Kappa Psi Epsilon sorority to host fourth annual benefit concert Thursday

Elizabeth DeCicco

In attempt to spread awareness of the local human trafficking crime, Filipino-based Kappa Psi Epsilon sorority will be hosting their fourth annual benefit concert event on Thursday , featuring speakers from local outreach organizations and a variety of live talent performances.

The concert will be held in the University Union Redwood Room from 6-9 p.m. with performances that include Bryle Tayag, Makamae Melia O’Polynesia, Desiree Pineda and the Bellamaries, Greyspace, Salvin Chahal and Venice Santos.

Human trafficking is considered a form of modern-day slavery. Victims that can include women, and children from any background and are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex or forced labor.

“We want to do things to better the community,” said Alreeze Crystal Mercado, community action co-chair and junior biological sciences major.

Guest speakers from locally founded groups, The Grace Network and Opening Doors Inc., will discuss the human trafficking crisis that has made the Sacramento region its “hot spot”.

“What we’re hoping to accomplish is to mobilize people to combat human trafficking,” said Chris Stambaugh, founder and director of the Grace Network. “We might be painting a picture for awareness, but it’s really more about giving them practical opportunities for them to get involved.

The Grace Network is a resource network that Stambaugh said, “tries to empower young people with the resources necessary to not live a life of exploitation.”

Kappa Psi Epsilon was founded on the symbolism of the Ka, an alibata symbol of the ancient Filipino culture that signifies the resistance to oppression and the struggle for freedom. It holds a passion of fighting against this crime.

“We found out that human trafficking was one of the high rates of industrial crimes and no one was paying attention to that,” Mercado said. “It’s not our philanthropy per say but it’s something we do on the side and what we’re passionate about,”

Sacramento was among 18 medium-sized U.S. cities identified by the FBI as a hub for human trafficking and is among the top cities experiencing an epidemic of child prostitution, according to Opening Doors Inc., a Sacramento refugee resettlement agency.

Traffickers are attracted to Sacramento’s immigrant population that is vulnerable to exploitation, the I-5 corridor located at the intersection of Interstate 80 and Highway 50, the gateway to the Central Valley.

“As we’re tabling, most people walk by and even if we try to stop them, they continue walking. [It seems] no one cares,” Mercado said.

The event is free but donations are encouraged.

Elizabeth DeCicco can be reached at [email protected]