Students take ‘first step’ in combating local sex trafficking

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In Our Backyard A Christian Perspecctive on Human Trafficking in the United States by Nita Belles
In Our Backyard A Christian Perspecctive on Human Trafficking in the United States by Nita Belles

Slavery exists in the United States in the form of human sex trafficking.
In belated observation of National Sex Trafficking Awareness Month, which was January, the Central Oregon Psychology Enthusiasts club will be hosting an awareness event on Feb. 19. The event’s key speaker is Nita Belles, author of In Our Backyard, a book about sex trafficking in the U.S.
Kaycee Robinson
The Broadside
This event is valuable to students for a number of reasons, according to Suci Sonnier, president of COPE. For one, she said it is important for students to realize that this problem is closer to home than most realize, with the second highest rates of children being forced into prostitution in the U.S.
“This event will be a frank talk about what goes on in the U.S. and sex trafficking.” Sonnier said. She hopes this event will help create greater awareness about sex trafficking.
“Awareness is the first step to combating it,” Sonnier said. At the event students will be equipped with tips of how to recognize and avoid trafficking.
“This event will make students and the public aware it [sex trafficking] is going on in Central Oregon and give tips on how to prevent it from happening to you and your children,” Sonnier said.
Possibly the greatest value of Belles’ presentation will be opening the discussion, according to Andrea Anaya, the co-vice president of COPE.
“People do not realize [sex trafficking] exists,” said Anaya, “because sex is taboo and so people do not like to talk about it.”
Anaya hopes this event will not only inform COCC students about what is going on but make it possible for them to talk about it, be educated, and find solutions.
“I just want to get people to act,” said Anaya.
(Contact: kjrobinson@cocc.edu)

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