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Posted: Mar 09, 2020 1:09 PMUpdated: Mar 09, 2020 1:14 PM

Dance for Freedom Brings Fight to Human Trafficking

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Garrett Giles

The Dance for Freedom Showcase held at Grace Community Church in Bartlesville over the weekend took on human trafficking.

Janiece Montgomery, the Executive Director and Founder of Dance for Freedom, gave practical tips for the audience to take home with them so they could make a difference in the fight against human trafficking. Encouraging those that could become foster parents was the final piece of advice Montgomery gave.

There are over 8,000 children in Oklahoma alone that need foster care. Children that have been in the foster care system make up over 60-percent of domestically trafficked youth. When children do not have safe homes to go to, it is said that they end up in group homes, which makes them easier to recruit for human trafficking.

Montgomery said we need to look into ways in which we can bring hope, healing and love to foster children. She said we need to be there for foster children, or human traffickers will.

Another practical tip for the audience was this: be a smart consumer. Montgomery said this applies to the things you buy in the store and the things you view and consume online. She said there is plenty of content online that is dangerous for your mind, and it fuels human trafficking.

Human trafficking is such a huge industry because there is a high demand. If the demand is eliminated, the need for slavery is also eliminated. By making informed choices when making purchases, you can make a difference in the demand.

$2,028 was raised during Saturday's Dance for Freedom Showcase. All proceeds will go towards the events three abolition partners for 2020.

One of those partners was the "Not for Sale" campaign. Montgomery said the global organization works with entrepreneurs to develop effective, ethical solutions to provide commerce and jobs in areas that are at risk of human trafficking. She said the group has companies that can be found on their website.

Other abolition partners that the Dance for Freedom Showcase joined forces with were "Defending Dignity" out of Tulsa, and "Crisis Nursery" out of Oklahoma City. Montgomery said they look to groups like this to do the "boots-on-the-ground" work.

One final point that was brought up on Saturday for people to take home was this: using your resources. This might mean donating money to an anti-human trafficking organization. Montgomery said they have a page on their website of groups they have partnered for over the last seven years if you feel like looking into a group to donate money to.

Using your resources might mean volunteering your time at a local organization that serves the at risk populations locally. This could also mean using your specific skills or talents to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking (i.e. teaching, dancing, etc.).

For example, 36 dancer attended the Dance-a-thon that Dance for Freedom put on prior to the main showcase at 7:00 p.m. at Grace Community Church. Those same dancers had the chance to dance in the showcase on Saturday. Joining them were company members from Stage Art Dance and the Locomotion Dance Team.

Montgomery said it will take all of us to end human trafficking. She urged the crowd to be ready to do something to help in the fight.

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