicate our responsibility,” Christian said. “Therefore, The Look of Love Ministry [members] are here to support and educate and encourage those who have been abused and touched by this problem in society today.”

People can get more information on the ministry either by contacting Havre de Grace City Hall at 410-939-1800 or St. James A.M.E. Church at 410-939-2267.

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