Addressing the human trafficking epidemic

“Human trafficking.”

It’s a term many of us associate with things that happen in foreign countries, not in the United States where slavery has long been outlawed. But in-depth reports and investigations have revealed that this form of sex slavery is indeed a serious problem, and in fact the stretch from Seattle to Portland has become a “hub” for this kind of despicable activity.

Human trafficking in the United States often involves girls as young as age 12 being sold by and to men as prostitutes for sex. Some estimates say that as many as 300,000 children in the United States have been forced into the sex trade, which can be a very lucrative business for the pimps who buy and sell human beings like objects. And it’s unfortunately a business that continues to grow.

Soroptimist International of Camas-Washougal has been involved in creating awareness of this issue, and others impacting women and girls, for several years. This month they take that effort a step further as they, along with Soroptimist International of Southwest Washington and the Liberty Theatre, present the Northwest Coalition Against Trafficking Film Festival. The free event will include a screening on Monday in downtown Camas of the documentary “Pornland” about human trafficking in Portland.

The film screening will include resource tables and opportunities to ask questions of survivors/cast members. Individuals must be 13 or older to attend.

As detailed in an article in today’s Post-Record, the event is part of the fourth annual Northwest Coalition Against Trafficking conference that will be held Friday, Jan. 13, through Sunday, Jan. 15,

As the human trafficking epidemic continues to grow, it is time for all of us to wake up and become more informed about what can be done to prevent the young girls in our communities from ever becoming part of these grim statistics.