Christy’s Cause, a non-profit working to eradicate child sex trafficking through education, public awareness, restoration projects, and justice initiatives, has received a $8,875 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

The grant will fund the airing of “John’s Story,” a public service announcement (PSA) created to bring awareness to and open dialogue about minor male victims of sex trafficking in Southwest Florida and to direct viewers to The National Human Trafficking Hotline and The Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline to report suspected child sex trafficking.

“John’s Story” is based on the experiences of Laurie Sammons, a nationally-known educator, author and speaker, who knew John, a young man who had been sexually abused from age 4-16.  John’s Story is a 60 second PSA told through the voice of “John” that recounts his harrowing journey through sexual abuse and trafficking.

“Christy’s Cause is doing very difficult and important work in our community, fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves,” said Monette Everett, District Manager, Wells Fargo. “We are extremely proud to support their efforts.”

“This grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation will help us shed a light on this situation and open up a conversation in Southwest Florida in hopes of creating an environment where male victims can reach out for help,” said Christy Ivie, founder of Christy’s Cause.

The US Department of State recently stated that, “Too often men and boys go unidentified and remain in perilous situations, and when they do escape trafficking situations, there are a lack of programs established to assist male victims. Less than 1% of human trafficking victims are ever identified.”

“Regularly we learn of young boys being sexually abused, however they remain very hesitant to alert the authorities,” said Francie Donnorummo, Special Victims Unit Chief, Office of the State Attorney, 20th Judicial District.  “We understand this at my office and take all sexual abuse allegations from young boys very seriously and have an awareness that male sexual abuse is under reported and occasionally under estimated.”

The PSA and behind the scenes video is be available at www.christyscause.com, YouTube and social media networks.  The PSA will be aired on Comcast networks targeting a younger audience. It was created by Old Sparky Productions.

To report information or suspicious activity call The National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “info” or “help” to 233733.  The toll-free hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year in more than 200 languages.

The  Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline is available to professionally-mandated reporters, as well as the general public, as an additional avenue to report suspected cases of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or exploitation of children or vulnerable adults.  Call 1-800-96-ABUSE.