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Candlelight vigil to be held in memory of those lost to trafficking | News

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Phoenix Rising will hold a candlelight vigil to honor those who have been lost to trafficking.

Phoenix Rising, a nonprofit group, helps youths affected by human trafficking and exploitation. The group also works to help community members identify and respond to sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children.

Missy Cunningham, co-founder of Phoenix Rising, said it also works with a survivor network.

“We work with children who have been exploited or trafficked,” Cunningham said.

There are several children in the foster care system who have been exposed or exploited, Cunningham said. Phoenix Rising works mainly with groups in the Barren River region, but it also does work with groups in eastern Kentucky.

The candlelight vigil will start at 6 p.m. Monday. It will include an introduction to Phoenix Rising, a proclamation reading from City Commissioner Dana Beasley Brown designating that day as human trafficking awareness day in Bowling Green, lighting candles with a moment of silence, Cunningham said.

The event will be held outside City Hall and livestreamed on Facebook.

The group holds the event “to help people understand it is a problem, it is valid” and not just something that occurs overseas, Cunningham said.

Losing someone to trafficking does not just mean they died while being trafficked, Cunningham said. They can also have passed away due to mental or physical health issues from their time being trafficked.

“We have it to recognize those who have been lost in the past year,” Cunningham said.

Phoenix Rising doesn’t honor a specific person at this event due to privacy reasons.

“It’s just a matter of remembering them, we know who they are,” Cunningham said.

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