Human Trafficking became an initiative for the FBI Citizen’s Academy at the 2012 Annual Board Retreat. It was then that many of us were awakened to the seriousness of the Human Trafficking problem here in our community.
Our mission became to increase the awareness of Human Trafficking within our community and to support the needs of various agencies providing physical care, shelter, and psychological help to these victims.
As a result, we established the Human Trafficking Committee, and our goal became to raise money for this cause, so we sponsored a Bowl-a-Thon.
In that first year (2013), we raised $2,300 which we gave to the Multnomah County Justice Dept. to spread amongst different agencies that work very closely with, and who provide local support to, trafficked victims. Those agencies were:
- SARC (the sexual resource assault center provides support to young children)
- CSEC (the community sexually exploited children)
- Janus Youth (they provide safe shelters for victims)
- Lifeworks (they provide local counseling and support)
In our second year (2014), we raised $4,500 which we donated to:
- The House of Engedi (which is a long term safe house offering physical, mental & spiritual healing)
- Hope 82 (which was the 1st ever drop in shelter, open 7 days week, providing resources for education, parenting, financing and food).
- Just Yell Fire (which is a safety awareness curriculum teaching girls and young women how to defend themselves against assault and abuse)
We selected these charities because they provide immediate assistance for victims, long term rehabilitation, and educational awareness for the community. These became our charity selection criteria for future years.
In our third year (2015), we raised $7,000 which we donated to:
- Yanus Youth
- Just Yell Fire
In our fourth year (2016), we raised $5,400 which we donated to:
- Village for One (they provide services to sexually exploited children in Portland)
- Cascade Youth (They focus on prevention, intervention and crisis services for adolescents. They have a transitional living program known as LOFT (living options for teens) designed for ages 16-20 from Central Oregon.
- Just Yell Fire (every year they provide free CDs for attendees to take home and share with their friends and family)
This year (2017) we are planning for our fifth bowlathon, and we are raising funds to donate to:
- Safety Compass (this is a new organization providing advocacy and support to victims including temporary shelter, medical and psychiatric assistance)
- Just Yell Fire (their efforts have not stopped, as their curriculum is now in 66 countries, with 4 languages, plus subtitles have been added for the deaf. They have provided the curriculum free to teachers and often speak at schools.)
We are excited with this new organization that Ester has founded (and you heard from tonight), and see the tremendous value of its much needed outreach in Marion and Clackamas Counties.
The members of our HT committee continue to work tirelessly for this cause. I would like to ask that you thank these hard working people, and request that you contact any of us if you are interested in joining the Human Trafficking Committee in our efforts to help the survivors and to educate the community.
You have heard their stories and they are shocking. You have heard the statistics and they are staggering. Yet, this abuse still continues. With Beth Anne’s and Antonia’s assistance, we have been able to secure speakers from the FBI as well as other law enforcement agencies to educate the members of the Citizens Academy.
Your financial support, time, and energy is important to our success. We want to ask you to join us on Saturday, March 11, at Sunset Lanes in Beaverton. The cost is $30 per bowler (and 2/3 of this amount goes straight to the charities).
We also hold a raffle during the event and raise significant funds that way (that go straight to the charities as well). The ticket prices are reasonably priced (like 5 tickets for $25) and you can win items such as power tools (including a chain saw), gift certificates to restaurants and shops (Crate and Barrel for example), fun outings (like the Segway Tour for 4), or toys (this year we have a BMW m4 Mini Car).
This is a fun event and we encourage you to bring your family and friends. Registration starts at 12:15 with bowling from 1-3 pm. If you can’t make it but would still like to contribute, we are happy to accept cash donations (which to go straight to the charities) or raffle donations (to help raise funds at the event).
Please visit the Bowlathon site at www.pdxbowlathon.com to sign up as an individual or as a team, and there are also flyers you can download to give to friends, family and co-workers. This is also a great place to go to see the raffle items that have been secured to date (and will continue to be updated as the date gets closer).
Wouldn’t it be great IF human trafficking didn’t exist here in Portland, or overseas in places like India, and IF instead of exploitation of woman and young children we offered them education, support and encouragement, to live a safe and healthy life.
Thank you for your support!