I can never get back what was taken from me. But I can build, and if I can save a young girl's life, then it's worth me telling my story, and trying to do anything that I can. – EleSondra DeRomano, Founder of STARS
Latest Huffington Post Article :
Better Living Interview - Elesondra De Romano tells us why Toledo is ranked #4 for recruitment in human trafficking.
Don't miss an Easter Extravaganza, Saturday, April 4 (3-6) at the Unity United Methodist Church in Northwood (1910 E Broadway).
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The Green Light Project is a community-based, collaborative program empowering communities with education and awareness of commercial sexual exploitation/sex trafficking while raising funds for victim services. In recent years, federal authorities have focused heavily on child sex trafficking in America. Traffickers, like pimps and gang members, have become more sophisticated in their recruitment and control over youth. They prowl arcades, malls, bus stops, and even social media online. They move from city to city looking for vulnerable youth who are easy prey, including those who are feeling alone, desperate, and isolated. Traffickers will move their victims from state to state, keeping them in a state of disorientation, and often forcing them to work outside of larger cities and in small towns where police are unfamiliar with sex trafficking indicators and operations.
It has been estimated that at least 100,000 children are commercially sexually exploited each year with even more at risk. Due to its proximity to interstate highways and truck stops, Toledo is a prime recruiting area for victims in the United States. In 2005, Ele DeRomano, Founder of STARS, assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation with their "Precious Cargo" case in Harrisburg, PA. In this operation alone, the FBI recovered 151 victims of sex trafficking, 78 of whom were from Toledo, OH, and 45 of whom were minors. “In 2005 and 2006, Toledo was the number-one city in the nation for sex trafficking,” says Ele. “Now, we are number four. It’s a huge problem and not just an inner city problem. Parents need to know that just because you live in Northwood, Ottawa Hills or out in rural areas, your kids are still susceptible to pimps and how they trap people into prostitution. We have to educate these kids to keep them safe.”
The Green Light Project is a creative way for community members to raise awareness and advocate against sex trafficking in their neighborhoods. Why green? The color is in opposition to the notorious reputation of “red light districts” in which prostitution and sex trafficking often run rampant. Will you join us? Beginning in March 2015, let's color Toledo green as we raise awareness of commercial sexual exploitation/sex trafficking and show visible support for survivors. “Displaying the lights will show the community that we will no longer stand for these young girls to be exploited,” Ele says. The green light bulbs can be installed outside of homes, businesses, and offices as a unified statement against the scourge of sex trafficking. Click here to purchase or donate a $5 bulb today!