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.”

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