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Women and Sex Traffic

Most Eugeneans probably assume that human trafficking is an international phenomenon, plaguing far-off nations like India and Thailand. This is decidedly not the case. Trafficking is an issue that affects the U.S., and prostitution and servitude in Oregon is on the rise. In order to raise awareness for this pressing human rights issue, and as part of its annual International Women’s Day Forum, the Zonta Club of Eugene-Springfield is holding a luncheon and panel on sex trafficking 11:30 am Thursday, March 8.

Traffickers are exploiting the young people living on the streets of the Pacific Northwest with alarming frequency — Portland and Seattle are among some of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. when it comes to trafficking, according to the Zonta Club.

Hosted in the Eugene Hilton Conference Center, the forum titled “Homelessness and Trafficking: Keeping Our Kids Safe” will explore the issue of human trafficking from a local perspective. There will be speakers from a local shelter, juvenile justice, women-survivor support groups and a woman who was trafficked. The goal of the event is to educate the community about how this problem affects local young women and children and what can be done to help.

The cost of the luncheon and panel is $25 per person and $200 for a table of eight. All of the proceeds from the event will go to Zonta, an organization that works to support women’s issues locally and worldwide. Advance registration required; check with Zonta for details at zontaeugenespringfield.com and see the “Women’s Day” category in EW’s calendar this week and next week’s issue for more International Women’s Day events.