Presentation to focus on human trafficking

The Franklin Elks Club is partnering with the local chapter of the Set Free Movement to host a presentation about human trafficking.

Julia Allman, the team leader of the local Set Free Movement chapter, will give the presentation at the Franklin Elks Lodge, on Buffalo Street, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The event is free, and refreshments will be provided by the Elks and the local Set Free chapter.

Allman said her presentation will start with the broader picture of what trafficking is and the statistics of how it is affecting the world at large, and will then hone in more on how it affects the local community.

“Yes, those things happen here,” Allman said, adding, “It might not appear in the way we think about it, like a box truck pulls up and takes children, although that happens. But it’s much more pervasive; its hidden in things we have, like poverty.”

She noted for the protection of people in the community, it can be tricky to talk about it.

Self-defense classes

Also on Saturday, the second of a series of free self-defense classes will be offered, taught by Westover Protection of Franklin.

Allman said Set Free is covering the cost of the class series so people can attend for free. The class will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin, with registration starting at 9 a.m.

Another class will be offered in April at the Oil City YWCA, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with registration starting at 6 p.m.

Allman said Set Free would like to offer one free class per month for the rest of the year, and locations are in the works for the other classes this year.

“It seemed like a really tangible thing we could offer to the community to protect oneself and at the same time become aware of danger,” she said, adding that people are often “kind of oblivious and think those things don’t happen to us.”

The self-defense classes are “easy to do, easy to remember, it builds awareness and I would even say resilience, builds self-confidence,” she said.

“I’m a behavioral health student presently, and time after time when kids get bullied or have addiction issues, it always talks about how you build resistance, build self-confidence, that’s what kids really need. And that’s what this class seeks to do.”

The classes will be offered to people ages 12 and up, though minors 12 or over must be accompanied by parents. Allman said in some circumstances, kids younger than 12 can attend.

“If someone’s in a very crucial or vulnerable position — I’ve had parents say, ‘Can I bring my 9-year-old?’ It really just depends on your situation and the maturity level of the child,” she said. “That can be a difficult call to make.”

Set Free is an international movement whose mission is to “mobilize faith communities, financial partners and all segments of society toward ending human trafficking and creating new futures through community-based action,” according to its website.

Allman said the chapter is able to offer these classes for free because it is funded by donations. “People have been very generous … it’s been overwhelming, actually. Because people don’t necessarily think it’s an issue here. Part of our job is to bring awareness to how it affects our area in ways you wouldn’t really expect.”

Allman said people who are interested can contact her at, or visit the organization’s website,