Amanda Gopal is the executive director of The Hundred Movement. The nonprofit works with survivors of sex trafficking through specialized counseling, support and educational services.
Xpress: What are the biggest misconceptions about human trafficking issues in WNC?
Gopal: One of the biggest misconceptions about human trafficking is that it doesn’t happen here. It absolutely does. Both kids and adults are being trafficked right here in WNC. Hollywood would have you believe that victims are kidnapped and sold into trafficking rings in other countries, which does happen; but that scenario is far more rare than people being trafficked by family members, intimate partners or acquaintances in their own homes or communities.
How do you address those issues and prepare messaging to correct these misconceptions?
The Hundred Movement offers training and informational events to help educate our community on what human trafficking actually looks like in our area. We are also very intentional about information that we put out, making sure to avoid sensationalized images that perpetuate stereotypes or misconceptions about who the victims and perpetrators are.
What is one way an interested community member could contribute to your nonprofit’s mission?
Visiting our website is a great place to start. We want to connect people to our mission through various means and our “Join the Movement” page shows several ways to get involved. Community members can volunteer in the office, offer expertise or services to survivors, join our prayer team or contribute financially. (Learn more at avl.mx/d59.)
What was your greatest accomplishment this year?
This year we’ve been able to significantly expand our strategic partnerships and offer our free counseling and case management services to more survivors of trafficking. So far in 2023, we’ve served 21 survivors and provided over 300 hours of specialized, trauma-informed care and support.