Last Wednesday we decided your story is what we relate to: Relatable You draws me in, repels me, brings compassion and tears, laughter and joy to my listening ears. This is second of a just few stories in the series. Pull up your hammock. Stir your Sangria or Sweet Tea. Sip, sit a spell. Listen with your Heart. You’ll be glad you did.
Today. Looking back about 8 years ago to the first COOATH training at Desert Streams Church, Bend Oregon. FBI, Marshall’s and everything. Eye opening, jaw dropping statistics of 3 types of Human Trafficking *Labor *Domestic Servitude *Sex.
Fast forward to this bright Saturday 2014 morning where COOATH Director, Nita and her husband Dan Belles, spoke to 30 people. As at that first event, today all ages & stages were represented -retired, young professionals, single Moms & Dads, stay at home parents, Widows, students, entrepreneurs, Faith based & secular. We came, pulled by one common concern: What can we do?
Nita Belles and a giant army have worked tirelessly for years to recover missing & exploited children. In 2006 Clackamas County (Oregon) Marshall Bickford asked her to begin an anti-trafficking chapter in Central Oregon. Since then, she has continued to Volunteer full-time with COOATH, OATH, and partner with the Center for Missing & Trafficked Children .
In 2000, Chris Smith – House of Representatives coauthored the first Trafficking Victims Protection Act. In 2009 the first Oregon Anti Trafficking Senate Bill was passed. Senator Tim Knopp has worked tirelessly with Nita and so many more to bring awareness and victims rights to Oregon. Human trafficking Bills – GovTrack.us
At the end of this post you’ll find the body of the most recent newsletter from the Director. It’s included so you’ll know why I encourage you to support this group and a new opportunity to serve. Proven, organized, well thought out, with many opportunities to serve in our community right here. Right now. ~~~
Nita is the first to say her mission is two-fold; To raise awareness and Advocate in order to “Slave proof Central Oregon”
Why should you get involved?
*almost every sex trafficked case is a local, state or national citizen. People you may know personally.
*the first Oregon FBI investigated case was in Sunriver, (Yes, bucolic Sunriver Oregon) for horrific domestic servitude-abuse.
*most victims today are lured on line.
*there is something that even you can do! 🙂 Keep reading!
How can you get involved? I’m glad you asked!
*Vote! Vote! Vote! Call, write, email your Representative that you support legislation(s), laws, funding for anti-Human trafficking.
*TAKE ACTION! PRAY! Let’s be clear – OATH-COOATH is not a faith-based organization nor is a ‘Faith affiliation’ required. (I am a faith-based person so prayer is always my Go To.) What’s yours?
*Volunteer! In 2012 Jan Swander became the Right Hand Woman of COOATH. She has spoken to groups, ‘campaigned’ for anti-trafficking, organized speakers for quarterly meetings and generally raised awareness in our community. Unfortunately, due to an accident she’ll not be available to serve any longer in this capacity. The young woman assisting with other responsibilities went and had a lovely healthy baby! (Congrats JOJO!) 😉 Thank you Jan for your Vision and servant’s heart!
*Can you step up? Can you help?
How about as an Admin. Assistant? Webmaster? Bookkeeper? Lobby for Legislation? Start an Anti Human trafficking club in your middle or high school?
Or could you help set up events? Run errands? Share missing child posters? Work on the sticker program? Serve refreshments at events? Catalog research? Coordinate Volunteers? Send out the Newsletter? How’s your artwork-graphic design skill?
There ‘s more on the ‘wish list’ and they are very open to ideas to utilize YOUR talents. Please email email@example.com for more information. She’ll be happy to work with you to find your fit.
Get involved. Guarantee, there’s something for you.
IN HER OWN WORDS~~~~
Link up to resources!
In Our Backyard This Facebook page keeps you up to date on trainings, volunteer opportunities & more.
Click any of the above links to learn more. Do you have a story to add or promote? We’d love to hear.
Until next time, Shandra (Central Oregon Oregonians Against Human Trafficking; 6 words) 🙂
(Originally written-scheduled for April 18, 2014 the training was rescheduled for June 7, 2014 & updated) Thanks for reading!