Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Friday, Jan. 6 @ 1:53 p.m. / Community
Soroptimist International Seminar Focuses on Human Trafficking in Rural Communities
Hoping to convince Del Norters that sex trafficking isn’t only found in urban areas, the local Soroptimist International chapter will bring a survivor to Crescent City next week.
Katrina Taylor, the awareness director for the Humboldt County organization, Empower Protect Invest, will lead a Human Trafficking Awareness seminar. At the event, she’ll delve into the “underground world” of sex trafficking in rural communities, educating attendees on red flags, the profiles of a trafficker and who traffickers target.
Taylor will also arm Del Norters with the resources to help victims.
The seminar will be held from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 12 at Elk Valley Rancheria’s Sam Lopez Community Center in Crescent City.
The seminar is $60 per person. Lunch will be served. Though the deadline to register was Friday, Susan Daugherty, a Soroptimist International of Crescent City representative, said attendees can still sign up to attend by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday and then paying at the door.
According to Daugherty, stopping human trafficking is a project the volunteer organization as a whole has been passionate about. Pointing out that Soroptimist’s goals are to empower women, in Del Norte County the local chapter held a forum and screened two movies in previous years focusing on the issue. The most recent seminar came in 2016 and drew roughly 45 people, Daugherty said.
Since then, Soroptimist International has posted information in restrooms in county buildings, including the Del Norte County Regional Airport, as well as local hotels and motels, Daugherty said.
It’s been the local chapter’s mission for some time to point out to Del Norters that the human sex trafficking business “does happen right here,” Daugherty said.
“Obviously you can’t help what you aren’t aware of even if what you don’t know is happening right in front of you,” she told the Outpost. “101 is… that highway’s used all of the time between LA and Portland. Portland has a huge sex trafficking business. It’s easier to go up 101 than I-5 and go kind of under the radar, but that means they stop in our hotels, they’re in our restaurants.”
According to Daugherty, survivors report they attended school at some point during their exploitation, but no one reached out to help them because “people just aren’t aware.” For girls, the average age of victims is 15, though a lot of them are 12, she said. And some are local children who are victimized by family or someone they know, Daugherty said.
Though much of the information people will learn if they attend Soroptimist’s seminar is the same they disseminated in 2016, Daugherty pointed out there has been staff turnover in the Del Norte County Department of Health and Human Services, the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office and the Crescent City Police Department they wanted to reach.
“The training brings you an awareness of what are the key things, what do you look for, what do you know and how you can possibly help,” she said.
For more information about the seminar, email email@example.com.