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Human trafficking is one of those evil things that happen in other communities. Certainly not here.

That might be a common line of thought. It's the type of thing that, for many people, is out of sight, out of mind. Unfortunately, it's a form of modern-day slavery that is a problem everywhere.

It involves exploiting people, often youths, for labor or sex.

This week, we reported on a local youth organization that is working to empower girls and prevent them from being exploited.

The local Z-Club, a Zonta program aimed at giving useful skills to high school girls, held Girl Empowerment Day on Saturday. The event served as education and awareness about human trafficking — but also education ranging from self-care and protection strategies to entrepreneurship.

Cole County Sheriff's Department officers and Cole County EMS members also took part Saturday, and Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin joined in the activities.

Proceeds from the event's registration fees and other fundraising — hopefully $800-$900 — will be donated to the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition.

"Our thinking behind Girl Empowerment Day was if we teach these girls to be empowered and to defend themselves, then they won't be as easily led into dangerous lifestyles" where they might be exploited, Z-Club President Logan Huckstep said.

We love to see instances of area youths empowering themselves and bettering their community through their initiative and their willingness to educate themselves, especially during their summer break.

News Tribune

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