Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking
The fact is our youth are being targeted by perpetrators to take advantage of in the worst way possible. Girls are being tricked, coerced, and manipulated into selling their bodies for sex.
What 12-year-old wakes up and says, “I want to be a prostitute”? None.
Gang activity is still very active in North Portland. This relates to sex trafficking in that gang members are selling girls for money. By educating one girl, we are helping to prevent another innocent youth from going into this lifestyle. In turn, that youth can help educate others.
Outreach and Working in the Community
Our goal is to educate and work directly with youth, building relationships with 20 to 40 girls a year who reside in the Portland metro area or attend school in this area. Currently, our emphasis is on North Portland’s Roosevelt High School. Within the next few months we intent to include additional schools in Portland, Oregon.
We do outreach within Portland, going to the “hotspots” to look for girls who are currently involved or may be at risk of sex trafficking. We work to ensure the youth’s safety. We see what their needs are and try to meet those needs as soon as possible because every second counts.
The Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor
At the age of 13, she met a pimp who was very suave, elegant, and charming. He swept her off to San Francisco. Once she was there she was forced to have sex with men for money. All of the money was given to the pimp. Had she not given to him she would have been physically and mentally beaten. From 13 to 18 he trafficked her to California, Hawaii, Washington, New York New Jersey, Alaska, Washington D.C., Texas, and more. At 18 she had a baby girl with her pimp. She ended up being abused and used by her pimp until she was 21.
With only an eighth grade education, the only thing she knew how to do was to sell her body. Unfortunately, she was in this lifestyle for a total of 16 years.
Thankfully, a nonprofit organization that worked directly with young men who were in gangs, Crips and Bloods, had an open position. Although she had no formal education, she had the experience needed to relate with the young men. This organization gave her a chance and this is when her life started to turn around.
Now she is a woman who has started her own nonprofit organization to ensure that young girls don’t get caught in the same trap and lifestyle. That person is our Director, Latasha Curry. From only having an eighth grade education, she has obtained her GED, Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification (CADC1), as well as a Certified Recovery Mentor certification. She also has training in Domestic Violence and Addiction Counseling.