BY CONSTANCE JONES ’16
One U.S. Congress candidate’s passion to bring awareness to eradicate sex trafficking has accelerated the need to inform and educate children, teens, young adults and parents. She began to get involved when returning from a Domestic Sex Trafficking Campaign in Washington D.C. in 2014.
Jennifer Ferguson, Social Action Chair for Tacoma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, announced that she will be collaborating with Shared Hope International and Pacific Lutheran University’s Women’s Center on Monday, April 27 at 6 p.m. at PLU to shed light on these issues.
The children that are affected often feel the need to be groomed, loved and offered a sense of security. Fear tactics are often used to lure them. They are not discriminated based on age, gender or demographic background. The consequences of this way of life have been detrimental.
“To keep them, they are tattooed, they watched one another nearly beaten to death, pressured by guilt trips, body parts cut, and the threat of murder of their families if they attempted to leave” she said. “Some still feel loved by the perpetrators in spite of everything.”
Ferguson addressed the 1-5 corridor and Pierce County. She added that children are being chosen and moved between California and Seattle for sex trafficking. Nick Limbo, from Shared Hope International, corroborated in an interview last March that one-thousand to fifteen-hundred girls in Pierce County are being sold a night. Testimonies of American citizens bought, sold and tortured within our countries borders have been affected. She learned that America has become one of the number one countries for sex trafficking.
“Most of us think about sex trafficking as something only in 3rd world countries,” she said. “If that is the case, America has become a third world country.”
According to the U.S. Department of State, it is reported that the United States was completely compliant with anti-trafficking standards. The U.S. ranked a tier one; the highest ranking. The tier standing has brought recognition to our state government and community leaders to take action.
Ferguson has joined thousands of activist to increase awareness. Professor Jeffrey Cohen of UW Tacoma, Pierce County Anti-Trafficking Task Force (PCATT) and Delta’s 17th National President, Mona H. Bailey are among some of the panel speakers.
“This is the right time for our event as history shows sex trafficking goes up when professional sports come into the community.”