RAPID CITY, S.D. — Kelly Patterson, a sex trafficking survivor herself, is the Founder and Executive Director of the newly formed nonprofit Treasured Lives, an anti-trafficking organization based out of Rapid City that provides a safe environment for survivors of any form of sexual trauma, with specific focus on survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and sex trafficking.
They are survivor-led and survivor-focused. They provide advocacy, education, crisis care, peer mentoring, and support groups along with a variety of other survivor needs. The group is always looking for advocate volunteers, donors, and anyone willing to give to time and talents to help the victims.
Patterson says, “One of the first things that many of them need is about three months of nothing but sleep, someone taking care of them, someone cooking, taking care of their medical needs, getting them set with trauma counselors, you know, all those kinds of things.”
This Saturday, they are hosting a fundraiser with Bazzel Baz as the headliner; he’s a public speaker on human trafficking and also the founder of The Association For The Recovery of Children, a former CIA Officer, Actor, Author, Anti-Terrorism Consultant, and Former US Marine counter-terrorism Officer.
Baz was working on certain trafficking efforts in South Dakota recovering trafficked children when Patterson made the connection with him and invited him to speak on his efforts, passion and personal stories.
Patterson says, “I’m just so excited to have him here, because he is the real deal – this is someone who has been working in this field, rescuing children, which is a passion of mine, to take children out of something so horrendous- so he brings with him a very unique perspective.”
The money raised at the event will provide funding to go toward building a safe house to be one day be built in the state for survivors of sex trafficking and their children.
Patterson encourages anyone to attend the fundraiser as an educational take away, to learn what to look for and to be aware that trafficking happens in our own backyard. She emphasizes that anyone can be a part of the solution on some level.
“That our eyes are open, that we understand how real this problem is in the Midwest, this it is not just a big city problem that is is happening here, it is happening around us in virtually every county in the state,” adds Patterson.
Patterson’s book from Trafficked to Treasured will also be for sale at the event, which Patterson says is in the works to be made into a movie.
Patterson adds that the event would be recommended for anyone 12 and older. There is an option for a regular ticket, an online ticket, or a VIP experience.
Click here for ticket information.
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