Original Publish Date: December 11, 2013
A buzz of excited chatter filled the softly lit ballroom as steam rose from hot dinner plates. It was the beginning of Awaken’s 2nd Annual Fundraiser Banquet Dinner. The room was packed out with an estimated 500 seats filled with supporters of our anti-trafficking movement.
There were stories and videos of those affected by sex trafficking sharing how devastating this issue has been in their lives. This solemn start set the tone for how serious this issue is, specifically in our own backyards. There were many recognitions and reminders that we as a state, as a city, as a society, have a long way to go on our battle to end sex trafficking. This is shown in the number of girls still being trafficked in Reno’s streets and the heartache of families that doesn’t always end when the victims abuse is over.
As the night went on a different theme emerged. It was one of victory, of hope, of recognizing and celebrating just how far we have come as a community. “Since it’s opening Awaken has helped over 100 women in the industry. Whether through life packs or giving them full housing, support was provided for victims in need”, said founder Melissa Holland “Now that is something worth celebrating”.
A former victim of trafficking spoke and commented on the unity of Reno, something she had never seen so strong in the anti sex trafficking movement. “When you have so many different people rallied around this issue you should just take it and run with it,” said the former victim.
It was a night full of the reality of sex trafficking in Reno. There was also joy in the accomplishments Awaken has seen God bless them with in just two years.