Human Trafficking Interview with Lara Vanderhoof

On Tuesday the 2nd, I interviewed Lara Vanderhoof who happens to live in McPherson but works in Hillsboro at Tabor College.  She is a social worker and has worked with dozens of human trafficking victims and sadly was in danger because of the type of rescue work she did for the children she had saved.  The interview is below with some of the questions being answered with the other questions.

1. How did you come to knowledge with this issue? “1990’s when I was a social worker I worked with kids in foster care who were being trafficked.  The parents paid for them to be sent to the U.S.  This was before it was known as ‘trafficking’.”

2. What made you decide to go into this type of subject/field? “People who don’t have a voice, the human trafficking-human unjustice/rights who also have a higher risk”

3. How long would you say you have been apart of dealing with this sort of issue?  “Mid 1990’s, I worked on and off and the community needs to respond”

4. Exactly, how many, prevention acts are there in the world that are well known? “Its a global issue, 44 kids have been rescued in KS in 2012 not for sure who makes the numbers.. Government laws in U.N. to ensure money for traffic survivor to get services, in 2001 the U.S looked more into the issue”

5. What could I or we do as a community to spread the word to teenagers or even parents on how to keep one another safe?  “Look around and see if there is something out of place, a child who should be in school but with an older man out with no ID.  Get businesses to look out also, kids short with one another or with conversation, getting involved/informed.  How you purchase things, where clothes/food are purchased or produced, know where the products come from.  Awareness campaign on campuses and talking about it with others.”

6. How are you able to get the word out to teens/young adults about human trafficking?  Same with question 5

7. Why is human trafficking not as well known?  “No one wants to think about their own children being trafficked, the brain protects us from thinking about the reality.”

8. How would you inform parents?  “How to tell your children to approach people who approach them on the play ground, school ground, etc.  Teach right/wrong touching, schools need to educate kids who have no one/attention at home, safety protections on internet/safety talks.”

9. What would you say to get them to protect/watch their children more closely?  Same with question 8

10. If you could go back in time, would you have chose the same path you are on now?  “Never changed social worker, would change the work provided for others, my life was in danger, I would do more/more research, etc.”

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