The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business group will meet for lunch Monday, August 20 for a program on human trafficking, one of the most under reported crimes in the nation. The lunch will be held from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the Keller Convention Center. Cost to attend the program is $20 per person.

Annie Shomaker, co-founder and director of development for Eden’s Glory located in southern Illinois has been invited to share information on what her agency is doing to provide housing and services to survivors of human trafficking.

Human trafficking is an issue that affects both large cities and rural communities. Issues such as poverty, broken families, addiction, violence and homelessness feed into this issue, making each community vulnerable in its own way. Because of the numerous highways that go through Effingham law enforcement has indicated that our area is a prime target for transporting human trafficking victims. We don’t have to live in fear or ignorance but can instead respond by getting in front of the issue by identifying vulnerabilities, developing effective strategies and working together to respond and make our communities safer.

Shomaker’s agency staff facilitates and provides survivors of trafficking access to college and GED classes and tutoring assistance, sustainable and meaningful work, individual and group counseling, spiritual development, life and job skill training, medical and legal services, volunteer and community engagement. The agency also educates trains and mobilizes people throughout the country to develop prevention efforts, rescue efforts and restoration of individuals and communities vulnerable to trafficking.

Chamber President & CEO Norma Lansing notes that the luncheon is not just for women. The Chamber encourages individuals to bring their high school and college age daughters with them to learn how to keep themselves safe from situations like this.

Registration for the luncheon is available on the Chamber website at effinghamcountychamber.com, by email at chamber@effinghamcountychamber.com or by calling 217-342-4147.

About the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce: The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce is the voice for business advocacy, and supports and assists businesses with innovating programs and services. The Chamber creates opportunities for businesses to connect and build relationships while partnering with the community to achieve lasting growth. To learn more about the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce, visit www.effinghamcountychamber.com.