The Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking will convene on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at 1412 S. Evans Street (conference room located behind the Heart for ENC building)
At this meeting, Laura King, executive director of the Center for Family Violence Prevention, will be discussing the potential the Family Justice Center has to provide a stronger continuum of care for victims of violence in Pitt County.
Fair trade coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts will be available to enjoy. Together we can end human trafficking in North Carolina.
The Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking will welcome Robin Tant, foster parent, to discuss her experience with fostering children during the May meeting as recognition of National Foster Care Month.
Tant is the nutrition program director at the Pitt County Health Department. She has worked at the health department for around 15 years and has been a dietitian for almost 23 years.
She graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor of science in nutrition and dietetics and holds a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in health. She has a passion for both children and animals. She has been a foster parent since Feb. 14, 2020.
“Robin has a perspective that we need to hear as a coalition,” said PCCAHT facilitator Pam Strickland.
“We know that foster children are more vulnerable to the grooming and recruitment tactics of predators and traffickers. Robin’s lived experience with fostering children can not only guide our work in the community but also has the capacity to bring people to the table who are interested in becoming foster parents themselves.”
The May meeting is slated for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 19, at the Heart for ENC conference room on 1412 S. Evans St. PCCAHT will be meeting in person this month without any virtual option.
The Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking will welcome Hannah Parham, MSW, supportive housing director of First Fruit Ministries, to discuss housing programs during its virtual meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 17.
First Fruit Ministries is located in Wilmington and includes programs that are catered to the human trafficking survivor population. First Fruit Ministries accepts referrals from outside New Hanover County, which will be a connection that is needed for Pitt County organizations.
“We are happy to have Hannah join us this month,” Pam Strickland, founder of NC Stop Human Trafficking and facilitator of PCCAHT said.
“First Fruit Ministry has incredible programming that is needed across the state. They are innovative and compassionate in their approach to human trafficking survivor services. We want our local organizations to know more about them in case they find that their clients need assistance that aligns with First Fruit’s programming.”
Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking will welcome Michele Marston-Stevens, program administrator with Koinonia Community Solutions, at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 17 virtually.
Marston-Stevens will address implementing youth education programs, developing affordable housing initiatives and creating economic empowerment strategies which are the focus points of Koinonia Community Solutions.
“We are excited to learn about Koinonia Community Solutions programs,” said Pam Strickland, PCCAHT facilitator and founder of NC Stop Human Trafficking.
“These programs are examples of what primary human trafficking prevention can be, but they also have the capacity to reduce revictimization through empowering people to have stable housing and gainful employment.”
Marston-Stevens was previously the Title I Regional Program Manager under the Federal WIOA Program overseen by the Rivers East Workforce Development Board.
She has spent more than two decades in the corporate, healthcare and educational sectors and is a Pitt Community College Alumni. She studied economics at East Carolina University with a focus on the economics of poverty and discrimination.
She is also a wife, mother and stepmother. She and her husband have also served as temporary foster parents, as well as directly assisted six women out of human trafficking over the last year.
She is a Greenville native who believes in advocating for the under-served and those who need assistance leveling up as they heal from trauma, escape poverty and receive the support they need to obtain a brighter future.
The Pitt County Coalition will hear from Liz Liles, founder of Daughters of Worth, about how she serves victims of human trafficking in Pitt County and surrounding areas at 9:30 a.m., Jan. 20, virtually. (Meeting was originally planned for in-person, but due to the recent COVID cases spike, it has shifted to a virtual platform).
Liles will speak on what her organization is seeing on the ground in the wake of the COVID pandemic and the community gaps in services.
“Liz is a long-time colleague who has worked closely with NC Stop Human Trafficking and a long-time member of the Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking,” said Pam Strickland, facilitator of PCCAHT and founder of NC Stop Human Trafficking.
“We are looking forward to hearing about what victimization looks like from the unique perspective of Daughters of Worth, and how we as a coalition can assist in filling the community gaps that have become apparent since the onset of the pandemic.”
The Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking will welcome guest speaker Nikki Locklear, director of the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault/Human Trafficking Program for the NC Commission of Indian Affairs within the NC Department of Administration, at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 18 at Oakmont Baptist Church.
Locklear will discuss the intersection of how systemic oppression and discrimination against Native American people has led to a disproportionate level of human trafficking among indigenous people. Locklear will also discuss the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women across the country and in North Carolina.
Locklear is an expert in the domestic violence/sexual assault/human trafficking field, serving more than 13 years in advocacy and more than 10 years in direct services.
Throughout her career, she has worked on many projects in North Carolina to assist and inform victims of violence in tribal communities.
Most recently she has spearheaded a “Serving American Indian Victims” webinar series that is available through the NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website.
She has served on the Regional Council for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and is currently serving on the NC Coalition Against Human Trafficking Board as a member of the Community and Faith based Committee.
She is also a member of the NC Domestic Violence Commissions Victim Services subcommittee and the Governors Crime Commission Advisory Board. For the past few years, she has written the Governors Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Awareness Day Proclamation. Her goal is to assist victims of interpersonal violence in North Carolina and in tribal communities in receiving culturally specific services that aid in supportive care.
“It is an honor to have Miss Locklear speak to our coalition this month,” said Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking Facilitator Pam Strickland.
“Her expertise in the field of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault through the lens of serving tribal communities is invaluable. We cannot address the issue of human trafficking without understanding how systemic oppression continues to lead to the exploitation of Native American communities across this state, and frankly, the entire country.”
The Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking will meet Thursday, Sept. 16, at 9:30 a.m. virtually.
The September meeting will feature guest speaker, Lillie Malpass (she/her/hers), the executive director of the Pitt County Coalition on Substance Use (PCCSU).
Malpass completed her masters in public health from East Carolina University in 2020. She is a certified health education specialist and is passionate about educating the community on substance use, trauma and recovery.
Originally from Hallsboro, N.C., Malpass now considers Pitt County her second home.
She is currently teaching two sections of HLTH 4611 – Program Evaluation for the Department of Health Education and Promotion at ECU.
“The intersection between substance use and human trafficking in Pitt County and all of North Carolina is large,” said PCCAHT facilitator Pam Strickland.
“It is important that we come to the table and talk about these intersections and how one leads to the other or vice versa. Ms. Malpass will offer our coalition insight into the issue in Pitt County, as well as an avenue for professionals at our table to collaborate with professionals and community members at hers.”
The Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking will welcome Ashley Lowe, survivor and advocate, to speak on her experiences and her work around providing support to girl survivors of exploitation and trafficking during the scheduled June meeting.
Lowe works as an advocate for the nonprofit organization Karana Rising.
Karana Rising supports survivors for life, not just a season, customizing a path to wellness that involves body, mind, soul, and community.
“I love advocating for girls who were like me,” Lowe said.
“When growing up, I felt like there weren’t enough resources for girls that were like myself and experienced some of the things that I encountered into my adolescent years. I love what I do and I love telling my story because our voices need to be heard. I live by the motto reach one teach one. I want to teach and educate young women and girls that they are not alone and there are people that have in their shoes and understand where they come from.”
Pam Strickland, PCCAHT facilitator and founder of NC Stop Human Trafficking said the voices and the stories of survivors are imperative when developing localized services and resources.
“As a community, we need to understand what survivors need, and not impose as service providers what we think they need,” Strickland said.
“We are excited to hear Ms. Lowe offer up sound advice and wisdom that she possesses through her lived experience and advocacy work.”
The Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking meets on the third Thursday of the month at 9:30 a.m. via zoom and in person at the new Farmville Public Library, 4276 W Church St, Farmville.
Lauren Anzelone, LCSW, founder of LAMB’s Place, will speak about the relationship of human trafficking to the foster care system during the May meeting of the Pitt County Coalition Against Human Trafficking (May 20 at 9:30 a.m. virtually or at the Farmville Public Library).
Lauren received her Master’s in Social Work in 2009 from East Carolina University and became a fully licensed clinical social worker in June of 2019.
She has worked in the mental health field since 2002 and with young people in the foster care system and/or aging out of the foster care system since 2009.
Lauren saw the continuous need for stable, affordable housing for young people that age out of foster care or have had adverse childhoods and barriers to overcome as they transition to adulthood.
She heard countless stories of the dreams young people have for their lives, all while seeing the many barriers they have to reaching those goals. Her heart was broken as she realized that many of the young people aging out of foster care will experience homelessness and do not have stable/consistent relationships to help them navigate life and the many bumps in the road. After walking out of the third home in poor conditions that the young people were living in, she said, “God, you need to do something.” He said, “Ok. You do it.” and LAMB’s Place was started.
Without stable housing the young people are more likely to have difficulty with obtaining/maintaining employment and education. The instability also increases the risk that the young people getting involved with the legal system or more at risk of getting involved in human trafficking. The goal of LAMB’s Place is to assist the young people with gaining the independent/transitional life skills they need to be successful and to reach their life goals. Counselors meet with them weekly and help them get connected with community resources to help them meet their needs. Since opening their first home in the summer of 2020, they have opened three homes and supported 8 Residents.
To attend this meeting you can go to the Farmville Public Library, 4276 W Church St, Farmville, NC 27828, or attend the meeting on zoom.
Join Bonnie Jean Kuras of TEDI BEAR Children’s Advocacy Center and Melinda Sampson of NC Stop Human Trafficking to discuss what awareness events are popping up across Pitt County for Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month.