GREENVILLE– Caitlin Miller, co-owner with sister Gina Miller of Miller’s Flowers, voluntarily made another presentation recently on Human Trafficking 101 (Modern-Day Slavery) to the Greenville Business and Professional Women (BPW) at the Darke County Disabilities facility.
“It does happen in Darke County,” said Miller, who learned about Human Trafficking (Modern Day Slavery) as a high-schooler.
“I wanted to travel abroad and volunteer at an organization fighting trafficking, but our family had a rule that we had to be 18 years and older to travel abroad,” she said. “I contacted Not For Sale Ohio asking her what a high schooler in Ohio could do, she asked me if I knew that human trafficking also happens in Ohio. She connected me to Gracehaven. They are the first safe house in Ohio rescuing girls under 18 from trafficking. As a 17-year-old, I hosted work teams to paint and landscape at Gracehaven, fundraisers, speaking events, and more. In 2010, I was the youngest in Ohio to be nominated for the Ohio Liberator Award in the volunteer category.”
Her purpose is to educate people on this topic. She also helps raise money and awareness for trafficking.
“My goal is to talk about human trafficking,” she said. “They say it doesn’t happen here; it does.”Human Trafficking devalues a person.”
One source reads, “Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.”
Miller said in the U.S., 14,500 are trafficked annually; in Ohio, 3,300 have been identified from 2014-20. Ohio is the third largest hub in the United States in human trafficking. Miller Lane on 75 is a big area for it happening.”
She said there are various forms of human trafficking: Sex trafficking, child labor, child sex, bonded slavery or debt bondage, domestic servitude, forced child labor, organ and tissue and child soldiers.
“It’s more common here,” according to Miller. “A family member will traffic a child. Sex trafficking is the most common. Because of COVID lockdowns, the National Crisis Hotline reported that trafficking increased 40 percent.”
Miller said sex trafficking is linked to foster care.
“Seventy percent of the victims have a history with the child welfare system,” according to her. “Nearly 1/2 of the victims reported that pornography was made of them while in bondage. In the United States, adult pornography is a legal industry, globally generating about $13 billion annually. Meanwhile, sex trafficking in the United States is a decidedly illegal industry…about $99 billion annually. In 2020, there was a 500 percent increase of child tapes and porn videos.”
Labor trafficking in the world, she said, is done in fruit and vegetable fields, through maids and nannies, in sweat shops, chocolate plantations and fishing.
Miller said there are signs to help a person recognize victims of human trafficking.
Those are: Individuals show signs of “branding,” tattoos or jewelry bearing someone’s name; individuals who are not aware of their location; individuals are unable to tell a consistent story about their personal information; individuals avoid eye contact with other people; individuals wear inappropriate clothing for the weather; individuals exhibit signs of physical abuse and can’t explain them; individuals accompanied by other controlling individuals; individuals have excess cash or expensive items that they cannot explain; individual is a marginalized youth (runaway, homeless or in foster care); has a relationship with an older individual; and has low self-esteem/dependency issues.
Those who would like to get involved may contact the Gracehaven House in Ohio, for young girls; and the Oasis House for adult women.
Born and raised in Greenville, Miller gives to this project as much as she can as a business owner.
“My family has been very active in volunteering with me,” she said. “They helped me host events, work teams, and more. They have played a very instrumental part in the fight against trafficking. I’m grateful for a supportive family.”