In the last two months, three powerful men—billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, R&B singer/songwriter R. Kelly, and megachurch founder Naasón Joaquín García—have been arrested and charged with various crimes surrounding the sexual abuse, creation or possession of child pornography, and trafficking of minors.
“I deserve to be loved. You deserve to be loved.”
- Jacquelynn Loos, Survivor, REST Outreach Coordinator
We at REST wholeheartedly believe this about every survivor of sexual exploitation, every REST friend and supporter—and you.
In April of 2018, the federal government seized and shut down Backpage. In a blog earlier this year, we wrote about the unintended consequences of the shutdown—and among them was a resurgence in sex trade activity on the streets.
That’s why we recently relaunched our Street Outreach Team.
Today, by mayoral proclamation, is Be More Kind Day in Seattle—and we are excited to be celebrating kindness along with local businesses, organizations, and individuals.
Today in Seattle, local media outlets are collaborating on a project called Day of Homelessness, focusing on the homelessness crisis in our city. It has been a little over a two and a half years since a state of emergency on homelessness was declared in Seattle and King County. As of January, it is estimated that there were over 12,100 people experiencing homelessness in King County—and just over 2,200 shelter beds.
Before its shutdown, Backpage was estimated to account for 80% of the sex trade in the US. In the anti-trafficking movement, there was cause for celebration that Backpage and other website providers could be held accountable for their role in facilitating sex trafficking. At the same time here at REST, however, we have seen an influx of individuals seeking help because of unintended consequences from the shutdown of these sites.
Every single person, no matter their past, present, or future, is wholly worthy of love.
We stand firmly in that belief at REST. It is why we do what we do; because we believe that each man, woman, boy, and girl that has experienced sexual exploitation is worthy of love.
Every year, as we draw near to the Super Bowl, news cycles and our social media feeds see an increase in articles about sex trafficking. If you look at Google Trends for the terms “sex trafficking” and “human trafficking”, you’ll see searches for those terms take a sharp uptick in late January and February.
Every single person is worthy of love.
That is the belief that drives our work at REST, and that was the theme of the evening at our fifth annual A Night of REST fundraising gala on Saturday, November 11.
There is a lot of talk in recent years about the rise of “slacktivism.” As social media has grown and become an awareness-raising machine, this idea of “slacktivism” has emerged. In short, it is being willing to post/share/comment/like—but be unengaged otherwise. Slacktivism is talking big game about your feelings about issues—but ultimately doing nothing. It is akin to a boat that is ashore. It has potential, but it needs to be brought back into the water to really make the difference that it was intended to.