Posted on Mar 10, 2021
Our presenter on March 10th was Jessica B. Marcetti, Manager of Volunteer Services at Vista Maria.
Vista Maria serves 1,200 children a year, over 450 per day, with 100 living on campus, offering residential treatment programs and on-campus charter schools.  Its mission is to foster restorative relationships and deliver innovative care, treatment, and education so that vulnerable youth believe in their worth, heal, and build the skills for success.  It serves primarily adolescent females who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, or involved in human trafficking.
What is human trafficking? It involves an action (inducing, recruiting, transporting) through a means (force, fraud, coercion) for commercial sex (sex trafficking) or labor/services (labor trafficking).  Sex trafficking can occur at massage parlors, through escort services, and at private parties, to name a few.  Examples of labor trafficking include domestic (nannies), and seasonal work at farms and hotels.
There were 364 human trafficking cases in Michigan in 2019, 40% involving the exploitation of a child, and nearly 300,000 U.S. children are at risk.  There are certain risk factors that make children vulnerable, a few examples include a history of abuse in the home, substance abuse, and frequent school changes where there is no tie to the community.
People can help fight human trafficking by recognizing possible indicators that it’s happening.  A few examples are a sudden disconnection from family and friends, dramatic change in behavior, and often accompanied by someone they defer to.  Be aware of the vulnerable people in your community and connect with them on an individual level.  If a situation seems unsafe, report it to the authorities.
To learn more about Vista Maria, go to: