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REEDSPORT -- With the dangers of online predators and human trafficking ever present, awareness and education are key. The Douglas County Human Trafficking Task Force and Reedsport Aglow are hosting an awareness event for the community to make themselves more aware.

The event will be Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. in the Reedsport Community Building -- 451 Winchester Ave. Detective Kevin Taggart, of the Myrtle Creek Police Department, will discuss teens, human trafficking, and online predators. According to Marion Kotowski, a coordinator and trainer with DCHTTF, the event will specifically focus on local methods of trafficking for labor and sex, local recruitment, familial trafficking, and the risk factors facing the county's youth.

Taggart will discuss what human trafficking is and what it isn't, and the common ways it's carried out in Douglas County, both inland and on the coast. He will also discuss the area's high risk groups and red flags to watch for when interacting with someone. Kotowski noted they will give names and show pictures of people who have been arrested as child predators and traffickers arrested throughout the state, as well as telling local stories of youths who have been trafficked. No victims or graphic imagery will be shown during the presentation.

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"We will also be providing response options appropriate for the coastal regions and awareness flyers for the area," said Kotowski. "We will provide teen focused hand-outs for attendees as well as flyers meant to reach victims and provide resources."

They will also have information about continuing anti-trafficking efforts locally, including getting middle and high school educators free training -- the training would be funded by a grant from Zonta International. The Task Force can also bring survivor speakers to schools.

The event is free and community members of all ages are welcome to attend, though the content may not be suitable for children under the age of 12 and parents are advised to use their discretion.

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Reporter Adam Robertson can be reached at 541-297-3590, or by email at adam.robertson@theworldlink.com.

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