PORTLAND, Ore. — State agencies identified almost 750 victims of human trafficking in Oregon in approximately the last year, according to a statement from the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).
The release of new data coincides with Human Trafficking Awareness Day, which is Friday, January 10. State Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and DHS Child Welfare director Rebbeca Jones Gaston plan to honor the work of Oregonians who have been fighting to prevent the practice of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking and the exploitation of minors, sadly, affects every corner of Oregon," Rosenblum said. "The individuals and community members we are honoring on Human Trafficking Awareness Day represent the courage, trust, and strong inter-agency partnerships necessary to help keep our most vulnerable Oregonians, especially children, safe from traffickers."
More than 200 trafficking victims were found in Multnomah County alone, though hundreds or dozens of others were identified in various counties throughout the state — including Douglas, Jackson, and Klamath counties.
According to the statistics, prosecutions related to human trafficking in the state during the same period amounted to 73 between just two counties: Multnomah and Clackamas.
An award ceremony is set to be held on Friday at the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) Office in Portland, where an inter-agency team from Lane County will be honored for its work stopping a trafficking ring in its area.
Officials hope the ceremony will help raise awareness about Oregon's efforts to stop human trafficking, recognizing the work of those who are "taking a trauma informed and victim-centered approach to trafficking intervention," DHS said.
“DHS is proud to recognize the efforts of our Lane County and Clackamas Child Welfare awardees for their teamwork and collaboration,” said Jones Gaston. “Preventing human trafficking is not just one organization’s goal, it takes everyone to work together to make a difference in this issue, which is why the teamwork and passion exhibited by these awardees is so critical.”
In addition to the Lane County team, the ceremony will honor individual officers and workers from the FBI, Eugene Police, Albany Police, the Lane County Child Welfare Office, and the Lane County Department of Youth Services.
[EDIT: The numbers in this post have been edited. An initial release from DHS showed almost 2,500 victims, but was later corrected.]
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