January is national human sex trafficking awareness month, but the Guardian Group is determined to take on this issue year round. Central Oregon Daily’s Austin Reed sits down with members of Guardian Group who organize self defense classes and educate women on how to fight and avoid sex trafficking.
Andrea Benson, a Portland native and a victim of human sex trafficking, spoke this month at a Guardian Group’s weekly self defense class at Clarks Martial Arts in Bend. Benson met her trafficker through the online dating site Plenty Of Fish when she was 22.
Benson had what many would consider a normal life with a loving family and would not be what most would consider “high risk” for sex trafficking.
Benson eventually escaped her trafficker, who plead out in court and was sent to jail.
Benson said she plans to go back to school, this time to study law, to help more women and girls like her seek justice for their traffickers. She also hopes to speak to more women and girls to raise awareness with group like Guardian Group.
Guardian Group is a non-profit started in 2010 by Jeff Tiegs of Bend. The group is made up for former law enforcement and special ops officers and works year round to tackle the problem of sex trafficking here in the Pacific Northwest.
Tiegs said Guardian Group has a variety of program but the weekly self defense classes are meant to help women and build confidence, self esteem and skills to ensure that they aren’t an easy target for trafficking.
Interstate 5, that runs through California, Oregon and Washington, was spotlighted as a hot spot for human trafficking on the west coast in a 2010 report to Congress. Both Portland and Seattle have struggled with the issue in recent years and legislators in both states have worked to strengthen sex trafficking laws.
To find out the signs and report human sex trafficking, visit the Oregon Hotline.
Central Oregon Daily with the Hollister Brothers in Minnesota
Mountain View High School alumni and twin brothers Jacob and Cody Hollister spent a few minutes at Super Bowl LII Opening Night in St. Paul, Minnesota talking to Central Oregon Daily’s Eric Lindstrom.
Jacob is a tight end with the New England Patriots, and Cody is a wide receiver on the Patriots’ practice squad.
See more of Central Oregon daily’s coverage of Super Bowl LII on the Afternoon Edition at 3pm Tuesday on KOHD-ABC.
Central Oregon Daily’s Donna Britt and Lisa Carton talk with Kim Curley of Living Well about the upcoming workshops that are meant to help improve the lives of people living with chronic conditions, as well as support their loved ones and caretakers.
Six years ago, Arie Luyendyk Jr. was in love and a day away from proposing to the woman of his dreams. And then, she broke his heart. Emily Maynard (now Emily Maynard Johnson) may not have been Arie’s future wife, but he hasn’t been able to find a love like hers since. Now Arie is back and ready to race into America’s heart yet again when he returns for a second shot at love, starring in the 22nd season of ABC’s hit romance reality series The Bachelor, returning to ABC in January 2018.