Local Churches Partner to End Human Trafficking

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one third of teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. Teen runaways are often promised food, shelter, and protection from the cruelty of the streets, only to find themselves trapped, prisoners to the world of sex trafficking.

One local group is working to end this horrific crime in Humboldt County. Empower. Protect. Invest. (E.P.I.) thinkSMALL Humboldt County is dedicated to educating local students about the red flags and dangers of human trafficking, empowering them to protect themselves and their friends from traffickers lurking in our county.

E.P.I. is partnering with LifeHouse Humboldt to present Runaway Sleep Out Night, a fundraiser for anti-human trafficking education in Humboldt County. The event is being held at LifeHouse Humboldt (2734 Hubbard Ln., Eureka, CA) on Friday, October 6, 2017 beginning at 5 p.m. and running until 8 a.m. the next day. Runaway Night is a community awareness project that replicates just a small part of what a runaway may face their first night out on the streets. Participants acquire sponsors to donate to the cause if the participant sleeps outside for one night at the event. A prize will be awarded for first, second, and third place based on total amount raised. In the event of rain, our sleep out participants will have access to a gymnasium should they choose to use it. Bathrooms and overnight security will be provided.

This event will have food and drinks available for purchase. At 6 p.m. the documentary “I Am Jane Doe” will be screened. Because of the adult subject matter contained in this documentary, this movie is not recommended for children. Games, activities, and a body safety and self-defense class will be provided on site by our E.P.I. group, with the help of Lost Coast Kenpo & Martial Arts,  for those too young to view the movie.

Our goal for this event is to raise awareness of the growing human trafficking problem within our own community, while raising funds to help prevent and combat it. All funds will go directly to the E.P.I. group to help fund student outreach, education, and future awareness events.

To register for this event go to https://runaway-sleep-out-night-fundraiser-eureka-faith-center.echurchevents.com/step1.

For any further questions or to enroll a friend, please contact Amanda Case at mygreyjaggy@comcast.net.

ABOUT E.P.I. thinkSMALL Humboldt

E.P.I. (Empower. Protect. Invest.) was founded in 2015 following a mission trip to Thailand. The mission team to Thailand worked with the Thai Non-Profit thinkSMALL Foundation. thinkSMALL brings human trafficking prevention and anti-drug education to children in Thailand and three other countries.

E.P.I.’s main goal is to educate this generation on human trafficking prevention, with the intention of community transformation.

Last year, E.P.I. launched the Prevention Project at St. Bernard’s High School. We were able to reach over 50 freshman students who successfully completed the six-lesson program. Those students then did awareness projects to complete the course. Some students made Instagram and Facebook accounts about the cause, one student painted a picture of a trafficking situation in order to raise conversation, another group of students wrote and illustrated a storybook titled “The Life of a Human Trafficking Victim.” The school intends to teach this program each year in the freshman classes.

In 2017, we began teaching the Prevention Project at Eureka High School to the entire freshman body.

The E.P.I. team is now contextualizing the thinkSMALL Foundation curriculum for American children, with the intent of doing similar presentations in local schools.

We are working to provide preschool and elementary/middle school prevention education materials.

This year E.P.I. has begun an awareness committee, focused solely on bringing human trafficking awareness to the community. We are excited for what this year has in store.

To learn more about E.P.I. thinkSMALL Humboldt County, visit eurekafaithcenter.org/epi or contact Samantha Karges at skarges@eurekafaithcenter.org or (707) 442-1784.