Volunteers hold out soap for victims of sex-trafficking

5-21-13-82nd avenue hotel night window
The night window of a motel along Portland's 82nd Avenue. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Volunteers are hoping bars of soap can help victims of sex trafficking.

5-21-13-sex trafficking hotline soap
A volunteer passes out bars of soap printed with the sex trafficking hotline number to hotels and motels along Portland’s 82nd Avenue on Tuesday, May 21, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

The East Portland Rotary Club volunteers walked from motel to motel on Southeast 82nd Avenue Tuesday — asking managers to place special bars of soap in the restrooms of each room.

The soap bars — with a sex-trafficking hotline printed on each — are placed in the restrooms of each room.

“It’s horrifying to realize a child can be taken from their family and sexually abused,” said Jackie Jones, a Rotary volunteer. “Just horrifying.”

Most hotel owners along 82nd Avenue, a street known for its “lingerie shows” and prostitution stings, agreed to place the soap in rooms.

“It’s a very degrading situation,” said Dana Clark with the Human Trafficking Team. “Young girls don’t know how to get out of it.”

The toll-free National Hotline number for sex-trafficking and labor-trafficking is 1-888-373-7888.

“We do an assessment and try to determine what kind of services they might need,” a national hotline operator told KOIN 6 News. “If it’s a community member that has a tip, we try to determine the best course of action. We have a database that we provide referrals for almost every agency.”

There’s also a state-by-state map of sex-trafficking resources at PolarisProject.org.

Portland’s sex trade is not isolated to 82nd Avenue. In northwest Portland Tuesday, a john was caught with a 15-year-old girl working as a prostitute on the street. The teenager was taken into protective custody. The john was charged with a number of sex-abuse crimes.

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