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Visitors walk through the Apathy Effect Exhibit that focuses on awareness of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

A traveling exhibit that uses photography, video and artifacts to raise awareness about human trafficking and sexual exploitation is coming to La Sierra University this month.

The Apathy Effect Exhibit, created by nonprofit iEmpathize and sponsored by the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), is a free event Jan. 13-14.

La Sierra University’s Troesh Conference Center at the Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business will host the exhibit. Participants will take a guided or self-guided tour and immerse themselves in stories of resilient young survivors of human trafficking from around the world.

“Seeing and hearing these survivor stories is impactful,” said DPSS Managing Director Sayori Baldwin. “You leave the exhibit with eyes opened and feel empowered to help your community.”

DPSS Children’s Services includes the Commercially Sexually Exploited Children program (CSEC). Last year the program handled nearly 200 cases involving human trafficking victims or those at risk. Nearly 70 percent of the cases involved youth ages 16 to 21, particularly girls, who are in the foster care system.

“This is a concern right in our own backyard,” said Professor Lowell Smith, Chair of the Criminal Justice Department at La Sierra University. “College students, teenagers and kids need the tools to spot and fight sex trafficking. This exhibit provides exactly that.”

The Apathy Effect Exhibit features twelve free-standing panels of 23 fine art photographs, eleven artifacts and multiple short films. Following the exhibit tour, participants will discuss their connection to the issue and how they can take action. Visitors can also connect with more than a dozen community partners, such as Operation Safehouse and Safe Family Justice Centers, who offer programs and services to help protect vulnerable youth.

“Community partnership has been a critical component in helping survivors begin their path of healing,” said Norma Vasquez, Anti-Human Trafficking Director with Safehouse of the Desert. “As a victim service provider, SafeHouse has learned to walk with our survivors on a journey that leads to self-sufficiency.”

If you’d like to tour the exhibit, registration is encouraged at apathyeffect.com but walk-in tours are accepted. Tours are available every 30 minutes. Parking and entry into the exhibit are free. Exhibit location and times are as follows:

Monday Jan. 13 – 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Tuesday Jan. 14 -- 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

La Sierra University

Troesh Conference Center at the Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business

4500 Riverwalk Pkwy, Riverside.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. To report suspected human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888. To report suspected child abuse, call DPSS’ 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 442-4918.

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