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New Anti-Trafficking Coalition Established

The Linn/Benton Anti-Trafficking Coalition has formed in an effort to address human trafficking in Benton and Linn counties. The coalition is hosted by InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization and works very closely with the Oregon Department of Justice. The coalition has joined a statewide coordinated effort to prevent trafficking and serve trafficking survivors.

This coalition has a multi-disciplinary approach to the issue of human trafficking (both sex trafficking and labor trafficking). It is currently working with organizations from a variety of fields, such as Jackson Street Youth Services, Sarah’s Place, ABC House, CARDV, local law enforcement, local prosecution and a variety of other community services. 

Human trafficking is a historically offensive subject that thrives by living in the shadows. Although trafficking can impact any age, race, gender identity and socioeconomic status, it is most often present with other vulnerabilities such as domestic violence, poverty or child abuse. This has created the perfect environment for traffickers to go unnoticed as they target vulnerable populations that often feel  ignored by society. The National Human Trafficking Hotline identifies significant risk factors as recent migration or relocation, substance use, mental health concerns, involvement with the children welfare system and being a runaway or homeless youth. 

“The coalition aims to bring this topic to light by bringing the community together and coordinating services,” said Elizabeth Bauermeister, coalition coordinator. “This can help give trafficking survivors the best care possible to make sure all their needs are met.”

According to the Office for Victims of Crime website, survivors might have a variety of needs, including housing, clothing, legal representation, medical care, childcare, case management, addiction services, etc. The Linn/Benton Anti-Trafficking Coalition aims to create a system where, when they encounter a survivor, they can quickly come together offer resources to meet all of possible needs of the survivor. 

“Over the next few years, the coalition will be focusing on a few fundamental objectives such as identifying trafficking survivors by implementing peer-reviewed screening tools, developing a cross-organizational protocol to meet any survivor need once identified, educating the community on the subject of human trafficking and collecting data about the prevalence in our counties,” said Bauermeister. “Once we have laid a strong foundation for our counties, we hope to expand our direct care services.”

For additional information about the coalition or trafficking in general, contact Elizabeth Bauermeister