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Human Trafficking Survivor to Share Story at Newark Campus

October 7, 2016—Newark, OH—Slavery is not dead. Theresa Flores, a former Michigan resident from a well-to-do Catholic family found out first hand. As a child, she was blackmailed and manipulated into a life of human trafficking. Flores is scheduled to share her story at a presentation entitled "Human Trafficking-A Survivor's Story" on the shared campus of The Ohio State University at Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) on Monday, October 24, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. The event is being held in the John Gilbert Reese Center's Alford Performing Arts Hall located at 1209 University Drive. It is free and open to the public and a book signing will follow the event.

Flores is a survivor. As a 15-year-old girl in a well-to-do white suburban neighborhood, she survived two years of being trafficked to men in their 20's and 30's. She was an avid track runner, an older sister to three younger brothers, and looked like an all-American girl. No one, not even her parents, knew she was being trafficked for sex.

Flores now speaks publicly about her ordeal and spearheads Save our Adolescents from Prostitution (S.O.A.P.), an organization that addresses human trafficking. She is the author of The Slave Across the Street, a USA Today and Wall Street Journal best seller, The Sacred Bath and most recently Slavery in the Land of the Free. Her story has been seen on The Today Show, MSNBC: "Sex Slaves- The Teen Trade", the 700 Club​, CNN/HLN, Glenn Beck's "For the Record" as well as many local and national radio shows. Her national rescue mission- S.O.A.P. has been featured on Dateline, Nightline and America's Most Wanted.

Flores is featured by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum in a traveling exhibit entitled, Invisible Slavery and also in a short documentary, "The Girl Next Door", which has won many awards at film festivals across the U.S.

flores,theresa_lr.jpgAs a much-sought-after international speaker and expert on human trafficking, Flores was also appointed to the Ohio Attorney General's Human Trafficking Commission in 2009 and has testified before the Ohio House and Senate in support of Human Trafficking legislation.

She was honored with being one of "20 Women You Should Know" in the Columbus, Ohio area, and also received the Governor's Courage Award from current Ohio Governor John Kaisch for efforts to enhance awareness of human trafficking.

Flores has been a licensed social worker for over 20 years. She received her bachelor's degree in social work from Ball State University and continued her education at the University of Dayton earning a master's degree in counseling education.

Due to the covert nature of the crime of human trafficking and the lack of awareness of and funding for the issue, accurate statistics are difficult to obtain. However, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center reports that there have been 186 human trafficking cases reported this year in Ohio as of June 30, 2016. The average age of a child first forced into the sex slave trade is 13.

This event is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs at COTC and Ohio State Newark and The College of Social Work at Ohio State Newark. Questions may be directed to Vorley Taylor, program director at taylor.1051@osu.edu or 740.366.9443.

Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark  have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio.  At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field, or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program.  The Ohio State University at Newark offers the best of the Big Ten educational experience, access to Ohio State's 175 major programs, a rich research heritage and academic excellence.