How To Learn More About A Tough Topic: Human Trafficking

Here’s one thing I learned after attending a human trafficking panel earlier this week: Portland is a prime spot for traffickers who thrive off of an endless product – other people.

Here’s one other thing after attending the symposium Tuesday night put together by Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans, Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel and Clark County Soroptimists: More than 50 percent of prostitutes are minors, and of these, 90 percent of them are American and most enter into the industry by age 13. Many of these girls (the data on boys isn’t yet available) fled from unstable families, and don’t realize that pimps are waiting for them at bus stations and malls.

Portland Police Sgt. Doug Justus says three or four child prostitutes are brought to him every week. He also says Portland has only two vice investigators addressing these cases. Whether it be forced labor for a farm, household, or restaurant, or sexual activities in a dark alley or strip club, involuntary servitude is a serious problem in our community. Below are ways to open your eyes, even if it’s ugly, to the people around you.

Saturday, Oct 24: “From Awareness to Action” will inform Portlanders about the local sex trafficking industry. 9 am – 4 pm at Bauman Auditorium, George Fox University. $20 suggested donation, $10 of which goes to a Portland-based activist agency R.S.V.P. to

October 28 – 30: Women’s Resource Center at PSU is hosting “Roots of Change: Men, Sex and Justice,” which will explain why and how men must be involved in sexual violence prevention. For more information and to register, see the conference website:

Thursday, Oct 29: The Oregon Human Trafficking Task Force and Catholic Charities are providing a free training and workshop to understand and identify trafficking victims in Portland. 12240 NE Glisan, 6pm – 9pm. Due to limited seating, RSVP to Cari Strickland at 503-860-6894 or

Also Thursday: LINK, a North Korean human rights group in LA, will screen Seoul Train, a documentary about three North Korean refugees who escape trafficking through the underground railroad. Contact Stephanie Mathis for more information about the event at 503-222-2072 (office) or

Friday, Oct 30: A showing of At The End of Slavery: The Battle for Justice in our Time will take place. Representatives from Not For Sale will speak about rescuing child slaves in Ghana. Go to Go to: for more information
For more information. 7pm – 8:30pm, 2830 NE Flanders St.



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