COLUMBUS (WCMH) – State Representative Teresa Fedor has been a leading advocate here in Ohio who’s trying to end human trafficking. Thursday marks the 8th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day where the Statehouse held a conference for law enforcement officers, experts, advocates and survivors.
Hundreds of men and women gathered at the Capitol where dozens of speakers took to the stage including Dr. Elaine Richardson, a Professor of Literacy Studies in the college of education at The Ohio State University.
Dr. Richardson tells her story of how she did not even know she was involved in human trafficking at such an early age.
Richardson grew up in Cleveland and says when she was young she watched her parents have one fight: “It wasn’t like my parents fought all the time they had one fight but it was a violent fight and it crushed my spirit”.
From then on, Richardson says she looked for love in the wrong places and found herself with a pimp at the age of 13. After years of being on the streets she eventually was able to get help from an organization called Project Second Chance. She graduated, moved from Cleveland to Columbus where she works and now hopes her story will help others.
“I think that we have to understand that we’re all human beings and we can’t look at people as throwaways,” she said. “There’s no such thing as a throwaway human being.”
A youth event is taking place on Friday at the Capitol beginning at 9:30a.m. Tickets are free and can be found here.