“In the first 6 months of this fiscal year, we’ve served more than 80 individuals,” said JoDee Garretson, Executive Director of Support, Advocacy, and Resource Center (SARC) in Richland.
The organization works to help victims of sex trafficking in the Tri-Cities.
Garretson says the problem is so prevalent in the area, that the agency is looking to hire a fourth advocate to help men, women, and children get help and freedom from sex trafficking.
“We’ve had kids as young as 2 that have been sex-trafficked, as well as women as old as 60, and ages in between.”
She says it’s not just women who are trafficked for sex. “We certainly do serve more females, but people do need to understand that there’s a risk for the males, too.”
To bring awareness to the issue in the community, SARC will hold a Shine the Light on Trafficking event in Kennewick on Friday evening.
“We’ll have a little rally to start at 4:00 pm, with coffee and cocoa,” Garretson said. “We’ll have glowstick necklaces to raise awareness, but also for survivors to know the people in their community do care, and they do recognize that they are survivors of something horrible that really isn’t their fault.”