MEDFORD, Ore. – A nationwide outcry against child trafficking is being heard in the Rogue Valley. Several residents in Northern California and Southern Oregon are putting on events this month to raise awareness. Human trafficking is a problem police say exists up and down the I-5 corridor.
It’s one of the biggest reasons why organizers are putting together a march called Save Our Children Saturday.
“I wanna cry, because there is so many dimensions to this problem,” said Sadie Wilson, who is a Yreka mom, “We are right off the I-5 corridor. This is one of the strongest routes of transportation for things like this that do happen”.
What she’s learned about sex trafficking has her deeply disturbed. Medford police say sex trafficking is constantly evolving, even within the Rogue Valley.
“There always trying to find different platforms they’re making it harder and harder for us to find them because they do go to different websites,” said Lt. Mike Budreau, Medford Police Department.
Police say traffickers use many ways to manipulate victims.
“It usually starts with approaching a victim and offering them maybe a modeling contract or commenting on the attractiveness of the female involved. And just trying to win them over and really trying to provide them with a different type of lifestyle than they are currently in,” said Lt. Budreau.
The problem, has become a nationwide conversation, with movements throughout the country. While Lt. Mike Budreau says other areas of the U.S. may see higher rates of child trafficking than Southern Oregon, sex trafficking and child porn is something he says our police are watching for daily.
“Very rarely do we see do we see a child being sex trafficked. In the times that we have seen that it’s been by a parent or somebody who is basically their legal guardian,” said Lt. Budreau.
Wilson says more people need to know the truth, she hopes the march she’s organizing Saturday will bring awareness.
NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university’s political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster’s Foundation.
Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]