Rescue Our Children event set

PIQUA — Rescue Our Children (R.O.C.), will offer an event at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Gazebo in downtown Piqua.

R.O.C. is the Piqua-based group behind Saturday’s demonstration against child trafficking and sexual abuse. Group founders and event organizers Misty Hinkle and Cathy Comolli-Miller are excited to see the support that will step forward for not just children in this area, but worldwide.

“To some people, this sudden awareness of child trafficking and sexual abuse seems as if it will just be another passing topic of social interest. However, we feel the time has finally come for eyes to be wide open to the dangers surrounding our children. The energy is there, people are taking note, now is the time to turn all this energy into action,” Comolli-Miller said.

Hinkle added, “From the event itself this weekend, to the group page that will be a regular presence on Facebook, we are looking to educate and motivate people to make an impact in the world. From the children in our homes and communities, to those across the state, Nation or world; we are raising an army and calling for action”

Comolli-Miller emphasized how critical next steps will be, looking beyond Saturday’s event.

“Saturday is huge. Getting people to show up, to get loud for children who have zero voice, to show a shared passion for the most vulnerable and innocent amongst us. But we must go beyond. We will try to engage everyone on the level of involvement that fits their life. Some folks aren’t going to do much beyond their own homes and that is OK. Just do something,” Comolli-Miller said.

The group’s Facebook page, Rescue Our Children, will continue to offer tips on talking to your children, how to identify signs of abuse or trafficking, and what influencers are out there attempting to sexualize children. There will also be a strong focus on writing and phoning local, state and national officials to demand significant increases in sentencing for those who victimize children.

“We want to see lengthened mandatory sentencing, a requirement for sentences to be served consecutively and not concurrently, and stricter penalties overall for those who seek to harm our children,” Comolli-Miller said. “Right now, the offenders are better protected legally than the victims. As a society we must declare that as an unacceptable situation and change it as soon as possible.”

Hinkle has completed courses and is continuing training so that she can help to educate the community.

“People don’t know just how insidious the threat to our children really is. There are children who are trafficked locally by family members that present it as part of a normal ‘loving’ relationship,” Hinkle said. “There are children who are being trafficked digitally, through pictures and videos, literally dozens of times a day. Ohio is fifth in our country — fifth — in child trafficking, and that is a terrifying fact.

“Piqua and our surrounding area are in such close proximity to I-75, not to mention the 75/70 interchange, that we are a great hunting ground for those who specialize in abduction and physical trafficking. Then you add in all the elements that work on sexualizing our children, and it is literally a situation that demands a rescue mission. And that is what we are here to do — Rescue Our Children,” Hinkle said.

“The world is in need of unification and this is the cause we can all stand behind. We refuse to let this become a politicized event. The cause is too big for that. Please, bring your families, make signs, raise your voice,” Hinkle said.