“You’re under arrest for the murder of Alton Sterling,” should have been the response from Howie Lake. After witnessing his partner Blake Salamoni shoot Sterling, he laid flat on the ground while mockingly screaming “he’s got a gun.” Instead, after a trial of his peers, he was acquitted.
Regretfully, a world where accountability is enforced by members of the “same team,” may currently be fictional. However, if we apply that approach to other issues such as human trafficking, a world of difference is inevitable.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the gracefully articulate Dana World-Patterson, who stands as the passionate founder of Foundations for Freedom. With its mantra “One less,” the organization in the words of Patterson,
“…stands dedicated to eradicating human trafficking.”
Patterson, whom also serves as Chair to the Milwaukee Human Trafficking Task Force, started the “Men 4 Men” initiative that although acts as awareness project. With the efforts of the task force that meets regularly to discuss tactics, and passionate Men 4 Men participants it will foreseeably evolve into a prevention coalition also.
According to The U.S State Department there are roughly 20 to 30 million women being trafficked globally majority by men. “ As disgusting as it is the average age of girls being trafficked is 13” Said Patterson. An officer standing up to another officer could have saved lives or provided justice. With enough men standing against men (pimps) we would see similar results.
The Men 4 Men movement that seen over 400 participant (a number she looks to increase), embodies this philosophy that is designed to encourage men to join the fight. Originating in the summer of 2017, Men 4 Men required participants to sign a pledge that outlined ways to help stand against trafficking. A contract I humbly signed over the summer, one that also includes a tee shirt with the words Men 4 Men printed boldly across the chest area of the shirt.
When choosing the tagline “one less” for her organization, Patterson was inspired by a poem called wind beneath my wings that featured a young girl returning grounded starfish to the ocean.
The goal of the organization is “force trafficking to throw back a girl” said Patterson “like the girl said in poem it mattered to that one star fish.” By doing that one less victim is forced to be a part of trafficking. The men who signed the pledge showed courage, more so then the officers who allowed others to kill.
It is a war and we need similar resolve in order to one day, force the ocean that is human trafficking to throw back more then one of our “superstar” women at a time, but all of them.
To get involved with foundations for freedom visit www.foundations4freedom.org to find out about upcoming events. Or Contact Mrs. Patterson via Facebook to learn about Scheduled meetings of the human trafficking task force.
Written By: Joshua Thomas