Activists against human trafficking in the Eugene-Springfield area are holding a series of events this month to spread awareness of the problem. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children figures more than 100,000 kids are trafficked annually in the U.S. Luring and coercing victims into the commercial sex trade is also a $100-billion industry.
The group, Lane County Against Trafficking, is holding a march, survivor speak out, and an awareness training session this month.
Curtis Newell is a detective with the Eugene Police Department. He says trafficking happens daily in the city. And while pimps still use “streetwalkers” to advertise, many have gone online.
“They can only reach so many potential customers who pass by in their vehicles, versus if you put an advertisement on the internet you can reach thousands of people within minutes," says Newell.
"And folks out there with social media profiles know they can reach out to a larger number of folks to potentially recruit them into sex trafficking.”
Police stings in Oregon have resulted in a number of arrests. Last year, seven people were arrested in Eugene for human trafficking.
WEB EXTRA: Events planned in the Eugene area for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
* January 18 - First-ever Survivor Speak Out at Tsunami Books, 2595 Willamette Street, 6-8pm. This event will be accepting donations to help cover costs. Besides local survivors of trafficking, there will be a panel discussion led by Lane County Against Trafficking (LCAT) and Hope Ranch Ministries founder Diana Janz.
* January 27 - Awareness Training Session at Santa Clara Church, 175 Santa Clara Avenue, 9am - 1pm. Special guest speakers will talk about how human traffickers operate across the U.S., and why Lane County is at special risk from predators.
Questions about these events can be directed to Diana Janz at (541)255-2151.
Copyright 2017, KLCC.