Motorcyclists raise awareness of human trafficking

By  | 

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Valley Human Trafficking Initiative held a police-escorted, 75-mile benefit ride around Harrisonburg on Saturday to raise awareness about a dark reality that people experience across the country, including in the Shenandoah Valley.

VHTI was established as a nonprofit three years ago and works with the FBI and local law enforcement to aid those who may be a victim of human trafficking along the I-81 corridor.

Pam Blackwell, with Valley Human Trafficking Initiative, said the organization's goal is to help victims rebuild their lives by finding services such as therapy, medical care, housing and jobs.

Before the ride, the organization asked riders to donate money to help continue to provide those services to victims.

"We are very much into making people aware that this is happening in our community right here," Blackwell said. "It's not in Thailand or somewhere else where you think of. It's right here in our community."

The ride's organizers discussed some of the possible signs of human trafficking with the motorcyclists in attendance.