EUGENE, Ore. — Human trafficking is a problem all over the world, but it’s a crime you might not think of here in Oregon.
While people think of human trafficking as girls being abducted and drugged, survivors say that’s not the kind of crime happening in the state now. Instead, they say young vulnerable girls are offered false promises and forced into prostitution, sometimes even by their loved ones.
Those survivors of human trafficking shared their stories Friday with students at the University of Oregon.
One woman says someone pretending to be her boyfriend lured her from Eugene to Las Vegas. She says although you might not see trafficking here, many girls are taken from this area.
“Out of all of the minors arrested in Las Vegas for prostitution, 40% were from Oregon, that’s a huge statistic to know that our girls might not be walking the streets here, but they’re taking our girls,” said Medford resident Rebecca Bender.
Another survivor of human trafficking, Carissa Phelps, tours the country to share her story. She showed students a documentary she made about her journey from the streets to graduating from law school.
Both survivors work with girls as they transition back to a normal life after surviving human trafficking. They say nine out of ten prostitutes are victims of human trafficking.