Unique Gift Registry Helps Victims of Sex Trafficking

December 04, 2017 05:40 PM

This is the season of giving, and the Mayo Clinic is asking Minnesotans to check out a one-of-a-kind gift registry that benefits victims of sex trafficking.

Mayo Clinic is partnering with The Link, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to helping youth and families overcome the effects of poverty and social injustice, including victims of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.

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"I think really what happens is, honestly, day-to-day people don't see it or even realize it's going on," said Beth Holger-Ambrose, executive director of The Link, about sex trafficking.

RELATED: Services for Sex Trafficked Youth Ramp Up Awareness Campaigns

Today, The Link and Mayo Clinic launched an online registry called RiseUpGifts.org with gifts that change lives. Most are daily necessities that help people escape sex trafficking. Things like socks, winter coats, clothing and blankets.

"This initiative has the opportunity to change the path of a victim's life," says Dr. Arne Graff, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Child and Family Advocacy Center. "Many of these items may seem minor, but to someone trying to escape sex trafficking, they may be necessary for survival. When victims are rescued, they often don't have any belongings except the clothes on their back. By offering support with these gifts, it allows victims to feel a sense of hope and to potentially become a survivor."

"The Link greatly appreciates Mayo Clinic stepping forward to lead a gift drive to help us provide essential items to help youth transition out of a life of sexual exploitation and into safety and healing," Holger-Ambrose said. "We feel incredibly inspired and thankful for their support of the anti-trafficking field."

RELATED: Sex Trafficking Numbers Nearly Double as Law Enforcement Becomes More Aware of the Issue

KSTP has reported on the connection between large-scale events, like the super bowl, and sex trafficking, but it's more common than you think.

"It happens every day in every community," Holger-Ambrose said. "And so whether you are in rural Minnesota, the suburbs or the city, sex trafficking is a real issue that happens and affects a lot of people."

The Link also just began the "I Am Priceless" campaign aimed at keeping young people from becoming sexually exploited.

Credits

Kevin Doran

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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