Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp collects donations for the Pledge to Stop Human Trafficking event in Fresno last month. Photo by Donald A. Promnitz

published on January 16, 2019 - 1:51 PM
Written by Donald A. Promnitz

Activists, survivors and public officials braved the cold and the rain to collect donations as part of the Pledge to Stop Human Trafficking event.

The fundraising effort, which started at Lifestyle Furniture and Blackstone and Shaw avenues yesterday, ran from 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and went to aid nonprofit organizations combating human trafficking in the Central Valley, such as Beauty for Ashes, Breaking the Chains, Mollie’s House, the Fresno Police Chaplaincy and the Central Valley Justice Coalition.

A total of about $3,500 in donations was raised.

Debra Rush, the founder of Breaking the Chains and a survivor of human trafficking, said that her experience was the primary motivator in her day-long effort to raise both money and awareness.

“For me, it means that individuals can be free,” Rush said. “And not only can they be free, but they will have the resources, the partnerships, the support, and the place that they need to go to be safe.”

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp was also at the fundraiser and press conference.

“And they don’t all come through the criminal justice system,” Smittcamp said of the victims of trafficking. “The police department doesn’t get all of them, the DA’s office doesn’t get all of them and that’s why… we have to rely on our nonprofits and we have to rely on our faith-based community.”

After speaking, Smittcamp joined the effort to collect donations from drivers.

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