MEDFORD, Ore. — The National Human Trafficking Hotline says they’ve had over 2,000 calls since 2007 in Oregon. And that number is expected to increase.
That’s after a bill, which passed earlier this month, is requiring all rest stop bathrooms to post that number in the form of a sticker or poster.
Police say the posters are beneficial to not only spread the word about human trafficking but to allow victims to get the help they need.
Stickers or posters in bathrooms have the number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline listed; The hotline reports they’ve already received 133 calls this year from Oregon.
The stickers can already be found in restrooms across the country, including airports and bars.
“All it takes is a moment when they realize… I’ve had enough,” said Medford Police Lieutenant Mike Budreau.
He says sex trafficking often goes under the radar and that’s what makes it so dangerous.
“They are often lied to and under a bunch of false pretenses…,” he said.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline reports:
There have been over 500 trafficking cases in Oregon since 2007. This year, 74 cases have been reported.
It’s the reason bar owner, Bridget Best, says she decided to put the stickers up in her bathrooms.
“Something’s gotta happen…,” Best says. “We all have to chip in and do something to stop it.”
Best says she’s aware of potential trafficking happening at her bar and others across Medford. It’s why she’s happy to do her part to help victims, especially if it has the potential to save someone’s life.
“It may be there only chance to have and get a chance to break away… and take that chance to get free,” she said.
If you or someone you know is being trafficked, there are ways to get help.
Call the hotline’s number at 888-373-7888 or text 233733.
Police say the community can also help by knowing what to look for. Signs of potential human trafficking include vehicles with out-of-state plates carrying multiple women or many people visiting the same hotel room.
If you ever see anything suspicious, you’re urged to call the police.
Amanda Rose is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. Amanda graduated from Columbia University earning a Master’s degree in Journalism. She also received a Bachelor’s degree in English with a specialization in literature from the University of British Columbia.
She’s a Los Angeles native, but is thrilled to return to the beautiful Pacific Northwest and is passionate about reporting on the criminal justice system.