OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City is a crossroads for human trafficking; young, innocent victims sold into the sex trade.
The Salvation Army has joined with OATH (Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans) on an awareness campaign to make sure that Oklahomans know about the crime literally happening in our own back yard.
Wednesday, Major Francina Proctor, Associate Area Commander for the Central Oklahoma Salvation Army, spoke to a women’s networking group downtown about the problem.
“Being in Oklahoma City, we are at the crossroads of I-35 and I-40 and we are in the middle of trafficking,” Maj. Proctor said. “Basically I want to see people get angry about it. I want to see people get angry about child pornography.”
Robin Walker is with the networking group, OKC Happy Hour.
She asked Maj. Proctor to speak to the group about human trafficking.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people in the last few months since we’ve been planning this event that have no idea this was going on,” Walker said.
The problem is gaining attention.
Back in March, we did a story after Oklahoma City police plucked a 15-year-old girl from a john’s vehicle in a Sears parking lot.
More recently, sheriff’s deputies feared a missing Weatherford teenager, JaRay Wilson, could have gotten caught up in sex trafficking.
Her parents were shocked to hear the news.
“It’s the most awful thing to think about your little girl going through,” Jara Wilson, JaRay’s mom, said. “I just can’t imagine how people can do that to little kids.”
Maj. Proctor said the Salvation Army recently helped a young woman who came to one of their shelters.
“We had a young woman who was held for two weeks just, not far from here in a hotel by a cartel,” Maj. Proctor said.
She’s hoping by getting the word out, they can raise money for more safe houses and other resources to help young victims rescued from human trafficking.
The OATH coalition is also looking for community volunteers.
They have a hotline for anyone who thinks they observed something that could be related to human trafficking.
You can find more information on OATH’s website at www.OATHcoalition.org.