Breaking the Silence: O.C. Advocate Against Human Trafficking Joins White House Group

Some might think slavery is a thing of the past. Tell that to the more than 1,000 victims of human trafficking in Orange County, says Sandra Morgan, director of the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University and recent appointee to the White House advisory council to end human trafficking. Morgan, a longtime champion of women’s and children’s rights, contends the problem is a global one, fed by poverty, dire living conditions, and easier access to potential victims through the internet. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

➜ “I tell the victims’ stories. To really be an advocate, you have to be a voice for those who have no voice.”

➜ “Outreach and education have to happen daily, like brushing your teeth. If you give a child a toothbrush, it will prevent tooth decay, but they have to do it every day. … I want to take a wheelbarrow of toothbrushes to (lawmakers) and say, ‘You get to brush your teeth today and again in two years. Let’s see how that works for you.’ ”

➜ “Many victims believe this is their only option. They might owe money or be escaping family situations.”

➜ “It’s important to see the signs. If a girl starts bringing Gucci bags to school or wearing things she normally couldn’t afford, there may be a problem.”

➜ “I want to focus on prevention, to stop the cycle so that victims don’t go back.”