Check out recordings of the two Zoom breakout sessions held at the 2020 Rotary International Conference focusing on Education and Prevention of human trafficking. These are both great sessions focusing on learning more about the issue and how you can help.
RAGAS Education /Prevention - Bob Derring and Ashlie Bryant
For more information, please visit the RAGAS website here.
During this pandemic, our children are spending more and more time online, putting them at higher risk for interacting with predators. The San Diego Trafficking Prevention Collective is providing online training to teachers in order to continue their mission of bringing human trafficking education, prevention and awareness training into every public school in San Diego County.
To learn more, please click here.
Imagine waking up every morning to people you love and feel safe with.
Then, suddenly, strangers take you away and place you in a dull, unfamiliar place to share with other girls and some of them don’t even like you. You go from feeling like you have options to feeling like you have rules to follow or else suffer consequences.
Imagine the ways a child may have suffered, but then is referred to as “ungrateful”, or “angry”, which makes them lose trust with providers, and potentially return to their trafficker.
Justice is not served unless it’s through the eyes of the victim.
A trafficker is aware of these perspectives and situations surrounding care facilities and youth not feeling supported. Just like social workers have a role and police have a role, so do traffickers. They have strategic planning, research, undercover partners, and skills that make them the best fit for their job.
Traffickers know that kids still see them as a safe haven.
Now imagine being a youth who has finally gained the mental strength to see those “helpful” people who took you from everything you knew did so because what you knew was not healthy. You write a victim impact statement to help get your trafficker locked away just to find out that, according to the law, he is not even considered a violent offender (though you know full well he did multiple violent things to you.) What now?
There are so many aspects of surviving trafficking that many of us would not even consider. We are grateful to hear from those with lived experience to ensure we are becoming the best possible advocates. This is why we’re passionate about creating resources to help us better understand the perspectives of those we’re trying to serve. They’ve already been through so much and now they need people to champion them, not students.
Included in the course:
Advocacy Opportunity: Helping the Homeless during COVID-19
At SPY, we’re so thrilled to be part of such a resilient and connected community. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the outpouring of support we’ve received during these unpredictable times.
We’re thankful for our dedicated team members who are still working every day to provide life-saving support and essential services at SPY’s Access Center and across all of our residential programs.
We’re thankful for the swift action to prioritize the vulnerability of the homeless population in Los Angeles, providing handwashing stations and opening additional shelters to provide a safe space during this time of uncertainty.
We’re grateful for the policies that have already been enacted and actions that are already taking place to continue to protect and support our homeless neighbors. And, we’re extremely thankful that we can continue to move SPY’s mission forward. But we can’t fight this fight alone.
The street-based and at-risk youth we serve are at an increased risk of complications if they contract COVID-19. According to a report published by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, “Homeless individuals infected by COVID-19 would be twice as likely to be hospitalized, two to four times as likely to require critical care, and two to three times as likely to die than the general population.”
At SPY, we believe housing is an integral part of helping street-based youth find stability. We’re delighted by the projects, originally goals in our strategic plan, that have become realities over the past few months.
A Bridge Home Sunset
In February, in partnership with People Assisting The Homeless (PATH), SPY celebrated the opening of A Bridge Home Sunset in Venice (ABH). As a result, 54 transition-aged youth have been moving off of the streets and into their home. ABH will house residents for three to six months as they work with SPY staff to secure permanent supportive housing. While at ABH, residents are provided three nutritious meals a day and receive dedicated case management, education and employment support, and access to health and wellness care to help them transition from the streets and stabilize.
The Nest, which opened in December 2019, is SPY’s housing program designed specifically for youth who are pregnant and/or parenting. The program has the capacity to host 8 to 10 parenting youth and their families for up to 36 months. Each resident has a dedicated case manager, together they focus on goals like finding housing, completing education, and improving life skills. Residents also receive targeted family services and parenting classes. We are thrilled to share that as of April 1, we have reached full capacity at The Nest!
A Furry Reunion
Marquise and his dog Cloud 9 have been unhoused in Venice and coming to SPYs Access Center for services since 2016. Marquise, a talented guitar player, participates in SPY's Healing Arts program and has worked closely with his Case Manager to plan his short and long term goals for stability. Through SPY's partnership with Project Minnie, Marquise is also able to provide excellent care for Cloud 9.
On the streets of Abbot Kinney, Marquise met Rick, a community member who immediately bonded with Marquise. Unfortunately in October 2019, LAPD removed Cloud 9 from Marquise's custody, leaving the two separated and Cloud 9 in an animal shelter.
In an effort to support Marquise reuniting with Cloud 9, Rick became Marquise's mentor through SPY's Mentorship Program, which matches volunteers to mentor youth on an individual basis. With Marquise's dedication, Rick's determination, and SPY's driven case management team providing advocacy in the courtroom and in the community, Marquise and Cloud 9 have finally been reunited! The two are now residing at SPY's bridge housing program, A Bridge Home Sunset, where we love seeing them together every day.
Rotary District 5180 has developed a project combating Human Trafficking to not only educate people in the area but to educate students as to what to look for so as not to fall into the grips of traffickers.