Founded in 2015 the E. P.I (Empower. Protect. Invest.) organization works to combat human trafficking within Humboldt County. this Saturday they hosted their first of many walks to help fundraise this mission.
‘The Walk One Step at a Time to End Human Trafficking’ fundraiser took place at Carson Park. Come rain or shine, the event has headed by E.P.I’s Awareness Director, Katrina Taylor, and featured the support of many similar local organizations such as North Coast Rape Crisis Team and Soroptimist International of Humboldt Bay.
The organization raised over $800 with many donating prior online and had over 40 attendees present. The walk itself started at 1:15 PM where survivors were encouraged to walk the first lap around the park.
“It felt amazing,” human trafficking survivor, Vee Smith, said. “It felt rewarding. There were no words to describe it… It’s freeing.”
When asked what message she’d want to send to current and past human trafficking survivors she said this.
“Leaving the game was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done and so worth it. And you are worthy to walk away. We’re here whenever you are ready.”
If you or anyone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, please call this local hotline: (707) 599-1415.
This has been Matthew Taylor with Redwood News.