Sex trafficking survivor-leader Rebecca Bender, and Caleb LaPlante of ACT Southern Oregon, will present at the Rotary District 5110 Annual Conference in Eugene May 8th and 9th.
The presentation is titled “Human Trafficking Prevention for High Schools.”
Grants Pass High School is the first school in Oregon to implement this kind of curriculum. And it’s also the first school on the West Coast to teach the Prevention Project.
For Rotarians looking for community service projects, the District Conference presentation will offer a model for how clubs can implement this program in their own communities and local high schools.
Email the Judiciary Committee members before Monday, April 20th to ensure this important piece of legislation is passed through committee and on to the House floor for a vote.
Click the photo below for more information.
This Friday February 27th, draw a Red X on your hand and share with others to help raise awareness for modern day slavery, both internationally and here in the United States.
More information online at www.enditmovement.com.
Oregon’s 2013 Legislative Session saw the enactment of Senate Bill 673, which made it a felony charge to purchase sex from a minor under 15 years old, previously only a misdemeanor.
This new law contributed significantly to the launch of the Demanding Justice Project from Shared Hope International, a new initiative aimed at bringing attention to the “demand” side of the supply-and-demand equation in the market for sex with children.
Today is the first day of the 2015 Legislative Session, and many new sex trafficking related bills are on the horizon. Chief among them is a bill that would create a “hearsay” exemption for child trafficking victims, allowing them to testify against their traffickers without appearing in court.
This would be similar to Oregon’s existing domestic violence hearsay exemption, which was one of the first of its kind in the country.
Also, Oregon’s first safe home for underage victims of commercial sexual exploitation opens its doors this month. The Sage Home serves girls ages 11-15 from around the state of Oregon and provides them with a safe and secure setting in which to move toward their goals, build self-esteem and resilience, and reconnect to the community.
Funding for the Sage Home was set aside during the 2013 Legislative Session. The home will be run in a partnership effort between the state, community foundations, and faith-based organizations.
In the entire nation, there are estimated to be less than 500 beds for child sex trafficking victims.
Be sure to visit Share Hope’s Legislative Action Center through this spring and summer to track key dates as new legislation progresses and needs support from citizens in all parts of the state.
Photo credit: Sean Griffin
January 2015 is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and it will be the third year of Child Trafficking Awareness Month in Southern Oregon and in our local communities.
As in previous years, both the Jackson and Josephine County Commissioners are issuing proclamations, as well as the cities of Medford, Ashland, Central Point and Grants Pass.
The Rotary Club of Medford is presenting the Chosen film to their group this month, and will hear a briefing about the current state of this issue as it pertains to the Rogue Valley.
Grants Pass High School is launching the Prevention Project, and meetings are scheduled with several other schools to discuss bringing the same curriculum to their respective student bodies.
Awareness opportunities for the general public include a documentary film screening at the Medford Library, as well as a class – Sex Trafficking Awareness 101 – being taught at Club Northwest.
Regular ACT monthly planning meetings will be held as usual and are open to all those interested in becoming involved in the fight against sex trafficking in Southern Oregon and beyond.
Beginning February 4th 2015, The Prevention Project will be offered to students at GPHS. The 6-part curriculum focuses on the subjects of international human trafficking, sex trafficking in the U.S., the influences of media and the oversexualization of our culture, student empowerment, and career opportunities in social justice issues.
Watch the 12 minute video on the Prevention Project website for more information.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden traveled to Medford last week to meet with local organizations and discuss the growing problem of sex trafficking within Oregon.
In attendance were:
Dr. Johnson has provided care for survivors of sex trafficking for over 10 years. She is currently the Clinical Director at Engedi Refuge, a safe home for trafficking survivors in Washington State.
Redemption Ridge will be unique as the only residential care safe house in Southern Oregon committed exclusively to restoring minor female victims of domestic sex trafficking.
Gather your team, and come out for the fun!
For more information view the event brochure: 2014 HBA/RVAR Benefit Golf Tournament
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County‘s 2014 Symposium is entitled “Child Sex Trafficking and Exploitation” and will feature guest speakers Sergeant Byron Fassett and Detective Cathy De La Paz of the Dallas, Texas PD.
The speakers will discuss a multidisciplinary approach to identifying current and potential victims of sex trafficking and exploitation. An emphasis will be on potential frontline individuals who are key in identifying children who are at risk for trafficking or who may already be victims.
The event will be held Wednesday June 18th at the Smullin Health Education Center from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
For more information view the event announcement:
Rebecca Bender is a survivor of human trafficking who was raised in the Rogue Valley before leaving for Eugene after graduating high school. She is a published author and sought after speaker and trainer, and has now launched a new mentoring program for sex trafficking survivors who are from small, rural communities like those in Southern Oregon.
Learn more about Rebecca and her work on her website www.RoadmapToRedemption.com.
Guest Speaker Joyce Marks was a police officer for 15 years and a detective in sexual abuse of children and sex crimes in San Diego, Ca. She is currently a Director of Ministries at Shepherd of the Valley, where she is in charge of training and coordinating a child safe and abuse prevention program.
“Chosen” by Shared Hope International will be shown, and is a compelling training that any church or community group can use to teach our parents and teens how to prevent, recognize or intervene in sexual trafficking with our adolescents and teen in our own community.
6:30 to 6:50 – 20 minute video “Chosen”
7:10 to 7:15 – Questions for JoAnna
7:15 to 7:30 – State Representative Gail Whitsett will join the Q&A with JoAnna to get input from the community regarding future legislative efforts in Oregon.
Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) is a 501(c) 3 that exists to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel plaza industry to combat domestic sex trafficking.
ACT Southern Oregon has recently partnered with TAT to bring their materials and training to the Rogue Valley trucking industry – on-the-road drivers, owners, and owner-operators; travel plaza owners, managers and employees; rest stops and weigh stations; truck driving schools; and more.
If you are interested in helping implement TAT initiatives in our local area, please contact ACT.
The Rogue Credit Union Foundation is committed to supporting youth, families and community sustainability through organizations like CASA of Jackson and Josephine counties. CASA supports volunteer advocates who act as the voice for abused and neglected foster children in our communities. These volunteers make a lifelong positive impact on the youth in our community who need it the most. CASA volunteers have helped more than two million children nationwide, and Rogue Credit Union is proud to support our local CASA advocates in their work.
Dr. Johnson has spent 10 years providing training on assisting victims of trauma and sexual exploitation. Her resume includes work with Agape International Mission in Cambodia and the U.S., Engedi Refuge in Washington State, and Courage House in Northern California. She has also been involved with Royal Family Kids, an outreach to foster children with a history of abuse.
Contact Ginger at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register for the event.
Also: Dr. Johnson interviews with local TV/radio host Perry Atkinson – Healing from Sex Trafficking
Join Senators Ron Wyden (OR) and John Cornyn (TX) and Representatives Ted Poe (TX) and Carolyn Maloney (NY), sponsors of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, for a national conference call at 2:00PM ET, Thursday March 13th. The conference call is an opportunity for advocates and providers to discuss the legislation further with briefing panelists and staffers.
Please email or call ACT for call login details – contact@ACTsouthernoregon.com (541) 646-0068
The very first ACT newsletter was released last week. Local KDRV Channel 12 picked up the story and visited with ACT group member Caleb LaPlante about upcoming activities and events.
Here are ways to get involved:
- Draw a ❌ on your hand
- Tell others about slavery and share the fact sheet
- Visit EndItMovement.com, find an image, and share on social media
- Use these hashmarks when you share #enditmovement #inittoendit
- Follow the “End It” Coalition Partners to learn more about their work
End It Coalition Partners:
- The A21 Campaign
- ECPAT USA
- Free the Slaves
- International Justice Mission
- Love 146
- Made in a Free World
- Not For Sale
- Polaris Project
- World Relief
- World Vision
“Human trafficking/slavery is not just a cause, but real-life hell for millions of men, women and CHILDREN. We must be bold.” – @LouieGiglio
“The Underground Railroad wasn’t started by secret ninjas, but everyday activists.” – @HannahSong
“Nothing happens just because we are aware of modern-day slavery, but nothing will EVER happen until we are.” – @GaryHaugen
Why we should support #EndItMovement and why we must ask good, critical questions about fighting slavery. by Eugene Cho
A Film Night will be held monthly in Medford, featuring a series of different documentaries and hollywood movies focusing on the issue of sex trafficking. The Film Night events will be held in the large 200-person capacity conference room at the downtown Medford Library.
Film #1 – Sex+Money: A National Search for Human Worth
Film #2 – Pornland: Sex Trafficking in Portland, Oregon
Film #3 – To be determined (from among the list below)
The series will start over again every three months.
Movies: Taken • Trust • Trade • Human Trafficking (Mira Sorvino) • Trade of Innocents • Not Today • Holly • The Jammed • The Whistleblower
Documentaries: BOY$ • Nefarious • Trading Women • Cargo – Innocence Lost • Dreams Die Hard • Rape for Profit • Very Young Girls • Your American Teen • Selling the Girl Next Door
Other Films under consideration: Click Here
Saturday, February 22nd @ 8AM… Dress-up as your favorite Superhero for the HEARTS & HEROES FUN RUN/WALK (one mile) to celebrate the Grand Opening of the new City Life Community Center, a joint collaboration between Hearts With A Mission and Rogue Valley Youth for Christ.
Hearts With A Mission serves homeless and at-risk youth by providing shelter, educational support, mentoring and transition planning with a faith-based approach.
Rogue Valley Youth for Christ‘s real work is building the relationships necessary for kids to thrive. By providing places where youth feel secure, by delivering a message of real hope, and by training and equipment adult mentors as people kids can truly count on, YFC is seeing lives transformed.
Video of new the building: Medford Youth Home
Video of Kevin Lamson (HWAM) and Bud Amundsen (YFC): Moving Into City Life
City Life is a relational community-based ministry that desires to see deep change in an inner-city neighborhood through the raising of local leaders from the young people in that community, transforming the lives of inner-city youth, their families, and the communities that they live in.
Come out this Saturday for a tour of the new CLCC, and to show your support for these two organizations as they continue the important work of providing care and development for the most vulnerable of our kids in Medford, and surrounding areas.
Valentine’s Week 2015, the “Porn Kills Love” Tour is coming to the Rogue Valley – February 9 through February 13, times and locations of events TBD. Stay tuned here for more information.
From the FightTheNewDrug.org website:
Pornography used to be a matter of opinion. Some felt it was natural, normal, and expected for teens and young adults to consume it. Others rejected it because of personal or religious morals. Few seemed to have definitive evidence on why it was harmful or beneficial.
When we first came across the science of how pornography affects the brain we were stunned! After further study we found that relationships were being destroyed and that pornography was having a profound effect on sexual violence in our society. We couldn’t believe that this was happening and nobody was talking about it. We quickly became passionate about educating, empowering, and equipping other young people with this knowledge.
Fight the New Drug offers presentations for middle school, high school, and university student groups, as well as adult and parent audiences.
Tomorrow, February 11th is Safer Internet Day. iParentTV is a new internet monitoring software program, offering a unique service compared to other programs available on the market. There are many different levels at which to participate. Funding ends on March 12th, 2014 – iparent.tv
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month • Proclamation
Child Trafficking Prevention Night • January 9, 2014 • Event Info
GPHS Blackout Day and Game • January 10, 2014 • Event Info
National Human Trafficking Awareness Day • Senate Resolution • House Resolution
Jackson County Proclamation Day • January 15, 2014 • Proclamation • Video (at 3:30)
Josephine County Proclamation Day • January 15, 2014 • Proclamation • Video (at 1:30)
Grants Pass Proclamation Day • January 15, 2014 • Proclamation
Phoenix Action/Planning Meeting • January 18, 2014 • Event Info
Ashland Film and Forum • January 22, 2014 • Event Info
Sex Trafficking Awareness 101 Class • January 27, 2014 • Event Info
A big thank you to KOBI Channel 5 News’ coverage of this past Wednesday evening’s event. Last count tallied an estimated 100 people in attendance after everyone had arrived.
A full video of the evening’s event will be available in the near future. Stay tuned.
Additionally, beginning in March, ACT Southern Oregon will be hosting a new Planning Meeting in Jackson County, sponsored by the Journey Church in Phoenix. The day and time for this new monthly meeting will be decided on Sunday 2/9. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Wednesday, January 15th is local Proclamation Day.
The Jackson County Commissioners, Josephine County Commissioners, and City of Grants Pass Mayor and Council are recognizing January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and designating Southern Oregon Child Trafficking Awareness Month as well.
U.S. Representative Greg Walden’s below letter will also be read at each of the proclamation events.
Across the nation, communities held events related to human trafficking. Along the West Coast, and the I-5 corridor in particular, media coverage was extensive.
Here in the Rogue Valley, several new events were added over the weekend, as part of the greater Southern Oregon Human Trafficking Awareness Month activities taking place.
Saturday, January 18th, The Journey Church in Phoenix is sponsoring an Action/Planning Meeting, for anyone in Jackson County interested in learning how to get involved with this issue.
Wednesday, January 22nd, First Presbyterian Church of Ashland is holding a Film and Forum. This is a good event for those new to the issue of human trafficking, and sex trafficking in particular.
The above poster was released on Saturday as well, by local photographer Sam Graves and his friend Katie Simbala. The message is simple, yet powerful. Thank you Sam and Katie for using your gifts to spread awareness and encourage others to take action in the fight against sex trafficking.
To all those living locally in Southern Oregon, we look forward to seeing you at one of the remaining Awareness Month events taking place in our area.
This past week’s events at Grants Pass High School went off very well. Kudos to student leadership for taking on this important topic and bringing it to the greater student body to spur on awareness and action in our local community.
ACT group members were in the lobby Tuesday through Friday answering questions and handing out information for students to learn more about the issue.
Thursday was Child Trafficking Prevention Night, open to the public, and held in the GPHS Library. Rebecca Bender spoke to a large and varied audience – youth, parents, grandparents, men, women, educators, reporters, pastors, foster care and adoption service workers. State Representative Wally Hicks was also in attendance, and spoke with ACT afterward, offering his support on future legislative efforts related to fighting sex trafficking within Oregon.
Friday was Blackout Day and the Blackout Game. Students were seen throughout the day wearing black to raise awareness. That evening, the GPHS student section was packed with black clothes. Despite that fact that the visiting team’s colors were black. Way to go Cavemen and Lady Cavers!
A special thank you to School District 7, along with GPHS Principal Ryan Thompson and his staff, for supporting this awareness initiative, and for being a leader locally in encouraging efforts to protect our youth from the ever-growing dangers of sex trafficking within our state borders.
January 2014 is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. A thank you to the Office of the President for continuing this important awareness initiative for the third year in a row.
Get involved by attending an event in Southern Oregon:
- Thursday January 9th, hear local survivor, Rebecca Bender.
- Wednesday January 15th, show your support at Proclamation Day.
- Monday January 27th, encourage friends and family to attend the new class, Sex Trafficking 101, held at Club Northwest in Grants Pass.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.”
– William Wilberforce
GPHS Blackout Day has now been expanded to include a whole week of awareness activities.
Tuesday – January 7
The Chosen documentary will be played in all classrooms. ACT Southern Oregon and GPHS student leadership will have an information table in the main lobby to answer student questions.
Wednesday – January 8
Sex trafficking statistics will be read aloud (2-3 minutes) during daily intercom announcements. Students will be encouraged to attend Prevention Night and to participate in Blackout Day/Game activities. An information table will again be available in the lobby for answering student questions.
Thursday – January 9th
Child Trafficking Prevention Night – Presentation by local survivor advocate Rebecca Bender, a published author, award winner, and national expert in the movement to end Human Trafficking. 30 minute meeting with Q&A to follow. Open to the public. GPHS LIBRARY 6PM.
Friday – January 10th
BLACK OUT DAY and BLACK OUT GAME – The GPHS Student Body is encouraged to wear black to raise awareness for the fight against sex trafficking locally, and beyond. Students and families are encouraged to wear black at the Boys Varsity Basketball game that evening. An information table is available all day in the GPHS main foyer, and again at the gym that night.
GPHS student leadership will also be in attendance at the Josephine County Proclamation reading at the commissioner’s meeting at Anne Basker Auditorium, 9AM Wednesday January 15th.
Note: ACT T-shirts are being offered for sale in the GPHS lobby all days leading up to Blackout Day.
Encouraging to see from our local law enforcement, and media. Still much work left to be done.
Also, from the Mail Tribune, November 22, 2013: Two Arrested in Alleged Prostitution Case.
Pornography is an undeniable contributor to the demand for sex trafficking. In Episode 24 of the podcast Ending Human Trafficking, Dave Stachowiak and Sandie Morgan discuss the connection between the two. Below also are several links to further information on the topic.
As a side note, the Ending Human Trafficking podcast is an excellent resource for anyone looking to further their knowledge of the issue of sex trafficking, and human trafficking in general. Sandie Morgan is the Director of the Global Center for Women and Justice at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California, and among many other notable distinctions, has served on the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force and is responsible for the Ensure Justice Conference, held annually.
Awareness among men is a critical piece in the fight against sex trafficking. Demand is what drives the market for women – sex trafficking, pornography, and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation.
The Defenders are the men of Shared Hope. Below is the Defender Pledge:
- I will not purchase or participate in pornography, prostitution or any form of the commercial sex industry.
- I will hold my friends accountable for their actions toward women and children.
- I will take immediate action to protect those I love from this destructive market.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Men – will you take time during this month to read a book, research online, listen to a podcast, or attend an awareness event to learn more about our vital role in ending sex trafficking, and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation?
Today – 12/10/2013 – National Day of Prayer to Strengthen the Fight Against Pornography
The holiday season, for many of us, is also synonymous with football season. Our favorite college teams are gearing up for bowl games, and NFL squads are making the final push for playoff spots.
This is also an important time for all of us to recognize how sporting events are related to perpetuating the problem of sexual slavery in the United States.
The Super Bowl in particular, held annually in late January or early February, is particularly spotlighted due to the size of the event, and its TV presence in an overwhelming majority of American homes.
But the Super Bowl is definitely not isolated in its contribution to the problem. Sporting events in all cities, at all times, are ideal for traffickers who are looking to match demand with their supply.
Here are several links to learn more about the Super Bowl and sex trafficking:
Super Bowl is Single Largest Human Trafficking Incident in U.S.
Cindy McCain: NFL No Help on Sex Trafficking
Super Bowl 2014: New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking
What over 60,000 people saw at the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta, GA
Katie Couric: Sex Trafficking and Sporting Events
Friday January 10th, 2014 will be “Blackout Day” at Grants Pass High School. Student leadership is organizing a campaign encouraging all students to wear black to raise awareness for the prevention of sex trafficking in our town and region.
The day before on Thursday, survivor-advocate Rebecca Bender will speak to the entire student body about her experience having been trafficked for 6 years, from Oregon to Las Vegas.
Chosen – a documentary from Shared Hope International – will also be shown at the assembly.
ACT Southern Oregon has been asked to be present on Thursday with educational materials and to answer questions students may have. ACT T-shirts will be available for $10 each.
UPDATE 12/24/13: Blackout Day has now been expanded to a full week of awareness activities.
Terry Rasmussen, President and Marketing Director at Redemption Ridge, has been honored by the Rogue Valley Association of Realtors with the 2013 Outstanding Service Award. Redemption Ridge is local non-profit organization that provides healing and restoration to female victims of domestic minor sex trafficking. Read about the award and watch the ceremony at RogueValleyRealtors.org.
ACT is a proud supporter of Redemption Ridge. One way as Rogue Valley citizens we can help in the fight against sex trafficking is to attend a Redemption Ridge presentation, learn more about their mission, and to give financially, even if only in as small an amount as $5 each month. As Terry is known for saying, the “raindrops of giving” create a downpour of blessing.
Please consider making a one time or on-going donation to Redemption Ridge today.