Lifestyle

Lynch Foundation for Children holds fundraising gala

Hundreds of San Diego’s most prominent business, political and philanthropic leaders gathered together on May 11 at The Abbey in downtown San Diego to raise funds and awareness to fight child sex trafficking through the Lynch Foundation for Children, which was founded by longtime Rancho Santa Fe resident Bill Lynch. The event was sponsored by Sycuan and Hornblower Cruises and Events, and was emceed by Lee Ann Kim, former Channel 10 news anchor and founder of the Pacific Arts Movement.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Chief Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan served as Honorary Chairs of the evening and were joined by Senator Toni Atkins, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, Sheriff Bill Gore, San Diego City Councilmember Lorie Zapf, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott, San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond and many other respected dignitaries across the region all working to fight this growing crisis.

The evening included live and silent auctions, a video presentation of The Lynch Project, and a special performance from Point Loma Nazarene University’s kNOw MORE. Also, in attendance were several sex trafficking survivors and their families, many of whom have dedicated their lives to helping others victimized by the sex trafficking business.

“We are honored to have sponsored the first-ever Lynch Foundation for Children event as preventing child sex trafficking is a cause of utmost importance and the collaborative work the Foundation does with the national and local law enforcement, and various groups is one to recognize and be proud of,” said Cody J. Martinez, tribal chairman to the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

A record amount was raised to aid the Lynch Foundation’s efforts to fight child sex trafficking through a three-pronged prevention approach. This includes (1) education programs via kNOw MORE and PROTECT, (2) legislative reform via the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego, and (3) assisting in locating runaway children via Saved in America.

According to a study released last year by the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University, the sex trafficking industry has grown to become an $810 million a year industry in San Diego County. There are over 8,000 victims/survivors per year, and 16 is the average age of entry into child commercial sexual exploitation. Though all 20 of the San Diego County high schools studied reported recruitment was occurring in their schools, California curriculum hardly touches on the topic.

For more information on the Lynch Foundation for Children, visit www.lynchfoundationforchildren.org.

--Submitted press release

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