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Effort to help sex trafficking survivors a "huge success"

FARGO — A recent effort to raise awareness and funds to help local victims of sex trafficking is being called "a huge success."

Organizers for "Purses for a Purpose" say more than $12,000 was raised (including the $3,000 match from Modern Woodmen, an insurance agency in Moorhead) at the group's Jan. 12 fundraiser event at Atonement Church in Fargo. People donated more than 300 purses which will be given to sex trafficking survivors. The bags are packed with other donated items including gift cards to Walmart or Casey's General Store, feminine hygiene products, small hair brushes, a travel size hair spray and lotion, chapstick, gum or mints and a wood cross with notes of encouragement from Scripture.

Event organizer Lisa Hanson and founder of the hosting organization Next Step N.D., said in a Jan. 11 Forum article that the purses aren't a survival kit, but help women moving on from the past by giving them a new direction and a chance to get back on their feet.

"We have to raise awareness because a lot of people contact me and they really don't believe it's here in Fargo. It's just seen as a global issue," Hanson said in the article.

However, In 2016, one online classified advertising website had 72,000 posts offering sex with women and children in North Dakota.

Another event is being planned for January 2019. More information can be found at