By: Duane Blankenship | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: August 2014
The Demand Project co-founders Kristin and Jason Weis with Indy.
In 2004, Jason and Kristin Weis were living in “the perfect world” when a headline story gripped their hearts and changed their lives. The horrific report, unfortunately, tells the story of too many children in our country.
A father had raped his three-year-old daughter, videotaped his brutal crime and downloaded it onto the Internet. The devastating act attracted thousands of people who logged on to watch.
At that monumental moment, Jason and Kristin asked, “How can we continue our safe life when so many children are living this type torture?” They then dedicated their lives to eradicating child sexual exploitation and received training to fight a battle for freedom for sexually abused children.
Jason and Kristin co-founded The Demand Project with a mission to direct efforts, resources and energy toward eradicating sexual exploitation of children. Whether victims of trafficking, forced prostitution, online enticement, or child pornography, their mission is to end all sex crimes by targeting the demand (predator) side of sexual exploitation.
The couple’s organization works with, and in support of, ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children), a federal program under the jurisdiction of the OSBI. They work with OBN (Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics) by providing financial support and manpower. They support the Tulsa Police Department and have provided them with a high-definition camera and microphone to use when performing on-site interviews. The Demand Project assists Homeland Security by working to investigate and prosecute online predator and human trafficking cases.
The four principle areas under which The Demand Project concentrates are prevention, prosecution, rescue and restoration.
Prevention: to be in readiness. The Demand Project educates, equips and empowers the community on how to stay safe against child predators seeking to harm children. They do so by providing in-depth presentations, giving insights on how predators operate, how to keep our children safe online, and how to stay educated on technological trends.
Prosecution: the process of pursuing formal charges against an offender to final judgment. The Demand Project supports efforts of law enforcement’s key role in stopping child predators, protecting children and rescuing victims. “We have strategic relationships with law enforcement agencies that target child predators and individuals who commercially traffick people against their will,” says Jason.
Rescue: to free from confinement, danger or evil. The Demand Project has built relationships between VAST (Victim Advocate Support Teams) and key law enforcement agents across Oklahoma to assist in the rescue of trafficked victims.
Restoration: to bring back into existence. “Rescuing a victim from sexual exploitation is only the beginning of an extensive process for a victim to become a survivor,” said Kristin. “Donated community resources are imperative to successful survivor recovery once they transition out of a shelter and reintegrate into the community. We educate, find transitional housing, and teach victims a trade.”
If you are interested in becoming a supporter of The Demand Project, please join them for the Night Light Walk & 5K Glow Run on Friday, September 12, at River Walk Crossing in Jenks. The celebration is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. You will have the opportunity to learn more about what The Demand Project has done and is doing, and how the community can get involved. Register online at www.thedemandproject.org. Adult walk registration is $25; run is $35; free registration for kids 12 and under. After the run enjoy a kids’ carnival, Turtle Derby (BYOT!), Canine Super Hero Costume Contest, and Dance Contest with an ’80s cover band. Prize awarded to the brightest, glowing dancer.
For more information, contact
Duane Blankenship has spent his professional career in advertising and enjoyed nearly 30 years of employment with Cities Service Oil Company, Lowrance Electronics, and Zebco. He has been self-employed for nearly 20 years, producing advertising projects for clients in northeastern Oklahoma and from Washington State to Florida. His hobbies over the years have included multiple sports, hunting and fishing, boating, bicycling, horses and creating fine art pencil drawings. Duane has written nearly 800 business-related stories for Value News since 2005. He has an outgoing personality, enjoys meeting people and making new friends. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married 48 years. Both claim to be semi-retired, but enjoy remaining "plugged in" to their respective professions. They are both active in their community and church.