Rally in Ottawa brings awareness to human trafficking

‘We want people to be aware of it,’ Ottawa resident says

Ottawa resident Nicole Anderson wanted to spread the word: Human trafficking is a real issue.

She organized a rally Friday afternoon on the Jordan block in Ottawa, handing out information to hotlines and local resources for anyone who knows of a victim or is seeking resources.

“The United States is one of the biggest producers and consumers of child pornography,” she said. “We want people to be aware of it, and support laws that help prevent human trafficking.”

Anderson said locally anyone in need of resources against sexual violence or abuse can reach out to Safe Journeys, 510 N. Bloomington St., in Streator, formally known as ADV/SAS, at 815-672-2353. Safe Journeys provides supportive services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in La Salle and Livingston counties.

She also said people can call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888, email help@humantraffickinghotline.org or text “BeFree” to 233733 for further resources.

Anyone in immediate danger should always call 911 or contact local police authorities, she said.

“People aren’t aware this is happening,” Anderson said. “That’s why we are here today. We want them to know it’s real, and that there are resources available.”

Anderson thanked the Ottawa Police Department for allowing her to stage a rally at the Jordan block on short notice.

Derek Barichello

Derek Barichello

Derek is a Streator High and University of Illinois graduate. He worked at the Albany-Herald in Albany, Ga., and for Sauk Valley Media in Sterling, before returning to his hometown paper. He's now news editor for both the NewsTribune and The Times.