In an effort to collect items for victims of human trafficking and raise awareness about the issue, Soroptimist International of Marysville-Yuba City hosted a Mission Restoration Supply Drive on Wednesday in Yuba City.
Sandee Drown, Soroptimist member and chair of their human trafficking committee, said they partnered with the Yuba City Police Department to collect supplies such as clothes, personal hygiene products and other essential items to fill backpacks that can be distributed by officers to victims of human trafficking.
“Our mission is to uplift and help women and girls so it’s just part of what we do and it was a great opportunity to partner with the Yuba City Police Department,” Drown said.
Michele Blake, president of the Soroptimist club, said by collecting the items during the drive, they could help victims who may need basic care items.
The goal of Wednesday’s event was to fill 100 backpacks, Drown said, and they hope to host future drives to continue the effort.
“Human trafficking, it makes me angry, I get really angry and sad that as a society this is still going on,” Drown said. “...(The supply drive) is just one of our ways that we can help. The Yuba City Police Department told us they had a need and we’ll be looking for other agencies and other ways that we can help provide assistance.”
Katy Goodson, Yuba City Police Department community policing coordinator, said human trafficking is a concern in the area and it’s something parents should be aware of.
“As an agency, we take any complaint or suspicion of human trafficking very seriously and investigate accordingly,” Goodson said. “We encourage parents and/or caregivers to be cognizant of what their children are doing on their electronics and who they are hanging out with.
If someone fears that someone they love is a victim of human trafficking, please contact your local law enforcement agency. You can always remain anonymous. Don’t think that human trafficking is something that only happens in the bigger cities; it happens on a local level and can take many different forms.”
Drown said people can continue to make monetary donations or donate items as this is an ongoing project – for more information, visit www.mysoroptimist.org and click the “Events” tab.
“The backpack drive (Wednesday) is so important because many times these victims have nothing and feel extremely lost,” Goodson said. “To be able to provide them with supplies and care package items really lifts their spirits. We are collecting new clothes, toiletries, and other necessities to fill the backpacks and then make them available to officers to hand out whenever they see fit. It helps law enforcement a lot as well to have this resource; knowing they can hand over a backpack full of necessities that were provided by such a caring and supportive community.”