MEDFORD, Ore. — Sgt. Byron Fassett has been investigating child sex tracking crimes for the Dallas Police Department for more than 20 years. The thing that stands out to him is that the problem doesn’t stand out at all.
“It’s a problem that’s designed to blend into society and not to look like anything,” said Sgt. Fassett.
He was one of the guest speakers on hand during a daylong symposium about the topic.
“Prostitution or sex trafficking takes many forms. It’s not sex for money. It can be sex for a place to sleep, sex for food, sex for drugs,” said Sgt. Fassett.
Community members ranging from volunteers to law enforcement were on hand learning what they could about the problem impacting children. Caleb LaPlante volunteers his time for Abolish Child Trafficking and said it’s happened to children in the Rogue Valley and can be brought here as well.
“They’re not our youth, but they’re being brought up and down the I-5 corridor and sold in our valley every weekend via websites,” said LaPlante.
LaPlante said he works with survivors of trafficking and says those survivors are some of the biggest advocates for awareness.
“They have come back to a place of having survived being trafficked for 2, 4, 6 years being recovered and being on the road with families,” said LaPlante.
Sgt. Fassett knows trafficking is typically thought of as across borders, but says this problem is found from coast to coast.
“Trafficking affects every community. There’s not a community that I’ve seen that doesn’t have it,” said Sgt. Fassett.
Abolish Child Trafficking has monthly classes and documentary nights in both Jackson and Josephine counties.