Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

April 22, 2013

Safer kids idea behind forum

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — A forum coming to Garvin County is meant to educate the public about the nightmarish scenario of human trafficking and the impact it has right here at home.

An eye-opening fact is Garvin County ranks number two in Oklahoma behind only the city of Tulsa in the cases of human trafficking reported, says one person involved in bringing the planned gathering to the Lindsay area church she attends.

Registration begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 27 as the forum, which includes a meal, is scheduled to go through 3 p.m. at Erin Springs Baptist Church, which is located just south of Lindsay.

“I want people to wake up,” said Davon Spivey of Lindsay. “I had no clue. When I was told Garvin County was number two in the state it just knocked me down.

“We live such sheltered lives. We don’t think about all of this stuff happening where we live. We just stick our head in the sand.”

Spivey said authorities believe the county’s location with a major interstate traveling through it contributes to the high number of cases here.

Even more horrifying is victims are typically children with some as young as 4 years old.

In some cases young girls wind up being victims when it’s later learned the person they thought they were texting turned out to be a predator involved in the business of human trafficking.

The surprising facts about the issue is what convinced church members to get the free forum here as they want the general public to know more about ways to keep kids from being a victim.

“We’re trying to educate people on the dangers and how to protect yourself from being a victim,” Spivey said.

“We want to educate people on what to look for and how you can try to help,” she said. “We felt like this was something people in Garvin County didn’t think about.

“If we could just save one person from being a victim.”

State Rep. Lisa Billy is scheduled to speak and give a video presentation.

Also slated to speak are a federal law enforcement official and Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes.

Spivey added the Baptist Convention of Oklahoma has a task force that works with law enforcement on human trafficking cases.

It has a catch phrase — Stop Trafficking in Oklahoma Through Prayer, she said.