SHERIDAN — January is National Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month, and Sheridan’s local anti-human-trafficking organization, Uprising, has been hosting events, trainings and fundraisers all month long in observance.
Through its events this month, Uprising hoped to expose different communities across Sheridan to the organization’s mission, Executive Director Terri Markham said. To do this, Uprising hosted themed events intended to draw different crowds, from a teen skate night to parent and caregiver trainings, a Crossfit rowathon to game nights at local bars.
Some of the events incorporated fundraising, Markham said. For instance, Uprising’s Crossfit rowathon met its $10,000 fundraising goal. Others simply offered attendees a fun place to go, like the teen skate night, or human-trafficking-specific resources, like the parent and caregiver classes.
At each event, Markham said, attendees learned about Uprising’s mission and were encouraged to initiate conversations about human trafficking in their own lives. Markham said these conversations can range, from talking to young people about consent to chatting with neighbors and friends about protective factors in the community — such as community centers, libraries, volunteer programs and more — that decrease exploitation.
Trafficking need not be a frightening or stigmatized topic, Markham said. There are ways to discuss it with people of all ages, in any setting — even over a game of bingo or a gym rowing machine.
Overall, Markham said, Sheridan residents were excited to learn through Uprising’s events this month.
“I had a lot of community members tell me…that they’re glad to know that there’s an organization like us that exists in the community,” Markham said.
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