Bloom for Women’s Oct. 4 event seeks to raise trafficking, exploitation awareness
BY TAMI QUIGLEY
Special to the Bethlehem Press
Freedom is the key message of the benefit dinner for survivors of sex trafficking sponsored by Bloom for Women Wednesday, Oct. 4, at Saucon Valley Country Club.
Bloom for Women, a faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing sanctuary and care for women survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, is hosting the event that begins at 6 p.m. and includes a cocktail hour, silent auction and speaker.
Keynoter Dr. Hanni Stoklosa is chief medical officer and co-founder of HEAL Trafficking, an organization that works to end human trafficking and support survivors. She is an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston with appointments at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Stoklosa as our keynote speaker for this important event,” Bloom for Women CEO Carol Andersen said. “Her expertise and advocacy for the well-being of trafficking survivors in the U.S. and internationally through a public health lens aligns with our mission to provide sanctuary and care for women survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.”
Dr. Stoklosa will be talking about her personal journey of awareness as an emergency physician; learning and unlearning her own perceived ideas of trafficking; and understanding the ways that trauma affects the health of victims. She will also discuss the importance of medical advocacy for some of the most vulnerable in our communities.
The event aims to raise awareness and funds for Bloom for Women’s mission to heal, empower and employ women survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. The organization offers a continuum of care, including emergency response, a two-year residential program, pregnant survivor services, and an independent living program in the Lehigh Valley.
Bloom for Women also operates the Bloom Creative Studio in Bangor, a social enterprise that leverages art as a healing tool and provides employment opportunities for survivors; and My Sister’s Closet, a women’s upscale resale boutique that provides employment for survivors, community volunteer opportunities and financial support for the organization.
According to available statistics, the average age of entry into “prostitution” is 12-14 years young, and 90 percent of women who are labeled “prostitutes” are owned by someone else. Most are abused by their pimp, drugged and beaten into submission, and victims often experience violence at the hands of “johns.” The girls can average 20 men per day and must give all their earnings to the pimp. The internet has changed how prostitution is organized, and online pimping can include video, still photos, and social media accounts.
Dr. Stoklosa is an internationally recognized expert, advocate, researcher and speaker on the well-being of trafficking survivors in the United States and internationally through a public health lens. She has advised the United Nations, International Organization for Migration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of State, and the National Academy of Medicine on issues of human trafficking, and testified as an expert witness multiple times before Congress. She has also conducted research on trafficking and persons facing the most significant social, economic and health challenges in a diversity of settings across the world.
The event is open to the public, and tickets can be purchased on Bloom for Women’s website.
For information on tickets and sponsorship opportunities contact Vickie Nisbet, 610-428-6774; email@example.com; bloomforwomen.org. The deadline for tickets and sponsorships is Sept. 27.