Roses on Aurora bridge raise awareness of human trafficking

KING 5's Ted Land reports that white roses on the Aurora Bridge are raising awareness about sexually exploited children in Seattle.

Drivers on the Aurora bridge in Seattle will notice hundreds of white roses taped to the guard rails on either side of the road.

The flowers are to raise awareness of child sex exploitation and human trafficking.

“This really is just a symbol of hope a symbol, of identity, for the community to really understand that this is an issue that's happening in our backyard,” said Nicole DeCario, executive director of the non-profit group Stolen Youth.

The organization raises money and awareness to support the rescue and recovery of sexually exploited people, especially children. The white roses are a way to educate people about an issue they might otherwise overlook.

“There's 500 of them for the 500 youths trafficked in Seattle each year, and I believe that's a low number, that's from a 2008 study,” DeCario said.

The blooms lead to a new billboard with some tough words for the thousands of drivers rushing by. It cites the 500 kids statistic and urges people to “take a stand.”

“Aurora Avenue is notorious for trafficking, and children being bought and sold, as is downtown Seattle,” said Ouida Hemingway, a Stolen Youth board member.

Law enforcement officers say human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world and it often involves kids. The Stolen Youth volunteers hope their message will encourage more people to pay attention.

Stolen Youth is planning a vigil in honor and support of victims and survivors of trafficking. It's at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 10th, at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle.

More info about the event is on the Stolen Youth Facebook page.

© 2017 KING-TV


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