Portland Clergy Team Up With City Officials to Fight Human Sex Trafficking

The city of Portland, Ore., and members of the clergy are pulling resources together and collaborating in an effort to put an end to human sex trafficking.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Luis Palau Association President Kevin Palau and pastors Rick McKinley and T. Allen Bethel came together Wednesday morning at city hall, along with members of the community, to discuss a new initiative to raise funds for victims of sexual trafficking this year, the Palau organization shared Tuesday.

During the meeting, Palau said the proceeds from Advent Conspiracy, a movement that encourages families to donate funds to charities of their choosing instead of purchasing gifts during the holiday season, will be divided between the Sexual Assault Resource Center and Janus Youth Programs, two local non-profit organizations that work with underage victims

"Last year, $45,000 was raised through Advent Conspiracy as a Christmas gift to the city," said Palau in a video statement.

"That money was leveraged with $250,000 of city funds and $280,000 of county funds to start the first shelter in Portland for the victims of sexual trafficking. So we celebrated that but we're also looking forward to next year and continuing to raise funds."

The pastors and city officials praised the collaboration and agreed that much more of it is needed to tackle difficult problems in desperate need of attention in the community.

"Your gift to our community comes at a time when local governments have been struggling with continuous budget cuts that have forced us to make very difficult choices about how we preserve our community," said Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen, according to the Palau report. "We've done terrific work, but I think we all know that what we’re doing is just beginning to see what the possibility is."