Project Light distributes essential bags to human trafficking victims

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, August 16, 2022

SALISBURY — To spread awareness and education of human trafficking in Rowan County, participants in Project Light have crafted essential bags to give to victims to help them break out of their entrapment and to share with others so they know assistance is out there.

Jim Duncan, founder of Project Light, spoke at a Kiwanis Club of Salisbury meeting in May sharing the purpose of the organization and the importance of spotting the signs of human trafficking, which is the exploitation of an individual for labor, services or commercial sex.

“We want to stop the trafficking so they (victims) can get help,” shared Duncan.

Since then, the club has donated $1,000 to support the mission and beef up Project Light’s prevention program. According to Kiwanis project coordinator Nancy Zimmerman, every one was moved during May’s meeting when Duncan came to speak.

“We knew something had to be done about it,” she said. “It’s so easy to think that there’s nothing you can do about stuff like this, but even the smallest things can change the world.”

The club chooses smaller service projects every quarter for members to participate in. Project Light is one of the organizations that Kiwanis decided to partner with as it spreads awareness in the Rowan County community.

Members of the club met in July to lend a helping hand in assembling the bags that would be passed out to victims of human trafficking in Rowan County. Members were given a sample bag by Duncan that included all necessities in one place.

Kiwanis took funds from the revenues at its annual Pancake Festival to purchase the supplies and make the donation to Project Light. Inside these bags were an assortment of toiletries including deodorant, towels, body sprays and lip balm by FillTech in Rockwell. The company made 300 of these with Project Light’s phone number and information on the label. Each bag also included snacks, first aid supplies, socks and information on where to find help.

However, Kiwanis Club of Salisbury is not the only organization to get involved with Duncan’s mission. Livingstone College’s Garette Hunter, administrative assistant at the university and board member in charge of marketing for Project Light, created and maintains the website, projectlightrowanht.org. Christiana Lutheran Church also crafted 100 bags for distribution.

With the Kiwanis supply, many of these bags have been passed out to Rowan County’s Latino community, Capstone Recovery and the Rowan County Health Department.

According to Duncan, the passing out of essential bags has been one of the ways Project Light has assisted the community since its establishment in 2021. Over 150 flyers have been passed out in Rowan County outlining what human trafficking is and the indicators of it.

Duncan also shared that Project Light has been incorporated and is now officially a non-profit organization.

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