How We Came to Be

Most of the charter members of Giving Connection are also members of Dining for Women, a national giving circle raising funds to support projects for women and girls in third world countries. At the July 2012 meeting, one member gave a presentation on sex trafficking in Cambodia. This member, a child advocacy attorney, had two clients who were survivors of local Portland child sex trafficking.

Shocked to learn that this was happening in our community, we started thinking about what we could do to help.

At that point in time, agencies in Multnomah County were undergoing a huge change in the way they viewed and treated the children involved in sex trafficking:  treating them as victims rather than criminals. This was the first time advocacy groups and law enforcement were working together offering joint services to promote recovery for the child survivors.

We contacted the county CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) collaboration network, which brings together everyone who works with the victims of sex trafficking: county and non-profit organizations, mental health workers, police officers, attorneys and state and federal level district attorneys. Each organization has special units dedicated to working specifically with this population. This collaborative structure has become a model for the nation.

This network needed volunteers to coordinate donations from community groups to the involved agencies. It sounded like a great fit for us.  

“Learning about the extent of sex trafficking of children here in the Portland area really blew my mind. When I moved here four years ago, I had no idea that anything like this was going on in this community, let alone that we were known as a “hub”. And to be honest, the information haunted me. Once you know this is happening to OUR neighborhood kids, it is really difficult to ignore the situation. I felt compelled to help in some way and reached out to some of my friends. Giving Connection was born out of our desire to educate the community and get more people involved in supporting the survivors and the agencies that work with them.”
— Robin (Giving Connection Member)