Celebration of Women in the Arts coordinator Trine Bietz holds “Ever Vigilant” by Erin O’Neil, which will be auctioned at the Soroptomist’s fundraiser. Photo by Marshall Smith
Soroptimist International of Idyllwild presents “Celebration of Women in the Arts.” This event is geared to raise money to fight human trafficking, one of the key missions of the international organization. A centerpiece of the event is a silent auction of art pieces contributed by local women artists. All proceeds from the auction and the $15 admission tickets will benefit the organization’s Campaign to Stop Human Trafficking.

The evening of art, music and information will be held at the Mile High Café at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15.

Local entertainers Phyllis Curington-Brown, Barbara Rayliss and Jamie Olsen will perform as will Café owner and concert pianist Nam Park. The evening includes hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar.

Local Soroptimist Marge Muir, tapped to emcee the event, stressed that only 50 tickets will be available.

Trine Bietz, art coordinator for the auction, expects to receive auction art pieces from local women artists, Mallory Cremin, Jessica Schiffman, Trish Tuley, Sabrina Verney, Trine Bietz, Rachel Welch, Trudy Levy, Marcia Cox, Joann Tomsche, Katrina Hesse Little, Mari Barnum, Betty Anderson, Laurel Meskimen, Halie Johnson and Erin O’Neil.

Tickets are on sale at the Town Crier, BBVA Compass Bank and Muir’s Mountain Realty.

Soroptimists International launched a project to create awareness about this pervasive but often hidden scourge in 2007, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. In January 2008 the organization held the first National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness.

Each year, an estimated 800,000 women and children are trafficked across international borders with unknown numbers trafficked within countries. Available statistics show the migratory trafficking patterns flow from Asia westward, from poorer nations to richer ones where clients, from all socio-economic strata, pay to use or “own” these women and children. The U.N. report notes that the strongest factor aiding the proliferation of sex trafficking is a widely held belief in countries where trafficking originates that women and girls are expendable.

Soroptimists International believes that spreading awareness about the pervasiveness of this kind of slavery and indentured servitude will help eliminate it. That is why the Idyllwild chapter is holding this event. Trine Bietz and Mary Morse will show a power point presentation about trafficking to help increase awareness about this abusive multi-billion dollar business.

The U.S. Department of State noted in a 2005 report, “Trafficking is an abuse of physical and mental integrity, security of the person, freedom of movements, and privacy. Trafficking violates the universal human right to life, liberty and freedom from slavery.” An October 2007 California State Attorney General’s report states: “California is a top destination for human traffickers. … The link between human trafficking and other criminal activities such as human smuggling, drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime, increases the potential for other violent crimes.”