“Human trafficking is an issue that Douglas County can no longer turn a blind eye on.”
ROSEBURG, Oregon – With more than 50 in attendance in Umpqua Community College’s (UCC) Bonnie Ford Health, Nursing, and Science Center; a community gathered on a cold November 22 evening to explore the growing crisis facing many towns along Interstate 5 (I-5); Oregon’s human trafficking crisis.
The evening’s presentation began with the brief documentary Waiting for the Light, produced by the Junior League of Portland. The 24-minute documentary takes an in-depth look at sex trafficking industry effecting Portland and Oregon’s I-5 corridor; including interviews from law enforcement, nonprofit leaders, survivors, and "Johns."
Upon the film’s completion, those in attendance were addressed by the event’s keynote speaker Katie Slone, who is the Human Trafficking Services Advocate for Battered Persons’ Advocacy (BPA).
“Human trafficking is an issue that Douglas County can no longer turn a blind eye on,” Slone said as she recalled experiences with local survivors. “Douglas County has Traffickers and they are trafficking individuals from our county. Make no mistakes; our highways are being named, our motels are being names, and survivors are reporting Douglas County as an area where they have been exploited.”
The event was organized by a group of first year UCC Nursing students known as the “Shadow Cohort.” The cohort includes; Kyla Hendershott, Nicole Johnston, Sarah Dick, Madison Hunt, Samantha Stewart, Jennifer Najera, Codey Fields, and Sheena Reed.
“Every year the first year students do a community needs assessment project,” Johnston said, “and this was the topic we chose to address.”
“We sat down and discussed what has been going on around town and we wanted gently bring this out and let people know that these things are happening close to home,” Hendershott said.
“It’s not something that just happens in other countries or other states and it’s only getting worse.”
The evening concluded with many of those in attendance discussing the information provided that evening, many of whom reaching out directly to Slone to find out ways to be involved in fighting this treat facing our community.
About Umpqua Community College
Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.
April Myler MSN, RN - Contact
Director, Department Chair, Nursing