Years ago our high school students heard the stories of their peers around Los Angeles who were being trafficked for sex, right here in our city. They heard the numbers: an estimated 10,000 teens being trafficked in Southern California and an estimated 100,000-300,000 across the U.S. How could this happen? Wasn’t slavery abolished? We thought this was ancient history. We were wrong.
Sex trafficking is a worldwide epidemic that continues to grow. What can be done to end this tragic abuse of human life? Our high schoolers asked the questions and got some answers when we began a relationship with one of our Strategic Community Partners, Saving Innocence.
Saving Innocence is a local non-profit that exists to protect human worth by confronting exploitation. Saving Innocence serves, empowers, prevents and advocates for child victims of sex trafficking. They do so by providing long term advocacy and case management along with all the tools child victims will need for survival.
Upon hearing the stark reality of what was happening to children and teenagers here in LA, we realized we had to get involved. Support started with giving up money spent on pizza to help rescue sex trafficking victims off the street. Then the message started to spread.
We brought this to the attention of the entire congregation at Montrose Church and it touched a cord. We cannot do what Saving Innocence is doing to combat sex trafficking, which is why they are a Strategic Community Partner that we support.
Here is how you can get help children who are being recovered from sex trafficking in Los Angeles: put together a first response crisis backpack. One of the first items a case worker brings to a minor rescued from sex trafficking is one of these backpacks, full of necessary hygiene items, a change of clothes and an encouraging note from you.
We have committed to providing 100 backpacks. It costs around $150-200 per backpack, but that is a small price to pay to help heal the wounds of the innocent victims here in Los Angeles. Pick up a gift bag and list and return your completed donation to the Connections Center by December 1.