BEND, OR -- An anti-human trafficking initiative that began in Central Oregon is now statewide. In Our Backyard Executive Director Nita Belles says State Senate Bill 375 passed unanimously in 2017, but it took time to get it fully implemented. "The Oregon State Legislature has now mandated that the Freedom stickers be on the back of the stall door in every restroom in the state of Oregon, managed by ODOT or Oregon Travel Experience; which is about 95% of the rest areas in the state."
They include information on how to call or text the National Human Trafficking hotline and are similar to stickers already in the restrooms of many bars, restaurants and convenience stores, "The signage is actually a blown up image of our Freedom stickers that we’ve got now in all 50 states," says Belles, "It’s so effective. We are getting reports regularly of people that have been recovered because of the Freedom stickers."
Those posters were installed in rest areas along the Interstate-5 corridor, last week, and should be in every state-managed rest area in Oregon by the end of this week.
Belles says public restrooms are often the only place victims have any privacy, away from their trafficker, "They can tell the National Human Trafficking Hotline, ‘we are going to be going to this motel; this is what we’re driving. Please get me help.’ The trafficker doesn’t know that they’ve called for help, they get to the motel and police can come and get them."
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call the national hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or send a text to 233-733.