photos by Jackie Piro Huyck

Walking with a Purpose

x_awarenesswalk2The Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland (SIVNCI), which serves the communities of Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido, recently sponsored the 12th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Walk to shed light on the impact of sexual exploitation in the community. More than 150 local community members gathered with signs to march.

Retired FBI agent Masayo Halpin spoke of her experiences with task forces in Portland, OR to stop human trafficking, and about a girl involved in human trafficking who, after consistent care, was able to escape her hardships. Jaimee Johnson, founder of the nonprofit Sisters of the Streets and peer counselor with Project LIFE, a program part of the North County Lifeline Organization, also spoke of her own experiences as a victim. She and the Project LIFE team have helped in the rescue and treatment of nearly 150 girls since 2012.

SIVNCI seeks to raise awareness and educate communities about human trafficking, in part by initiating an awareness program called the North San Diego County Human Trafficking Collaborative. In addition to the annual Awareness Walk, SIVNCI also maintains a speakers’ bureau to provide information about human trafficking to organizations in North San Diego County, provides updates on legislation relative to human trafficking, and provides news articles about human trafficking. For more information visit www.soroptimistvista.org.