Marysville Soroptimist chapter, PTA Council forum on combating sex trafficking April 10

MARYSVILLE — As part of their mission to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world. Soroptimist International of Marysville is working to educate Snohomish County about the sexual exploitation of youth, from child sex trafficking to the coercion, abuse and exploitation of children.

"This is not just a worldwide problem, but one that is happening right here in our community," said Renae James, president of Soroptimist International of Marysville. "This modern-day form of slavery is a new type of global slave trade. Perpetrators prey on the most weak among us, primarily women and children, for profit and gain. They lure victims into involuntary servitude and sexual slavery. We need to be aware of the problem and do what we can to make sure our children aren't the victims."

Soroptimist International of Marysville and the Marysville Council of PTAs are cosponsoring a community awareness event starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, in the Marysville-Pilchuck High School auditorium, located at 5611 108th St. NE. A trio of speakers with firsthand, local knowledge of this problem will address how teens can be lured or forced into "the life."

Paula Newman-Skomski is a forensic nurse examiner for the Providence Intervention Center for Assault & Abuse who will discuss some of the cases she has already dealt with in Snohomish County. Azra Grudic is an advocate specialist for the Providence Intervention Center for Assault & Abuse who will share her own experiences and knowledge. Sarah Collins is a mother whose daughter, a sex trafficking victim, is still missing.

There will be a question-and-answer period following each speaker's presentation. Attendees will hear more information about the problem and what action is being taken by different organizations, as well as plans for future action.

For more information, please call Elaine Hanson at 360-659-9202.

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