Breaking the Silence – Human Trafficking in Bucks County:
In early May we had a forum with Lucianna Alderfer, Co-chair of the Bucks County Coalition Against Trafficking (BCAT), Karen Kutzner from The Well, a local shelter and support facility for victims, and Chelsey Jackman, Deputy District Attorney.
“Modern-day human slavery” is thriving in Bucks County, according to representatives from law enforcement and social service agencies that confront the issue on a daily basis. They spoke at a May 3 forum at Trinity Episcopal Church in Solebury. Karen Kutzner, a representative of the Well, a Bucks County-based recovery program, told forum attendees most of the victims she sees are prostitutes who are addicted to drugs. Many of them suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), and many are trapped in their situation because their pimps supply them with heroin in order to keep them from leaving. Courtney Fyock, with A Woman’s Place, urged forum attendees to contact their elected state representatives to push for the passage of a bill, which is currently held up in the Pennsylvania senate, that would provide protections for victims of human trafficking, notably minors. The Well, BCAT, A Woman’s Place, and the Bucks County District Attorney’s office all participated in the discussion with about 60 attendees.