Dr. Sloan Talks God's Women Rock & The Dangers Of Sex Trafficking
Updated: Apr 25, 2019
Did you know that the trafficking of women and children is one of the world's fastest growing crimes? It has been reported that human trafficking in Texas accounts for 25% of the people trafficked in the United States which includes sex workers and labor trafficking. That's why the goal of God's Women Rock is to focus on faith and apply it to social issues. I got a chance to speak with Dr. Sloan about her upcoming event God's Women Rock and this years focus, trafficking.
For those of you who are not familiar with Dr. Sloan, Dr. Sonya Sloan's primary goal is to make a difference in life. Whether or not she is working as an orthopedic surgeon by trade or handling her duties as the First Lady of the Luke Church in Humble Texas, Dr. Sloan is making sure she leaves a legacy behind. The mother of three also has two non-profit organizations, Me & We, Motivating and Empowering Women To Excel which aids women in starting businesses, spiritual enrichment, health, and finance awareness, and Sloan STEM & Art, which uses economic programs and mentorship to expose minority students to STEM-related activities and careers. Dr. Sloan is an entrepreneur and part owner of a telemedicine company. She also works as a traveling orthopedic surgeon. Recently Sloan became an author releasing her new book, The Rules Of Medicine which is about medical professionals, health care and how to be successful in that field as well as life.
SWS: What birth the idea of God’s Women Rock?
Dr: Sloan: About four or five years ago I told my husband that women's ministry is nice and the church is good, but we want to do something out of the box. I said, let's throw a party for women and celebrate who we are and what God has done for us as well as the power God has giving us to impact and influence. That's how it was birth. It was basically to be a fun event that celebrated women and then it was to focus on something. One year we focused on international ministries, so we celebrated women who were doing that. Then we focused on health care. As a doctor, I thought it was essential to focus and give back to someone who doesn't have what we have. We built a medical clinic with the money we raised for Haiti that now services about 100,000 people every year including women and children. Human trafficking has been on my heart for about the past three or four years . Specifically in Houston Texas. Houston. Texas has now been dubbed by 2020 to be the #1 city for human trafficking in the nation. I wanted to bring focus to that and awareness to women who don't know that it exists and make them a little uncomfortable and say, this is what is going on, and this is what you should be doing about it and then collaborating with other organizations who are already doing this.
I agree with everything you said earlier when you said that trafficking is heartfelt to you, it is heartfelt to me too, especially living in Houston. I have to drive by Bissonett sometimes and seeing the girls walking that area makes me sad.
Right, and you don't know their story. That's the issue, how a lot of them were not placed in that position. Some people don't realize that human trafficking has two sides. The sex side but there is also the labor side. In Texas, both are very prevalent. The sex side is either done by the legal definition of sex trafficking or human trafficking which is done by force, coercion or fraud. So a lot of these girls were told they would have jobs or they were coerced because they took their passport, or they may have drugged them or told them that they were going to tell their families and humiliate them.
SWS: What is trafficking ?
Dr. Sloan: So modern day trafficking is modern day slavery. The United States is different from the rest of the world. So in the United States its considered labor trafficking . So that would be people who come from another country or they are here and their money is held or they aren’t allowed to leave their jobs for a time or terrible conditions. Then you have sex trafficking.That can be everything to a massage parlor to where women are doing things for men to children that are being online sex trafficking as well as physically. That is the number one. Kids right now between the ages of 9-14, specifically African Americans are at the height of human trafficking. Now in other countries, there are other types of trafficking more specific to sex trafficking but they also consider labor trafficking working in plants or mixed fields. They are young so they call it Children’s Trafficking or Children’s Labor but it is still the same thing. Force, coercion, or fraud.
It's a really unfortunate situation of how people can run away or be kidnapped into trafficking. It can happen to anyone.
Yes, it can. Case in point, A big CEO in Houston for Redeemed Ministries which is one of the only organization that pulls kids off of the street they also provided a program and house for adult women to stay in when they come off of the streets. Well, his daughter was about to be human trafficked. They were able to intervene and capture her from the offender. She had got on an airplane thinking that she was about to go hang out with some friends. No one knew where they were going to be staying, or who was going to be around. It was a matter of a few days before they retrieved her. He(the CEO for Redeemed Ministries) is the head of a multimillion dollar company. Now he is involved in teaching kids how to recognize how to be careful and how to be safe.
Is trafficking only an underground thing? I read a story about the President and Graduate Advisor for AKA over at Fort State Valley University where she and six others were accused of running a prostitution ring. Also earlier this year the owner of the Patriots was also caught in a scandal involving trafficking. So is trafficking something that can happen in any industry?
I think it can happen on multiple levels. It's different ways that people form it or talk about it. So to be clear, legally, it has to be by force, coercion, or fraud so something was promised not delivered or if it's against your will or forced life or death to do it. So with the AKA, I am an AKA and that was a huge mess. A lot of it was the legality of hazing which they pushed into the definition of sex trafficking or human trafficking which fell on the labor side as well. So I don't think that that totally and the jury is out on that so I won't speak to that too much. With the owner of the football team, he went into a parlor and paid for a service. A lot of time with human trafficking, it's usually the john's or men that are wanting services and they will pay for those services. So he(the owner) was not doing it himself, he was a john receiving the services, but it wasn't just deemed as prostitution. It was also deemed human trafficking.
Jumping back to God's Women Rock, why was it essential to have Ivy McGregor as the speaker?
Ivy McGregor is an ordained minister which some people don't realize. She is excellent, Christian wise. Ivy is also an international and global speaker, and she is also over multiple non-profit organizations for Beyonce. She does a lot of international things, and she has seen human trafficking first hand. So its that she is aware and has a heart for it. You have to have someone who understands but even on a ministerial side. We get to see what we should be doing as Christians. So she was ideal, and she is from Houston.
How can we as regular people help those who have been subjected to trafficking?
It doesn't matter if you are in the church or out of the church; this is a societal ill. Sex trafficking is so massive it is on the legal side, now it's on the health side. I see patients that are coming in drugged, or they have been raped. It is a health issue then now it is becoming a faith issue because this is about broken people. So either they are in it and danger, and what kind of hope do they have and their faith as well as once they come out of it? What are we giving them to sustain themselves to provide them with some hope? So, I think it hits all targets. So what people have to do is get involved in organizations that may already be doing a lot. In Houston, The United Against Human Trafficking is a huge organization that is a part of a collaboration with multiple organizations in Houston. Redeemed Ministries, Free The Captive, and Children At Risk which is another big organization that deals with the legal side for children. They deal with everything from foster care to homelessness, to human trafficking. They work with Governor Greg Abbott to make legal laws that will benefit children. Specifically, human trafficking is something they have helped get passed. Legally people have to get involved. If that means signing a petition or supporting a law or bill, your voice matters, and every vote counts, that means to get involved on the political side to help laws change. Right now, one of the petitions that we are pushing specifically is one in Texas that says, school's sports directors, as well as school board members, will have to be educated and trained on human trafficking and what it is, what it looks like, and, how to intervene if kids are involved.