Tulsa Couple Recognized For Fighting Against Child Sex Trade
TULSA, Oklahoma - Every year, 100,000 American children are sexually exploited; either forced into prostitution or made to participate in child pornography.
That's the equivalent to every single citizen of Broken Arrow being controlled, manipulated and abused in a year's time.
The child sex trade is a demand and supply business, so a Green Country couple created a group to go after the demand side, targeting the predators.
They've been so successful that Congressman Jim Bridenstine honored them with a Spotlight Award Monday.
Jason and Kristin Weis were an average couple sitting at home watching the news, when they saw a story about a man who sexually abused his daughter, videotaped it and put it on the Internet.
The story talked about how many people logged on to watch the assault.
"They weren't logging on to help stop the act; they were actually watching the act for pleasure,” Kristin said.
That moment changed their lives, as they made it their mission to catch predators and help victims.
They created a non-profit group called The Demand Project and work with officers as they raid places of forced prostitution and child porn rings.
They go along to rescue victims of the sex trade and help the victims get housing, jobs and whatever else they need to get back on their feet.
"You've got to help them mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, psychologically, whatever they need to become successes,” Kristin said.
They also teach parents about the red flags to look for when their kids are talking to people online, and keep parents knowledgeable about the technology predators use to reach out to kids.
"And, kids need to understand not everybody they're talking to online is who they say they are,” said Jason.
Bridenstine presented the couple with a Spotlight Award for the work they're doing to stop the sexual exploitation of children and to be a safe haven for those who have been used and abused.
The couple said they certainly don't do it alone.
"There's no way for us to do any of this without community support,” said Jason.
He and his wife moved to Oklahoma from Colorado in 2006, and, in addition to their work with The Demand Project, Jason was recently sworn in as a Jenks Police officer.