BEND, OR -- Jesse Fishkin is a member of Boy Scout Troop 25, working on earning his Eagle Scout ranking, the highest achievement in scouting. In doing so, he hopes to raise awareness of the human trafficking problem in Central Oregon.
The high school student calls his project called "Shadows of Hope." You might have seen some of the seven life-size black human silhouettes posted around Bend. They represent victims of human trafficking, a problem Fishkin says is largely unknown and ignored. "The way human trafficking works is that people refuse to admit that it is there, so it operates undetected. Hopefully with this project it won’t remain undetected," he tells KBND News.
He says, "Silhouettes are painted black because they represent the shadows, these people are in the shadows of society. Attached to each of the silhouettes are flyers with information pertaining to them." Those flyers describing how to identify victims of human trafficking. "My biggest hope is that someone would pick up a flyer, read about the issue and learn to identify a victim. Because, the largest way that human trafficking succeeds is that people refuse to acknowledge that it’s in their homes. I want to state that it is here in Bend, Oregon and the best way to stop it is to raise awareness." Fishkin moves the cutouts randomly every few days.
The Eagle Scout-to-be recently convinced Bend City Councilors to get behind his "Shadows of Hope" campaign, which runs through the end of April.