Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chamber Members Hear Report on Human Trafficking

Darrell Weaver, center above, visits with Sallisaw Police Chief Terry Franklin, left, and Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart, right, after speaking at the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday at Carl Albert State College, Sallisaw. Weaver is director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. He spoke on human trafficking crimes at the luncheon, and related that because Oklahoma is at the center of the country, with access by interstate highways, human trafficking is present in the state. He described human trafficking as "A seedy underworld." Weaver explained that young girls as well as older women are targets of this underworld. Traffickers target girls and boys, women and men who declare themselves as alone and unloved, and tempt them into traps with gifts and declarations of love. Weaver said those who want to help may do so through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs and the Boys and Girls Clubs by mentoring young people in need of friendship and encouragement. Lockhart and Franklin both said their DARE and School Resource Officer programs also identify those children in need of help and support.

Chamber President Gary Winton reminded members of the Oklahoma PRIDE Training which will be offered from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 6, and the approaching holiday events which include the Shop Sallisaw campaign, the Christmas lighting, Christmas parade and Christmas Open House events. He also reminded members that Bill and Joan Brown, of Bill Brown Tire Company, will be honored at 11:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in their place of business at the corner of Cherokee and Wheeler in Sallisaw. The Browns recently retired after 50 years of business. By Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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