Hudson -- The public is invited to the Country Club of Hudson Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. to hear Theresa Flores, author, speaker and human sex trafficking survivor, discuss her experiences and share what can be done to stop others from suffering the same nightmare.
Flores' appearance is sponsored by the Zonta Club of Hudson. Zonta is an international organization whose members work to advance the status of women throughout the world through service and advocacy.
"According to the Ohio Attorney General, 'human trafficking is an estimated multi-billion a year international enterprise that forces the most vulnerable among us into the horrors of modern-day slavery,'" Zonta Club of Hudson President Jenny Markovich, said. "The Zonta Club of Hudson's mission is to advance the status of women and children, and in order to eliminate and stop the violence against women and children, our members find it important to educate and bring awareness to our community about this issue."
Flores will provide a first-hand account as well as educate the public on how to take action to eliminate this "horrific crime," Markovich added.
Flores, of Columbus, is founder of Traffickfree, an organization created to help educate the public and build awareness on the issue of human trafficking. Flores travels the nation to bring awareness to the sex trade business and has appeared on a variety of national talk and news shows to share her story.
At 15, while living in an upper-middle class suburb of Detroit, Flores was drugged, raped and tortured for two years, and passed around to trafficking members as a reward after being forced into a human trafficking ring, according to Flores' website.
Flores has authored two books on her experiences, "The Slave Across the Street" and "Sacred Bath." Flores is also a licensed social worker and was appointed to the Ohio Attorney General's Human Trafficking Commission in 2009. She has testified before the Ohio House and Senate in support of human trafficking legislation. In 2012, Flores was awarded the Courage Award from Gov. John Kasich for her work to alleviate human trafficking.
Flores is also the creator of S.O.A.P., which stands for Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution. The group distributes bars of soap to motels wrapped with a red band which has the human trafficking hot line phone number on it, as well as the text code for the hot line.
"This event will be particularly enlightening as it will give a first-hand account of how easily it can be to fall into the trap of trafficking," said Anne Marie Smith, past president of the Zonta Club of Hudson. "Ms. Flores will not only help raise awareness about trafficking, but she will educate us on how we can work together to eradicate this violence against women and children."
"The topic of sex trafficking was chosen "because we are a women's organization looking for empowerment of women," according to Zonta Club of Hudson member Nina Clayman, who is organizing the event.
"It [sex trafficking] is so prevalent in the United States," Clayman said. "And within Summit County there are over 1,000 cases."
The event is a fundraiser, but will also be used to educate the public on the sex trafficking.
"Why we are doing this is not just to raise money, but to raise awareness," Clayman said.
Zonta donates money for scholarships and members work closely with a variety of women's groups and crisis centers throughout the year.
Tickets for the event are $35. There will be a raffle for American Girl Dolls and a silent auction.
For more reservations and more information email ZontaClubofHudson@gmail.com or call Anne Marie Smith at 44-715-5332.