As of Monday, August 6, 2018
Human trafficking isn’t something Yakima Valley residents like to think of as a local issue.
But, it is, and Soroptimist International of Lower Yakima Valley is bringing the issue into the light.
Aug. 7, residents in the valley will have the chance to see first-hand the conditions in which victims of human trafficking must survive. SOLD – The Human Trafficking Experience will be exhibited 5-9 p.m. at Navarro’s Community Center, 554 S. Sixth St. in Sunnyside.
The exhibit was in town nearly six years, giving visitors real-world insight into a problem not widely acknowledged and talked about via a multi-sensory experience.
Human trafficking is a very real problem affecting individuals and families locally, as well as around the world.
Children, women and men are sold, stolen or groomed by leaders in the human trafficking industry, an underworld of sexual exploitation and slave labor.
Due to the graphic nature of the exhibit, it is not recommended for anyone under the age of 13.
The Soroptimist group three years ago set its focus on educating and promoting awareness of human trafficking with its STOP campaign.
It’s a misconception that trafficking only occurs in faraway countries, Arlene Hallman told the Daily Sun News at the time.
There are 27 million slaves in the world today, including child soldiers, forced laborers and sex workers of all ages and genders.
Approximately 75 percent of all human trafficking victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation. Each year between 800,000 and 900,000 people are trafficked across international borders.
“It occurs everywhere, even in our own back yards,” she added.
“We want the public to become aware of its depth, and to be able to recognize a woman or girl – perhaps a neighbor – who may need help getting out of a dire situation,” said Hallman.
For more information about SOLD, visit www.soldexp.org.