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Car Show Provides Platform For Sex Trafficking Awareness

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A Perham church is raising awareness of sex trafficking, a growing problem both abroad and closer to home.

They're using cheap burgers -- classic cars and a special guest all the way from Thailand to get the message out.

"We wanted to go back in time," says Northwood Assembly pastor Dirk Currier.

This year's theme of Hot Rod Sunday is "Happier Days" when cars were fast and hamburgers were 15 cents.

"Some of the older folks can maybe bring some of the grandkids through and say "you know I remember what it use to be like, used to be for 15 cents"," says Currier.

To help jog a few memories, Northwood Assembly cooked up the burgers, hot dogs, fries and root beer floats for that price. The mix of classic cars and food bringing hundreds of people to the church grounds, the perfect opportunity to spread the word about a problem the church has been addressing for over 6 years now.

"We wanted to take that and use it as a platform to bring awareness to human trafficking specifically child trafficking," says Currier.

Giving perspective to the problem: Jeremy Kraus, who is battling the sex trafficking industry in what some call the capital of sex tourism, Pattaya, Thailand.

"We thought you know what, lets go there first, let's begin to attack this thing at the root," says Jeremy Kraus.

Kraus is the co-founder of Thrive Rescue Home in Thailand, working to prevent trafficking, rescue sex workers and rehabilitate them. Making his way back to the states today with this acknowledgement.

"It's not just a Thai thing, it's a world thing right now. There's about 28.5 million slaves in the world today which is more than ever before in history," says Kraus.

Some of those human and sex trafficking cases in our own backyards of North Dakota and Minnesota, recently prompting increased law enforcement and government legislation.

"80 percent of human trafficking involves local women. Our own girls," says U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

"A town 20 minutes from here that they were able to rescue about 3 to 4 kids that were on their way to being trafficked," says Currier.

Why both Currier and Krause say talking about the problem even in small town america makes an impact.

"It Causes these young people to think alittle bit more, maybe to be open alittle bit more with their parents or any adult friends that they have and saying hey what do you think about this. And if we can just stop one girl from being trafficked, it's worth it," says Kraus.

This was Northwood Assembly's 14th annual Hot Rod Sunday.

Brian Abel
Brian joined WDAZ in October of 2014, after reporting and anchoring at WDAY in Fargo since October 2013. He currently co-anchors the 6 and 10pm WDAZ News weekdays, and co-anchors the Saturday 6 and 10pm WDAY/WDAZ simulcast news. He was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Journalism. Brian has traveled across the country as a spokesperson for the automotive industry. He has also lived in Los Angeles, working in entertainment before pursuing his career in broadcasting. It’s experiences like these that give him a unique perspective when reporting. Brian is a Michigan Wolverines fan with an avid interest in politics and golf.  He is thrilled to be sharing stories with the Greater Grand Forks community working at WDAZ and looks forward to hearing any of your comments, concerns and story ideas.