Trafficking in the Oil Field

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth.” 
― William Faulkner

Trafficking in the Oil Fields

Aryn Baker, in a 1/17/19 article for Time magazine, reported on the efforts of one woman determined to make a difference against trafficking in the oil fields of North Dakota.  She says:

"In 2012, Windie Lazenko was working for a support organization for sex-trafficking survivors in Florida when she started hearing strippers and sex workers talking about the money to be made in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and Montana. Figuring that wherever there was a demand for prostitutes, pimps and traffickers were sure to follow, Lazenko drove to Williston on a reconnaissance mission.

The situation, she says, was “worse than horrific.” Pimps had colonized the two local strip clubs and most of the hotels, but bartenders and front-desk managers had no idea what was going on. “They all thought the women were there by choice,” says Lazenko. The only women’s shelter in town was for domestic-abuse victims, and it wasn’t equipped to deal with trafficking victims. Police investigators, Lazenko says, often ended up alienating and retraumatizing victims with insensitive questions about the number of johns they had slept with or why they never tried to get away.

Lazenko ended up staying in Williston to found 4her North Dakota, a one-woman organization dedicated to helping trafficking victims. She started button-holing hotel managers, front-desk personnel, bartenders and baristas for impromptu training on how to spot signs of trafficking...And she gave presentations to the Williston police department about how to treat potential victims, and went with federal investigators on raids."  (Read the full article here.)

The article identifies Lazenko's anti-trafficking passion with this concluding statement, "She is trying to do for trafficked women what she wishes someone had done for her back when she was 13"  (when she herself was trafficked).

One woman on a mission to change the world.  I think she's doing it.

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit


In-N-Out Burger Combats Trafficking

Fight the New Drug reports: "Many organizations have joined the fight against this massive problem in our society, and now our favorite burger joint is one of them.  Throughout the month of January—which is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month—In-N-Out Burger has been encouraging customers to donate to their nonprofit organization Slave 2 Nothing and help fight sexual exploitation.  Their website says, “During January, in support of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, In-N-Out Burger® will match your donation 3-to-1 up to $250,000."  


Save the date: The Restoring Hope Fundraising Gala for Engedi Refuge Ministries will be on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at the   Four Points by Sheraton, 714 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham WA 98229.  Click here for details.


  • Human trafficking generates $32 billion annually

  • From 2015 to 2016, there was a 35.7% increase in reported cases of human trafficking in America

  • 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each year from abuse, disease, torture, and neglect

  • 44% of polled human trafficking survivors estimated they were age 17 or younger when they were first sexually exploited (Source: Fight the New Drug)




KIRO News report: New Resource for Victims

KIRO News report on website that will "give people a lifeline"

In 2018, the Washington State Attorney's office unveiled a "new website to give people a lifeline - and a way out of human trafficking.  The site was built in partnership with several agencies from King County and the state, and features downloadable resources, information, and a calendar of anti-trafficking events." 

Attorney General Bob Ferguson says, “We’re excited about it. We heard from individuals and survivors (that) what was really needed was one place for folks to go that provided all sorts of information of services they may need.”  

Kyra Doubek, co-founder of Survivor Impact Group, believes the website will be helpful.   Kyra " to fight sex trafficking - and get people out of that life - because she knows what it was like. And she knows who gets pulled in.

"This is not like this is something that happens to people that are necessarily bad," she said. "It happens to people that are vulnerable."

She hopes that through more outreach like this, that she can help make that difference. “I wish somebody would have told me that I'Il believe you and I'm going to help you,'" Doubek said.

The state of Washington is a leader in efforts to fight trafficking, including passing laws, conducting Nanny Net stings, having multiple agencies work together to develop resources like this website, and more.  

Well done, Washington!  Well done!

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit 

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) reports on victories in the fight!

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) works tirelessly to effect change in the dark world of sexual exploitation.  An email from NCOSE on 1/7/19  touted the following major victories they have been instrumental in securing:

  • "Snapchat, the most popular social media app among teens, removed the function known as Snapcash. This feature allowed users to send money to each other. Snapcash was largely used to pay for prostitution and pornography on the platform. Snapchat also enabled in-app reporting so that users can finally report abusive and sexually explicit behavior."

  • NCOSE also says, "In our long back-and-forth with Google over the years, one thing we have asked for is that they make their built-in filter, called Safe Search, much more visible.   Google agreed to make the change and have now placed it in the top right of Google Images. Considering that a search of the word “sex” returns countless images of hardcore pornography in a fraction of a second, we count this as a great step forward. More users will now know the filter is available to them."

  • The third victory involves the United States Navy!  NCOSE reports, "For several years, we have made a sustained effort to reduce sexual exploitation in the United States military. In 2013, Army and Air Force bases stopped the sale of pornographic magazines at on-base exchanges after advocacy efforts from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. However, the Navy was slow to make this change. NCOSE recently learned that the Navy has indeed stopped selling pornographic magazines on their bases! This action will help prevent the rise of sexually hostile environments within our military."

Kudos to NCOSE on these positive steps against sexual exploitation.  

Six Dozen School Buses Used to Raise Awareness of Child Sex Trafficking


An ABC News story on January 2, 2019 reported that about six dozen school buses had made their way through the city of Atlanta, representing the roughly 3,600 children authorities say are sold into sex slavery every year in Georgia alone.  Messages about trafficking were displayed on both the sides and tops of each bus.

Kate Brumback, AP reporter said, "State Attorney General Chris Carr and Gov.-elect Brian Kemp were joined by other elected officials and anti-trafficking advocates Wednesday to highlight a campaign called Stop Traffick that aims to raise awareness of child sex trafficking.".

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(Photo by BBDO)
The buses featuring anti-human-trafficking messages then traveled through the city's streets to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the 
Super Bowl will be played next month.  

Bob Rodgers is president and CEO of Street Grace, an organization that fights child sex trafficking. Rodgers said the goal is to raise awareness and to attack demand by working to remove the anonymity that often surrounds traffickers and buyers."

That's a very visual and creative way to get out the message about child sex trafficking!  What ideas do you have that we might do in Whatcom County? 

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit 

Cyntoia Brown given clemency

In the 12/30/18 Hope4Justice weekly email we shared information about a petition requesting clemency for Cyntoia Brown.  Just a week later, clemency was granted!   "Gov. Bill Haslam ordered an early release for Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee woman and alleged sex trafficking victim serving a life sentence in prison for killing a man when she was 16.

Haslam granted Brown a full commutation to parole on Monday. Brown will be eligible for release Aug. 7 on time served and will stay on parole for 10 years."

Read Cyntoia's statement here.

Every Two Minutes


What to do if a child discloses:

  • Listen.  Do not fill in words for the child.

  • If the child is having a difficult time talking -- don't help the child with words you think the child is going to say.  Allow the child to tell you what happened in their own words.

  • Tell the child that you are glad they told you.

  • Reassure the child that they are not in trouble.

  • If the child asks you to not tell anyone, remind the child that it is your job to help keep them safe and you will do whatever you may need to do to keep them safe. 

  • Do not be overly critical of the offender.  Children are protective about people they care about, even if they are being abused.

  • Tell the child you believe them.

  • Don't express panic or shock.

  • Use the child's vocabulary to the child and when reporting.

  • Be aware of your own feelings about abuse so that hopefully you will not project these on to the child.

  • Do not ask probing questions.

  • Remember, you must report suspected abuse.

Source: Hope4Justice Facebook post, 1/3/19; Cited: Sanford HealthWant to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery?  Visit


Happening in Yakima:

"Facebook, other social media used in arresting 15 accused child predators" was the headline on a Dec. 19, 2018 article by Khalyn King of  

"In five days, 15 accused predators were locked behind bars after trying to have sex with children as young as three years old.

Local authorities called this arresting spree "Operation Net Nanny." It's the 14th operation in the state to target people involved in child abuse and internet porn. While these numbers may seem alarming, Lieutenant James Mjor over at Washington State Patrol (WSP) says this operation is only a small piece to a much larger picture."

Read the full article here.


January is National Human Trafficking month. (Learn more here.)

What will you do to join the cause?

  • Learn more: Watch a human trafficking  video on you tube.

  • Check out the policies (on the website) of your favorite company. If they're not clearly trying to prevent trafficking in their product line, send them an email expressing your concerns.

  • Take a latte or espresso break for a week and donate the money saved to an anti-trafficking group

  • Encourage a Whatcom County high school student, WCC or WWU student to do trafficking awareness activities so they can apply for the Hope4Justice STEP scholarship. (Deadline 4/15/19)