PICTURED ARE LISA BRANT & GLENDENE GRANT
Five years ago, Lisa Brant’s 16-year-old daughter was taken from a friend’s home in Florida, raped, drugged and about to be sold to a man in Texas for $300,000.
After speaking out about the incident on national talk shows, Brant — who now lives in Burton — has collaborated with another parent to form a group against human trafficking.
Mothers Against Trafficking Humans would be an international parent group to bring awareness to North American human trafficking.
“I just started this organization because people just don’t want to hear it,” Brant said.
Brant said she hopes the organization will give her more opportunities to spread the word. She said she’s had a hard time finding local speaking engagements to shed light on human trafficking.
“The only success I’m getting is the talk shows,” Brant said.
Brant has been interviewed on the TODAY show, Maury Povich and MSNBC. But, she says, scheduling local speaking engagements has been a bit more difficult.
She said she’s been turned down at both Bendle and Flint schools.
“They were pretty much telling me this is something the parents don’t need to hear about,” Brant said. “I can’t fathom that they’re OK with discussing sex education, why can’t we discuss sex trafficking? To me that’s kind of a hand-in-hand thing.”
But superintendents from both school districts said they never spoke to Brant, who says she never made it past the office secretaries.
Despite Brant’s problems, human trafficking advocates say progress has been made in the last few years to spread awareness.
Mark Klaas, executive director of KlaasKids Foundation, an organization that advocates to stop crimes against children, said stories like Brant’s daughter’s has helped with awareness.
“You look at a pretty young girl and it’s hard to imagine she could be drawn into something like that,” he said. “It tends to raise a lot of awareness.”
In recent years, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, has shown legislative progress in spotlighting domestic human trafficking.
The act has now provides at least federal funding to advocate against domestic trafficking.
“The (act) was based on a presumption that the U.S. was a demand country as opposed to a supply country, although it’s terribly skewed in the other direction,” Klaas said. “For the first time they really do acknowledge there’s an issue.”
Glendene Grant, of British Columbia, is a parent of a current human trafficking victim Jesse Foster, who she believes is in Las Vegas. Foster has been missing since 2006.
Grant teamed up with Brant to create M.A.T.H.
She said legislative progress is being made in Canada as well as a bill that would create a minimum sentencing for the trafficking of minors.
She said the organization will be a place other parents can look to for support.
“Neither one of us knew what to do,” Grant said. “Neither one of us ever asked to be put in this position. … But now, in some cases, we’re probably the most knowledgeable.”