Conference looks at human trafficking

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — You might think human trafficking only happens in other countries, but it happens all over the United States and right here in Connecticut.

Quinnipiac University School of Nursing Friday held an all-day conference on the issue to raise awareness and dialogue in the community.

“The problem is way bigger than people think,” survivor Timea Nhay said. “I can look in any direction right now here in Connecticut and New Haven and show you areas were the traffic victims are.”

“The first step to stopping to stopping anything is like in the medical field; we first have to identify it, and then we have to look at why does it continue, and then what we can do about it,” explained Professor Barbara Moynihan.

Survivors are now working with the victims on the front-line, sharing their stories in hopes of helping others. Nhay was a victim at the age of 20 after she answered an ad in the paper to become a nanny. Two weeks later she flew to Canada.

“When I got to the airport, I was taken to a motel and within an hour of my arrival I was taken to a strip joint,” Nhay said.

She says most victims are brainwashed. “I couldn’t talk to anybody. I couldn’t call anybody. I didn’t know where I was.”

Shana Goodwin is also a survivor. “They brought me in and they said we are going to be this great family and I am going to be your dad and you are going to have sisters, and I was like ‘yeah’. And they gave me drugs and then by the time I figured out what was going on it was too late.”

After ten years Goodwin escaped and got help through the Magdalene, a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets.

“We employ 60 women for the Magdalene and Thistle Farms,” Goodwin said. “We earn a paycheck, we earn our independence back, we earn our hope, trust, love. We believe that love is the strongest force for healing in the world and I do believe that love healed me.”

“We employ 60 women for the Magdalene and Thistle Farms,” Goodwin said. “We earn a paycheck, we earn our independence back, we earn our hope, trust, love. We believe that love is the strongest force for healing in the world and I do believe that love healed me.”

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