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Rotary Club of Putnam County hosts human trafficking awareness program – Shaw Local

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The Rotary Club of Putnam County will host an event on “Human Trafficking: A Real and Present Danger” on Thursday, June 6, at 6:30 p.m. at LJ's Garden Cafe, 114 N. Chicago St., Magnolia.

Here in Central Illinois, even here in the Illinois Valley, there are cases of human trafficking of domestic workers, profiteering, sex workers and others lured into relationships through financial manipulation, forced dependency, physical threats and abuse. How do you recognize the danger? How can our youth avoid tempting offers that sound too good to be true and only find out too late how false they are?

These issues are of concern to many organizations, including Rotary clubs, here and around the world. The Putnam County Rotary Club will host Toni Lucas, a speaker who advocates for men, women and children who are victims of human trafficking. She will share insights into the massive and growing scale of human trafficking and what we can do to become more aware and prevent or report cases in our local communities.

Lucas has worn many hats in her past years and multiple careers, including more than 40 years as a legal secretary in the Illinois Valley, office manager in England, and currently as pastor of the United Methodist Church in Albany, Illinois. In addition to her community work and activism, Lucas has organized Rotary's District Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force and is a member of the global, online Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking. Her passion for justice has led her to actively participate in her church's anti-racism task force and in civil rights pilgrimages to many communities throughout the South.

The stories of human trafficking that Lucas tells are true, not just statistics from a magazine. The event is open to the public, with attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. Dinner and the program begin at 6:30 p.m. Dinner is $15 per person. To reserve a spot, text 815-866-1975 or email [email protected] by June 4.