IMG_3043 (1)A top California newspaper just published a detailed news story about sex trafficking and my most recent book signing event for The Black Lens novel.

The Mercury News covered “Hope in the Darkness,” a unique event organized by Saratoga Federated Church’s human trafficking task force. The event took place on Jan. 29 and drew more than 150 participants who heard from the following speakers:

  • Christopher Stollar, author of The Black Lens novel
  • Jill Ranes, a survivor of trafficking and founder of the Out of Egypt Network
  • Brian Wo, co-founder of the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition

“This is a state, local and international problem,” said Saratogan Laurel Perusa, who is part of the human trafficking task force at Saratoga Federated Church. “I think it’s very important that Saratogans have their eyes opened to this brutal issue.”

The issue of human trafficking hit home for Saratogans in November 2015, according to The Mercury News. That’s when three San Jose residents were arrested for smuggling people from Spain to work in the South Bay, including at a restaurant and hair salon in Saratoga.

To help combat this issue, “Hope in the Darkness” also raised funds for The Nest, a safe house located in the South Bay and managed by Advent Group Ministries. The Nest serves female victims who have been rescued from commercial sexual exploitation.

“Human trafficking is a horrid issue, and it’s sad to say it is in every community in our country and around the world,” Perusa said. “It is vital to raise awareness.”

Learn more about the event here. You can also watch the full video on Vimeo, including a powerful song written by my brother, Garrett Stollar, an upcoming musician who was inspired by The Black Lens novel.