Reaching out to help the sexually exploited
Members of Eastside Rotary Clubs and its younger service club representatives are combating human trafficking, the so called modern-day slavery where mostly women and children are trapped in commercial sexual exploitation.
The volunteers are flooding Portland area hotels and motels with thousands of small soap bars labeled with a National Trafficking Hot-Line number, 1-888-3737-888.
Trafficked victims can call that phone number for help from local law enforcement to move them to safety. Soap bars also may end up traveling to other cities because pimps often relocate their prostituted victims (girls and boys aged 12-17) to major events that attract large numbers of men.
Rotarians also have been asking businesses, bowling alleys, bus and train stations and truck stops to display anti-trafficking posters. And contact is also being made with area schools to display posters there. There are also stickers for display with the National Trafficking Hot Line number in public restrooms and other suitable locations.
A walk to end human trafficking was held on Saturday, downtown. The marchers wore orange T-shirts carrying the End Human Trafficking message and offered resource information to passers-by to learn more.
Another public outreach event takes place when Pastini restaurants at Northeast 15th and Broadway, and Southeast 20th and Division, donate half the net proceeds from meals when customers mention Rotary or Human Trafficking when taking dine-in or take-out orders on Monday, June 18 and Tuesday, June 19.
Rotarians want to raise awareness, educate the public about the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children, and raise funds to continue their outreach. In the fall, the focus will be on education, awareness and legislation that may be introduced in the Legislature or with local governments.