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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

Purse party raises money to stop human trafficking

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer

Ferrum College freshman Megan Vest will host a purse party Sunday, March 16 from 1 to 6 p.m. in Franklin County High School's Ramsey Cafeteria.

Vest organized the party through Change Purse, a nonprofit organization that supports exploited men, women and children.

Change Purse's mission is to "encourage hope through raising awareness and by investing into the lives of victims and survivors of sex trafficking," according to the website.

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 to 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., according to the website.

Vest learned about sex trafficking at an awareness event at her church and knew she wanted to help.

This marks the second year of the purse party sale. Last year, Vest and classmate Jenny Bayer raised nearly $2,000 for Change Purse.

"The results were awesome last year, and we are really excited about that," said Vest. "I am so grateful to the community for all their support."

"I encourage anyone who is interested to stop by the sale," said Vest. "This is not only to raise money, but to also raise awareness of this issue."

Vest is seeking donations of new or gently used purses and wallets from the community. The purses will be priced for sale at the party. Proceeds will benefit the Change Purse organization.

Monetary donations are also being accepted.

Drop-off boxes for donations are set up at the Paul Crawford State Farm agency. Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For questions, email Vest at vestmegan@live.com or call (540) 483-5107 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To learn more about the Change Purse organization or to shop using their online catalog, visit www.changepurse.org.

 
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