Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Week: Q&A with VYH’s Alycha Boehm

Valley Youth House is a proud founding member of the Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Collaborative and participant of Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Week. The mission of LVAT is to abolish human trafficking in our community by building a united front to educate and equip our community to take action.

As Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Week kicks off tomorrow, we hosted a Q&A session with Valley Youth House’s very own Alycha Boehm, MSW, LSW! Alycha is one of our Clinical Supervisor who works closely with THRIVE, our Transitional Housing program that offers housing and support for female-identifying trafficking survivors ages 14-21. As someone who works closely with survivors, Alycha is a passionate advocate for trafficking awareness and prevention within the community.

Q: What is LVAT?- Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Week (this comes right from the LVAT website): 

A: Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Awareness week is a non-profit organization 501(c)3 that plans and organizes a seven-day awareness campaign. In 2019 the executives of Lehigh and Northampton counties declared the first full week of November as Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Week. The campaign provides an opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery, and encourage government, local authorities, companies, charities, and individuals to do what they can to address the problem.

Q: What is Human Trafficking and why is it so important in our community?

A: Human trafficking is defined by any individual exchanging sex for income, housing, food, other basic needs or matierals through the use of force, fraud or coercion. Any youth under 18 is considered sexually exploited or trafficked if they have had to exchange sex for money or needs. Human trafficking is extremely prevalent in our community in ways that make it easy to be missed. Trafficking survivors are often missed in the system and can easily fall through the cracks and remain invisible. There are limited services in the community to support survivors in leaving “the life” and provide them with alternate safe resources for mental health and housing.

Q: Who is involved in LVAT?

A: The Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Collaborative is composed of several social justice organizations dedicated to fighting the fight on the front lines. The founding organizations of the Collaborative include Aspire to Autonomy, Bethlehem Rotary, Bloom Bangor, Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley, Valley Health Partners Street Medicine, Marsy’s Law, Truth For Women, VAST (The Valley Against Sex Trafficking),  and Valley Youth House.

Q: What events are featured throughout the week?

A: Saturday November 6th
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Voices of Survivors Project
Moravian College Prosser Auditorium

Sunday November 7th
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – Red Sand Project/Coffee Conversation
Deja Brew Coffeehouse & Deli-101 W 4th St, Bethlehem, PA 18015

Monday November 8th
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Empowering Women in the Fight Against Sex Trafficking
Virtual Event With Northampton County DA’s Office

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM – Red Sand Project and Coffee Conversation
Cafe the Lodge – 427 E 4th St, Bethlehem, PA 18015

Tuesday November 9th
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM – Red Sand Project and Coffee Conversation
Venture X Bethlehem – 306 S New St, Bethlehem, PA 18015

5:30 PM to 6:30 PM –Not For Sale and Candle Vigil
Bethlehem Rose Garden – Corner 8th AVE and Broad Streets

Wednesday November 10th
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM – Art Presentation and Mixer
ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks – 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem, PA 18015

Thursday November 11th
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Red Sand Project and Coffee Conversation
Terra Cafe – 321 Northampton St, Easton, PA 18042

5:00 PM- 6:00 PM – Red Sand Project and Coffee Conversation
Boys and Girls Club of Easton – 210 Jones Houston Way, Easton, PA 18042

Friday November 12th
7:30 AM – 9:00 – Survivor Leader Breakfast
Laros Estate, Home of Laura Bennett Shelton – 2512 Center Street Bethlehem, PA 18017
*Tickets are $35 and can be purchased here

Saturday November 13th
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Red Sand Project and Coffee Conversation
Lehigh Valley Red Sand Project
We are encouraging families, faith-based organizations, community organizations, and businesses to hold their own Red Sand installment.

Q: How can the community get involved?

A: Educate themselves and others! Human trafficking can be very sensationalized and a lot of myths about the reality of trafficking make it difficult for true survivors to receive services and support. Getting involved in any training or education opportunities is a great way to advocate for survivors. Participating in any fundraisers such as LVAT week is also extremely helpful!


To learn more about Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Week or to get involved, please visit https://lvantitraffickingweek.com/.