By: Deanna Rebro | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2011
Jason and Kristin Weis are working to put Tulsa on the map as a champion in the effort to stop child trafficking.
Wanted: 144 golfers who want to stop child trafficking now. On July 18, the nonprofit group of the same name will host its second annual golf tournament at the Golf Club of Oklahoma. The purpose of the tournament is to raise funds for operatives to infiltrate hot spots and the underground world of child sexual exploitations, gather information, and assist law enforcement officials in identifying, building cases against and convicting child predators in Oklahoma.
The operatives are highly trained, retired Navy SEALs, ex-Green Beret and ex-FBI who use the same strategies, principles and intelligence techniques that are used to track international terrorists.
Although there are many wonderful things about our city, there is also a dark side that cannot be ignored. Jason Weis, who directs the local chapter of Stop Child Trafficking Now (SCTNow), along with his wife Kristin, says Tulsa is one of the most attractive cities in the country for child trafficking and sexual predators, ranked tenth in the nation by the Justice Department.
Consider the high divorce rate, unemployment rate, gangs, organized crime, illegal immigration, meth labs, number of women incarcerated and the number of children in DHS custody due to substance abuse and domestic violence. Kids involved in any of these situations are considered “at risk” and vulnerable to predators who lure their victims under false pretenses into situations they cannot escape. An easily accessible interstate system that connects Tulsa with other major cities serves both commerce and illegal operations.
What makes matters even worse is the child sex industry is known to be low risk, produces high profit and has a big demand. According to Kristin, the numbers they have uncovered are very disturbing. A predator who sells children for pornography or sexual acts makes up to $200,000 a year. The average predator rapes 20 children in their lifetime. The number is closer to 100 for those who prey on boys only. They pay as little as $25 for 15 minutes of sex with a child. For the same money, a four-man team of operatives can be placed in the field to stop them. “This is a call to action,” says Kristin.
SCTNow is working to make Tulsa a model city for the national effort that began in 2008. There are over 260 organizations that focus on rescuing children. But the proactive approach of stopping criminals before they get started is a one-of-a-kind program in the nation. And Tulsa is on the frontlines.
In a newly formed partnership with the Tulsa Police Department and the Tulsa County Sheriff, certain law officials have free access to SCTNow’s national predator database. “We work with law enforcement agencies to help and support them,” says Jason. “We don’t try to do their jobs.”
Their database was developed to provide law enforcement a valuable resource in combating child sexual exploitation in their own community. They are currently working with various state, local and federal law enforcement agencies across the U.S. including Homeland Security. They have also recently began working with Facebook to go after child pornography and are beginning a key relationship with Microsoft.
In the near future, they hope to meet with Governor Mary Fallin to discuss how they can help across the state. But they need funds to keep the momentum going. SCTNow gets no tax money. They rely entirely on private donations. The golf tournament at Golf Club of Oklahoma in Broken Arrow is one of their biggest fundraisers.
The goal for this year’s tournament is $50,000. That’s 144 golfers on four-man teams. Thanks to generous corporate supporters, they have a long list of cash prizes and awards. Major sponsorships include QuikTrip, Don Thornton Cadillac, The Vintage Pearl, Dino’s Wheel & Tire, Citadel Intelligence, and Hampton Inn & Suites Tulsa South. There are also many items and gift cards donated for the live auction and silent auction the same day.
Plenty of opportunities are still available for sponsors, players and donors to put Tulsa on the map as a champion in the effort to stop child trafficking now. A golf tournament page is included on their website, www.sctnow.org. Also mark your calendar for the 3rd annual SCTNow National Walk on September 24, at the Riverwalk in Jenks.
For more information, contact Jason Weis at 918-346-2168.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.