|FCHS seniors also wanted to raise awareness|
Shoppers surround tables of purses for sale in the FCHS Ramsey cafeteria last week. Proceeds from the purse party benefited Change Purse, an organization that supports victims of sex trafficking.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
Franklin County High School seniors Megan Vest and Jenny Bayer have raised $1,914 for Change Purse, a nonprofit organization that supports exploited men, women and children.
"The results were awesome and we are really excited about that," said Vest.
Change Purse's mission is to "encourage hope through raising awareness and by investing in the lives of victims and survivors of sex trafficking," according to the website.
The girls said they learned about sex trafficking at an awareness event at their church and knew they wanted to help. They began asking for donations of new or gently used purses and held a purse party recently in a high school cafeteria.
"This (purse party) was not only to raise money, but to also raise awareness of this issue," said Vest.
The students said they hope to host another purse party event, either in the spring or summer.
"The results of the party were so phenomenal, we are thinking of doing this once or twice a year," said Vest. "We are so grateful to the community for all their support."
Human trafficking exists all over the United States, according to caseact.org, a California-based website for battling human trafficking.
The average entry age of American minors into the sex trade is 12-14 years old. Many victims are runaway girls, who have already suffered sexual abuse as children.
The prevalence and anonymity of the internet has fueled the rapid growth of sex trafficking, making the trade of women and children easier than ever before.
Human trafficking is a $32-billion industry worldwide, according to chennaichildren.com, a website aimed at sex trafficking education. Up to 2 million people are trafficked worldwide every year, and of those, 15,000 to 18,000 are in the U.S.
In 2010, 2,515 human trafficking cases were under investigation in the U.S., the website says.
For more information about the Change Purse organization or to shop, visit www.changepurse.org.