Organizations continue to push for sex trafficking awareness

SHORELINE, Wash. — Human trafficking continues to be a big problem across the world, including here in the Pacific Northwest.

Groups like the Organization of Prostitution Survivors held a sex trafficking awareness night at the Black Coffee Northwest Café on Saturday night. Owner Darnesha Weary says it’s important to have her doors open to everyone, as well as listen to those still going through it.

“At the end of it, that’s all that matters and that’s what is important. That they are people, that they’re women, and that we see them and we hear them,” Weary said.

The purpose of the event is to educate the public about sex trafficking and its effects on people who are victims and survivors of this form of modern-day slavery and sexual exploitation. In addition, event organizers wanted to provide information on how community members can support survivors and protect potential victims.

“Today, those people have the resources and we want everyone to know that,” Rebekah Fonden, President of OPS, said.

As a survivor herself, she wants those who are still victims to know that they can get help.

“To show that, like you said, that people do care,” Fonden said. “That there is hope to leave a situation where you feel trapped, like there may be no way out. To show that you are not alone. To show that people will be here for you.”

She says while it’s a difficult conversation for many, she believes OPS offers a perspective that can change things for the better.

“It is extremely important to be survivor-led. To have the participants to walk through the door and see someone who looks like them, who has lived the same experience as they have,” Fonden said.