The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is expected to draw up to half-a-million people this weekend.
But unfortunately, the large crowds make Savannah a breeding ground for human trafficking. Reports of human trafficking in the United States increase every year, according to the Polaris Project. And—256 human trafficking cases were reported in Georgia in 2016 alone, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
But there are hundreds more victims still affected, and a local teen is stepping up with a simple idea, trying to get Savannah St. Patrick’s Day natives and visitors to say something if they see something.
News 3’s Courtney Cole has the story.
Darius Scott is a very busy young man.
The South Effingham High School student is on the honor roll, plays two sports and is also a member of the Rotary Club. During one of the Rotary Club’s oratorical contests, he discovered his passion for giving a voice to the victims of human trafficking.
“…It was really new to me, but it was really interesting to learn about it and yet it was heartbreaking at the same time to realize the hard and cruel truth about the matter,” Scott said.
A matter that stuck with Scott long after he won the contest.
“You kind of have to see past the prize of winning the Rotary Speech Contest and have to see the pure purpose of speaking about Human Trafficking, because it is such an unspoken topic and it needs to be heard,” Scott told News 3.
And seen…that’s why he created the BeFree Bracelets.
“I thought about a simple, yet creative way, to get the community aware about Human Trafficking, while at the same time giving a positive and kind of in-seasonal theme to the bracelet,” Scott said.
He had 200 bracelets made.
“On the front, it has happy St. Patrick’s Day with a smiley face on that side and a clover leaf and on the back it has “every human has value. On the inside, it has the human trafficking text hotline,” said Scott.
He says he will pass them out on Friday, St. Patrick’s Day–an event with crowds large enough for human trafficking to happen under-the-radar.
“By passing these out, I intend to decrease the amount of children, that could be, possibly, exploited during this time. And just to keep all the children and young men and women safe so we can all enjoy it together,” Scott said.
Scott will be passing out the free BeFree Bracelets on Friday, March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, in Forsyth Park in Savannah.
He says after St. Patrick’s Day, he plans to continue to create them and distribute them in different colors, for different events.
If you’d like to collaborate with Darius, you can email him here: 777Scott2@gmail.com
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-(888)-373-7888
Text: “HELP or “INFO” to 233733
Click here to visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline webpage.
Click here to learn more about the Polaris Project.