To donate, visit http://calledtorescue.org
Cyndi Romine’s life changed on vacation in the Philippines in 1989.
She and her husband were on board an outrigger canoe when she saw something peculiar happening on the riverbank: A Caucasian man handed money to a man and woman. Out from behind the woman’s skirt came a 3- or 4-year-old girl.
The man took the girl into the water, played with her and then took her to the shore, where Romine watched him rape her.
“It was horrendous,” she said.
Romine then learned more about the child sex trafficking trade in the Southeast Asian country — military children living on the streets and being sold for sex. It propelled her to start her Vancouver nonprofit organization, Called to Rescue, in 1992.
Though her efforts initially focused on child prostitution internationally, Romine turned her lens to the United States and, locally, to the Vancouver-Portland area in 2008.
Now, Called to Rescue has lofty plans for Clark County: A series of safe houses for rescued girls.