BEND, OR -- A meeting last night at the Bend Community Center called "Slavery in the High Desert" attempted to shine a light on sex trafficking in Central Oregon. Survivor Rozlind Saumalu of Arizona shared her story, "I think, first of all, it does happen across the country and literally it's happening in our own backyard with our neighbors. And when we know that, we can look for signs with our friends, daughters and our sons." She says signs to watch for include kids who are withdrawing and are hiding who they are hanging out with.
Saumalu was first sex trafficked when she was only three, and was not able to escape until she was in her mid-20s. She now works for a facility in Arizona that helps rescue girls ages 11 to 17.
Last night's discussion was hosted by the Central Oregon chapter of Oregonians Against Trafficking of Humans (OATH).