GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — December is Universal Human Rights Month, and local organizations are promoting the importance of human rights for everyone, regardless of who you are.
“Biased-based incidents continue to escalate. attacks against the LGBTQ community, anti-Semetic attacks, attacks against undocumented people,” said Mark Rasdorf, the director of the Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center at East Carolina University.
A key point organizations like the Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center and True Justice International in New Bern made is that not enough people are educating themselves when it comes to topics specifically about race, sexual orientation, gender identity and human sex trafficking.
According to Justice.gov, in 2021, 64.8% percent of victims were targeted because of bias towards race and ethnicity, 15.6% percent involved incidents related to sexual orientation, 13.3 % percent involved religion and 3.6% percent involved gender identity.
This is the reason why members of the Peel Center at ECU continue to educate.
“I really do think if we can if people can learn to understand each other, that mitigates the bias and harm done to others,” Rasdorf said.
Traci Klein is the executive director of True Justice International in New Bern. She said there’s still many misconceptions when it comes to human sex trafficking.
“I think number one, a lot of times people think it’s happening in other countries or that it only happens to certain socio-economic groups of demographics of people which is untrue,” Klein said. “Indigenous women, of course, African Americans, lower socioeconomic status people, LGBTQ, are obviously at a higher likelihood and higher vulnerabilities. Yet in those populations, we’re not seeing enough help.”
Klein believes more needs to be done in North Carolina when it comes to those who solicit.
“Laws going after the johns, and criminalizing them as traffickers, that would be one way that we can do that. because they’re buying, they’re facilitating it,” Klein said.