Thursday, December 6, 2012

Elizabeth Smart To Come To Thurston County in January

Elizabeth Smart To Come To Thurston County in January

by Janine Unsoeld

Elizabeth Smart, Utah child abduction survivor, is scheduled to speak on Thursday, January 10, 2013, 7:00 p.m., at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey. 

Smart was taken from her bed in June of 2002 and rescued nine months later in a community 18 miles from her home.  Now married, Smart will share her story of survival and hope with others. 

The event is sponsored by the nine Rotary Clubs of Thurston County, in partnership with Capstone Investments, South Sound Bank, and the two area Zonta Clubs.

Elizabeth Smart will be joined by Olympia resident Rani Hong, the United Nations spokesperson for Human Trafficking, as they share an important message of hope and survival and urge the community to continue to protect children and others against exploitation and abuse. 

Elizabeth Smart knows what it is like to be a missing child. She knows how it feels to think that one false move may lead to her death or that of her family. In the wake of her ter­ri­ble expe­ri­ence, she estab­lished the Elizabeth Smart Foundation to prevent future crimes against children.

Rani Hong

Rani Hong is a survivor of child trafficking and one of the world’s leading voices in the fight against modern-day slavery.

At the age of seven, Rani was recruited into the slave trade in India. By age eight, her physical condition and emotional state were so dire that she was near death. No longer of any value to her slave owner, she was sold into illegal adoption. Rani was adopted into a stable American home in Washington State, where she began to find healing and a sense of personal freedom. She was finally reunited with her mother in 1999, and began her advocacy work against human trafficking.

Tickets for the Elizabeth Smart/Rani Hong event are available for sale online by visiting the website for The Community Foundation South Puget Sound at: Tickets cost $15 for students & seniors and $20 for general admission. Doors will open at 6:30 pm. 

Proceeds from this event will benefit local programs and The Tronie Foundation to support exploited and trafficked survivors in Southeast Asia.

Resource and Information Fair 

Prior to the evening program, area parents and law enforcement will participate in a Resource and Information Fair on Thursday, January 10th from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Saint Martin’s University Worthington Conference Center.  

Sponsored by the Olympia area Zonta clubs and WA Engage, the Resource and Information Fair will feature experts from the Washington State Patrol Missing and Exploited Children, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Rick Scott, lead investigator for the Lindsey Baum case in McCleary, Washington, and other leading experts will be available to speak about state of the art methods to keep children safe in an era of Facebook, Twitter, and internet relationships. 

Policy leaders and community activists will provide parents, educators, and policy leaders with information from more than forty organizations and agencies.

The afternoon fair is free to the public. Local law enforcement agencies will be on hand to offer fingerprinting and retina scans of children.