Friday, April 16, 2010

Oregon elected officials and OLCC team up to raise awareness about Human Trafficking

by Joy Spencer

Most people think the enslavement of a human being, typically called human trafficking, is a crime only happening overseas. In fact, human trafficking victimizes Oregonians with tragic frequency. In the U.S., the average age of a girl first forced into prostitution is 12-14.

The first step to ending human trafficking is awareness. That’s why Rep. Brent Barton, Rep. Jefferson Smith, Sen. Diane Rosenbaum and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission are providing information to liquor licensees through HB 3623.

The bill allows the OLCC to include human trafficking informational stickers in certain license renewal notices sent by the OLCC. A letter addressing the issues of human trafficking encourages liquor licensees to display a sticker, provided by the Anti-Crime Alliance, to raise awareness of services available to victims. The sticker displays a toll-free hotline, 1-888-373-7888, created and managed by the Polaris Project.

“Many of the people who are forced into human trafficking don’t realize that help exists,” said Rep. Brent Barton, Clackamas Dist. 51. “The numerous legislators and local government officials who supported this bill realize the severity of the issue and the need to reach out to help these
victims of slavery.”

Volunteers, organized through Rep. Brent Barton's office, will help OLCC staff insert the letter and sticker into license renewal letters. Thousands of license renewal letters will be mailed throughour the year.

“Businesses across the state will receive this sticker and have the opportunity to post it where their customers and employees can see,” said Chairman Philip Lang, OLCC. “The OLCC is glad to be working with our legislators to get this important message out and hopefully, save someone’s life.”

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

by Joy Spencer

Governor Theodore Kulongoski signed a proclamation declaring April as “Alcohol Awareness Month”. This annual public awareness campaign encourages local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues and tools for prevention.

This year, the Governor's message focuses on underage drinking. A recent report based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows Oregon in the top 16 states for alcohol use in the past 30 days among people aged 12 to 20.

As noted in the Governor's proclamation, more than 23 percent of Oregon eighth graders, and 38 percent of 11th graders are drinking alcohol on a regular basis. Research shows that teens who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to have alcohol problems as adults, than those who begin after age 21.

Keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors is a priority for the OLCC - reducing minors' access to alcohol by working with grocery stores, preventing alcohol furnishing, and reducing the use of fake ID.

How can you help? Call us if you think a store is selling to minors. The more information you have, the more effective we can be in stopping it. Our Portland metro (Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties) number is: 503-872-5070. Or call toll free from anywhere in the state: 800-452-6522. You can also contact your local police department.