San Diego-Based Cyber Patrol Volunteers Educate Would-Be Johns About The Realities Of Human Trafficking

“You calling about the ad?” a man’s deep voice inquired of the caller who had just rung.
The man at the other end hesitated, maybe because he expected to hear a woman’s voice answer the call, then responded: “Yeah.”
The ad he was calling about had been posted on Backpage.com on a recent Friday night. It didn’t say much — and it didn’t need to. Just a phone number and a photo of a half-naked woman.
But rather than setting up a sexual rendezvous with the half-naked woman, the caller got an earful from the man on the other end. Most of the women who advertised for sex were victims of human trafficking, the caller was told, and many were underage. 
“What now?” the caller responded, taken aback. Then he added: “Is Mark there?”
“Dude, I know you’re not calling for Mark,” the call-taker said.
“I think I have the wrong number.”
“I think you need to stay off Backpage.”
The exchange was one of 84 that night, part of an effort by a group of San Diego-based male volunteers to educate callers about the realities of human trafficking.
They call it the Bunch of Guys Cyber Patrol.
The fight against human trafficking has evolved significantly around the nation over recent years, with the most tangible efforts aimed at rescuing victims and prosecuting traffickers. Reducing demand for paid sex is a trickier proposition, one that takes a cultural shift and calls for a long-term commitment.
Public awareness campaigns are now common — in airports, at conventions, on freeway billboards — but the Cyber Patrol hopes it can be effective in another way: by appealing to individuals in a one-on-one conversation.
 

To read the full story or watch the video by Kristina Davis on LA Times: Click Here

Navajo Nation Takes Stance Against Human Trafficking

At the start of the Navajo Nation’s new winter legislative session, President Russell Begaye made it clear which issue sits high on the leadership’s agenda. Begaye signed a proclamation aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking in and around the border-towns of the sprawling reservation.

“We just want to announce and proclaim the month of January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month,” Begaye said as he assembled with other Navajo leaders outside council chambers.

In August, Begaye enacted a tribal council resolution to criminalize the sex slave trade within the reservation borders — what the International Labour Organization estimates is a $150 billion industry worldwide.

“(There’s a perception that) trafficking only happens in places like Asia, or Russia or Eastern Europe — places like that…but it does happen in the United States, and it does happen on Navajo Nation,” Begaye said.

To read the full story by Jenni Monet on Native News: Click Here

Attorney General’s Office Wants To Teach More People How To ID Human Trafficking

AUSTIN — It was a neighbor who saved Tonya Stafford’s life, she said.

The Dallas native, who spent about a decade trafficked for sex, shared her dark story and the key to her survival in a new training video released Thursday. State officials hope the video will educate and mobilize people across the state to spot potential cases of sex and labor trafficking.

“Human trafficking is very hard to detect,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office funded and unveiled the video before hundreds of people at the Austin Independent School District Performing Arts Center. “The evil of human trafficking is significant, but if it cannot endure under the might of Texans united behind one another.”

Paxton is requiring all 4,000 of his agency’s employees to watch the 52-minute video, titled “Be the One in the Fight Against Human Trafficking.”

The video features stories of two women who were trafficked as minors, as well as a group of neighbors in The Woodlands who noticed a constant stream of cars visiting a home down the block on a cul-de-sac where women were being trafficked for sex. Throughout the video are tips about how to identify potential sex and labor trafficking and urged viewers to report it.

To read the full story by Andrea Zelinski on Chron: Click Here

February 2018, Monthly Reflection

“In God’s will, there is great peace”

by Carol Davis, OP

Image: Stained Glass of St. Josephine Bakhita, Saint John Paul II Chapel, Mundelein | photo by Fr. Gaurav Shroff

The title of this reflection is a direct quote from Saint Josephine Bakhita, a courageous woman of faith who suffered brutality for years at the hands of her captors who enslaved her, who stole her from her loving family in the Sudan when she was just a child of somewhere around seven or nine. The terrors she suffered caused her to forget her name. She would eventually break free and become a Cannosian Sister in Italy. She died in 1947. Thousands came to pay their respects. She was officially recognized as a saint in 2000.

Watch this 3 minute video to learn more:

A group of women religious asked Pope Francis to raise greater awareness in the church about the issue of trafficking by establishing a worldwide day of prayer. When Pope Francis asked them for a suitable date, they suggested February 8th, the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita. This year, 2018, is the 4th worldwide day of prayer. It is a day to pray for an end to the scourge of human trafficking.

We know this: Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery—a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 20.9 million people around the world. And no matter where you live, chances are it’s happening nearby. From the girl forced into prostitution at a truck stop, to the man discovered in a restaurant kitchen, stripped of his passport and held against his will. All trafficking victims share one essential experience: the loss of freedom. Polaris Project

An Invitation

Take the month of February or the next 28 days if you read this later, to pray daily for eight minutes for an end to human trafficking. Pray for the victims, the survivors, the traffickers, the legislators, the doctors in hospitals. Pray that corporations have fair trade supply chains. Pray for the runaway kids. Pray for the raising of awareness. Of course, you might say you’ve been praying for years and you will continue beyond 28 days! Do this anyway, consciously, deliberately in union with people around the globe. Put a notice in your local church bulletin. Invite a family member to pray. Send the links in this little article to others. Ask Saint Bakhita and others like Harriet Tubman and Sojurner Truth to be allies in the transformative ending to human trafficking. Cover the world in prayer. It will generate action.

Bakhita found peace in God. Through prayer she found God’s love and she lived that peace and love, even after suffering brutality. United in deep prayer, we will know God’s peace. Prayer and peace will provide sustenance and will lead to greater clarity in knowing the actions that each of us and all of us must take to end human trafficking.