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Bayside hosts ‘Awareness to Action’ sex trafficking event

Inaugural event blends art with information to urge people to combat problem
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David Harris believes that one day sex trafficking will no longer exist.

“Everyone can contribute to cause prevention or, as I like to say, eradication,” Harris said. “I dream big.”

Harris, managing director of Thriving Churches International for Bayside Church, is organizing an event at the Granite Bay campus called “Awareness to Action: The Fight Against Sex Trafficking,” which takes place Friday, Aug. 26 and is open to the public.

Sex trafficking is the second highest crime industry in the world, Harris said, with revenues totaling more than all the major professional sports leagues in the United States combined.

“It’s not right,” Harris said. “(There are) 1.2 million children being trafficked around the world. Every 30 seconds, a young lady under the age of 13 is bought or sold … Culture at large and the church can no longer turn its back and deny it.”

The Sacramento region ranks high among U.S. cities in terms of involvement in sex trafficking, he said.

Victims are forced into various forms of exploitation, including prostitution, pornography, stripping, live sex shows, mail-order brides, military prostitution and sex tourism, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.

During Bayside’s inaugural event, speakers will share their experience working on sex trafficking in Cambodia, Thailand, India and other hubs. They will talk about ways people can get involved in combating this problem by focusing on three areas: supply, demand and facilitators.

Jenny Williamson, founder of Rocklin-based Courage to Be You, Inc., will speak at the event.

"Bringing awareness to the issue of sex trafficking is so necessary if we want to see action," Williamson said. "Laws need to be changed, perpetrators need to be punished, purchasers need to be exposed and above all these precious, vulnerable, often invisible girls need to be rescued and restored."

The event will feature an art element with paintings, sculptures and other pieces on exhibit in the courtyard. The art is for sale and all proceeds benefit the cause.

During the program, musician Lincoln Brewster will perform. There will be an interpretive dance troupe and a screening of “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls,” a documentary about sex tourism that will be nationally released in September.

“One of my biases as a minister is that whenever culture at large and the (faith) community have a chance to intersect that is a win-win,” Harris said.

He hopes people leave the event with inspiration and information on how to help — whether through making financial donations, shopping at places where proceeds benefit this cause, going on short mission trips, working with local enforcement or other means.

“We want to see more people not just be aware — oh, isn’t that sad and bad and I want to pray about it — to how am I going to put skin in the game?” Harris said.

~ Sena Christian

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Bayside Church presents “Awareness to Action: The Fight Against Sex Trafficking
When:
5-10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26
Where: Main auditorium, Bayside Church, 8191 Sierra College Blvd. in Granite Bay
Cost: $10 per person, $15 per couple
Info: Register at www.baysideonline.com