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PCC event explores Portland’s sex trafficking crisis
Photos and Story by Deborah Crawford
Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus will hold a two-hour event to highlight the commercial sexual exploitation of children and sex trafficking crisis in Portland.
The event will feature a showing of the newly released documentary, “Waiting for the Light: Portland’s Sex Trafficking Crisis,” by the Junior League of Portland. A panel discussion by local experts will follow the film. The screening and discussion is at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 29, in the Performing Arts Center Building, Sylvania Campus (12000 S.W. 49th Ave.). The event is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. Parking on campus is $5.
Organized by the campus’ Women’s Resource Center, the documentary discussion aims to bring awareness about the prevalence of sex trafficking of children in Portland. Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies has identified Portland’s commercial sex industry as the largest per capita in the nation.
“People need to come to this event because so many people don’t know how big the problem is right here in Portland,” said student advocate and event coordinator Lan Ho. “This event is especially important to PCC because survivors of trafficking attend PCC.”
The student added that the global issue impacts communities in very local and very real ways. According to the Portland State University study conducted in 2013, between 2009-2013 there were a minimum of 469 youth in the Portland community who were victims of sex trafficking and the majority were born in the U.S. The average age of these victims was 15.5 years with the youngest 8 years of age.