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Communities in Oregon take action to raise awareness and fight human trafficking

In the Ashland-area of Oregon, local volunteers are hosting events as part of #HumanTraffickingAwarenessMonth, dedicated to inspiring others to confront the issue of human trafficking and take action to combat it. Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has recently signed on to support the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act and his office has attended some of the events.

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and communities in Oregon are coming together to raise awareness and take action around this important issue.

Local Rotary groups and United Way have sponsored events that will take place over the coming month, centered around the “More Than a Survivor” photo exhibit, featuring 22 survivors of commercial sexual exploitation from the U.S. for their achievements beyond their experience as victims of sex trafficking. IJM will represent the international aspect of the problem and offer attendees opportunities for action and involvement in combatting human trafficking. Polaris Project provided an angle on the national initiative to stop human trafficking.

 “It’s my hope that Oregonians will take this opportunity to confront this issue of human trafficking head on, by learning more about the problem and what they can do to stop it,” said Caleb LaPlante, the leading Rotary organizer of these events. “Human trafficking is one of the biggest social justice issues of our time and affects millions of lives across the globe, as well as people right here in Oregon. What is encouraging is that each of us has the ability to do something about it. It’s time to step up and help stop human trafficking.”

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In sync with his constituents’ demonstrated desire to stop human trafficking, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has recently signed on as a co-sponsor to the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act (S.553; EMSI), a bill that will dramatically strengthen resources for proven anti-slavery models.

The EMSI was originally introduced by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) in February 2015, and was passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously shortly thereafter. As of this date, the bill has 33 cosponsors. IJM has created a petition that makes it easy for Americans everywhere to ask their lawmakers for their support on the EMSI: access it by clicking here.

For more information on the Oregon anti-trafficking events, visit the Facebook event and the exhibit website (here)

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