FCAHT Celebrates 13 years!

 

It’s hard to believe that 13 years ago this month, the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking opened its doors to survivors of human trafficking. FCAHT was one of the first organizations within the state of Florida to address the issue of modern day slavery. Our mission is to improve and provide outreach and services to victims of human trafficking throughout the State of Florida by developing support programs, networking, coalition building, training, service delivery, and referrals to victims in need. As I sit here and look back at the last 13 years, I recall some of our agencies accomplishments, it amazes me as to how much one group of anti-human trafficking advocates can accomplish. In honor of FCAHT’s 13 years, I have decided to share with you 13 accomplishments.

  1. Tecum Case- This was the first case that I worked on. I discovered a 19-year-old female from Guatemala while working what was initially reported as a domestic violence dispute. This case was discovered in January of 1999. Not only is the Tecum case considered a landmark case, but it was one of the 3 cases presented to the US Congress to urge them to pass the TVPA.
  2. TVPA- The Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000 was the very first law passed in the United States that not only defined the crime of human trafficking but it laid a foundation for the anti-human trafficking movement. I am honored to know that the Tecum case and my experience were used in passing this landmark law.
  3. Trafficking Visa (T Visa) – On January 23, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft signed the Trafficking Visa into existence. The very first recipient of a T visa was the survivor of the Tecum case. I remember standing by her as Attorney General Ashcroft gave her the pen that he used to sign the T Visa all while stating “With this pen, I have just signed your freedom. Welcome to the United States.”
  4. The passing of Florida’s Anti Human Trafficking bill 787.05. Not only did the state of Florida pass their own anti human trafficking law in July 2004, but the bill number was identified with my former ID number given to me while working with the Collier County Sheriff’s office. This was done to recognize the work that I had done on the issue of human trafficking from 1999- 2004.
  5. On July 16, 2004, Former President George W. Bush honored the work that I had done during the very first anti human trafficking summit every held within the United States. The conference was hosted in Tampa.
  6. The creation of first DOJ Anti Human Trafficking working group for the state of Florida. I was honored to have been appointed by Assistant US Attorney Paul Perez to serve as a part of Florida’s first task force, which began in 2004.
  7. In 2005, I assisted the Department of Health and Human Services in identifying, creating and providing funding 5 Rescue and Restore Coalitions within the state of Florida. This led to training and providing technical support to other agencies within Florida.
  8. Collaborating with the United States State Department and the Organization of American States to providing training and technical support in 34 countries.
  9. Assisting various Central American countries in writing and passing their first anti human trafficking laws. The first country that I assisted in 2005 was Argentina.
  10. Receiving recognition from local, state, federal and international agencies on the advocacy and assistance that our agency has provided in the last 13 years. We have also been recognized for our anti sex trafficking PSA’s.
  11. Governor Rick Scott inducted me into FL Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011. It was an honor be included in the shaping of women’s history within our great state.
  12. Creating and collaborating with KlassKids Foundation and Local and Federal law enforcement agencies during the very first Superbowl 43 Street Outreach in 2009. Our work continued through Superbowl 47, which was held in New Orleans in 2013.
  13. Serving 1, 346 survivors of domestic servitude, labor trafficking and sex trafficking. This has been the greatest honor and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

During the last 13 years, I have had an amazing support system, from my family to our staff to the community itself. I know that without the support of my family, team and community, many of these accomplishments may have never occurred. And for this I would like to thank each and every person that has support FCAHT and the work that we continue to do. My hope that I can continue to count on your support. At this time, I ask that you help us celebrate FCHAT’s 13 years by donating $13, $1 per year. With your contribution of 13 dollars, we can continue to make a difference in within the anti-human trafficking movement.

 

Until everyone is Free,

 Anna Rodriguez

FCAHT Founder/CEO

 

Peace Love Stop 5K, 10K, and 1 mile run.

12509454_845207222265028_5733568552081062404_nJoin the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking on April 22nd for our 2nd Annual Peace Love Stop 5K/10K run!

The Peace Love Stop 5k/10K and 1 mile run will take place at St. Pete Beach, FL. The event will be held at 7:30am on April 22nd, 2017.

Face painting by paint Me Happy Entertainment.

Live music by Razin Jane.

Proceeds for the event benefit The Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. Our goal is to bring awareness to human trafficking.

To register please visit Peacelovestop.com

 

 

Happy St. Patty’s Day! A Day to celebrate Freedom!

by Maranda Vilsack

As St. Patrick’s Day nears America is preparing to meet with friends and drink green beer while wearing the traditional “Kiss Me, I’m Irish!” t-shirts in celebration of… what exactly? Are we celebrating being Irish or the triumph of one army over another? Maybe it has something to do with Leprechauns or shamrocks?

Incorrect. Okay, so not many know what St. Patrick’s Day is actually about. This is not surprising since the meaning behind a holiday is often warped into something unrecognizable over the centuries. St. Patrick’s Day is actually a celebration of when Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland in and was declared an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. March 17th is the traditionally recognized death day of the actual Saint Patrick.

St. Patrick’s Day has only been present in America since the late 18th century.

What many are unaware of is that Saint Patrick was not born an Irishman and that his name wasn’t even Patrick. Patrick is the English version of his actual name, Patricius. He was actually born in the early 5th century in Roman Britain, which was later known as Great Britain. At the age of 16 Patricius, along with thousands of his fellow Britains, were kidnapped by Irish pirates during raids on the west coast of Roman Britain and taken to Ireland as slaves. Patricius was able to escape and return home after 6 years of servitude and later returned to Ireland on a mission to convert those in power to Christianity and possibly to halt the raids of the Irish pirates that had taken him years before.

In one of the few surviving writings by Patricius, in his “Letter to Coroticus,” he expressed a deep concern for the victims of slaving; especially women captured for sexual exploitation.

Perhaps this was due to his own personal experiences as a slave and his most likely witnessing the horrors that can bestow a person taken into human slavery.

But Particius’ story is not only one of Christian missionary work, although that is the basis of the holiday. No, his story is one of survival and perseverance. Patricius spent years in slavery and somehow found his way out and eventually became the patron saint of an entire country. His belief that slavery was immoral was something that pushed him to return to the country he had once fled in order to work for the freedom of those still forced into servitude.

So this St. Patrick’s Day don’t just celebrate Irish heritage, celebrate a man who fought for the freedom of others.

Be Fair with your gifts!

by Maranda Vilsack

This past Thursday, February the 9th, the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking held a presentation at the Church of the Holy Spirit’s Parish Hall in Safety Harbor. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the presentation was centered around how a conscious consumer has the power to effect the prevalence of exploitation around the world through the products they purchase.

Valentine’s Day is always a popular gift-giving occasion, and this year American consumers are expected to spend about $18.2 billion dollars, according to the National Retail Federation. (https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/nrf-says-consumers-will-spend-182-billion-valentines-day) While U.S. consumers spend their hard earned money on gifts for their loved ones every year we rarely consider where those gifts come from. For a better understanding of how these products are produced we can look to the United States Department of Labor’s ‘List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor,’ released September 30, 2016. (https://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods/)

Think of it this way-

You want to buy your sweetheart a diamond necklace:

A comparison of the D.O.L.’s list and the Diamond Producers Association’s most recent statistics, ‘World Diamond Production by Volume and Value 2015,’ of the 10 countries that produce the most diamonds, half of the countries produced these diamonds through the use of child labor and forced labor practices, (Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.) The Central African Republic also uses child labor and forced labor in the production of their diamonds.

(http://www.diamondproducers.com/diamond-industry/productionstats)

You pick up a bouquet of roses or other flowers:

According to worldexports.com, many of the cut flower stems, bouquets, and bulbs that are purchased in the U.S. are actually grown in other countries. Two of the major producers use exploitive production practices. China, which is known for artificial flowers, uses forced labor. Ecuador, which is known for a large variety of flowers, including long-stemmed roses, uses child labor. Other countries on the D.O.L.’s list were Afghanistan (Poppies and other flowers, child labor) and Burma (Sunflowers, forced labor).

(http://www.worldstopexports.com/flower-bouquet-exports-country/)

A heart-shaped box of chocolates:

The cocoa needed to produce the sweets is exotic. Five of the six countries listed by the Department of Labor as using child labor and forced labor in the production of cocoa are also on worldatlas.com’s list of Top Cocoa Producing Countries in the World. These countries are Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and the number one producer of cocoa, Cote d’Ivoire. Guinea also made the D.O.L.’s list.

People do care where the items they buy are coming from and how they are being made; the information just isn’t readily available.

Free Trade USA is endeavoring to change that by auditing and certifying transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers. Their certification label on the product packaging guarantees that farmers and workers producing the goods are paid fair wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and do not use forced labor or child labor.

During the presentation Giselle Rodriguez, State Outreach Coordinator for FCAHT, was able to answer questions from the community about Fair Trade USA and how they are helping to reduce global exploitation in the name of cheap labor, human trafficking in the U.S., and how consumers can make a change in the world simply by being conscious of where the products they buy are coming from.

In her words: “It all starts with awareness.”

#GivingTuesday

With two weeks left until #GivingTuesday, we wanted to share with you what our plan is to help in the fight against human trafficking. Entering its fifth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Our goal this year is to raise $5,000.00 Will you help us reach our goal?
 
Donation Level:
 
$25 provides a gift card to a newly identified victim of human trafficking.
 
$75 provides the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking with outreach materials.
 
$100 provides one victim of human trafficking with clothing and/or shoes.
 
$300 provides a Human Trafficking 101 training for community advocates.
 
$500 provides human trafficking training and materials for front line responders and social service providers.
Please help the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking in achieving it’s goal of raising $5,000. As always, we thank you for your continued support. gt6

International Day of the Girl Event!

The International Day of the Girl Luncheon was held on October 8th and it was a time to celebrate the importance of girls in the world.  A day to remember girls with the FCAHT and United for Human Rights groups banded together to raise awareness and funds with the proceeds going to FCAHT.  It was wonderful to share this International Day of the Girl and many of us had never even heard of this day.  Lovely setting and a big thanks to the Fort Harrison Hotel who went out of their way to make this a special day.

We were serenaded by a very talented singer, Jades Goudreault, who made our luncheon extra special.  A raffle was held for a 5-day trip to Cancun.  Announcements were given about some upcoming events to support FCAHT, and I’m excited to be able to participate in the run (there will be a 1 mile walk too which is what my friends and I will do).  There is an upcoming fashion show too, so check on the website to find out about these events.

A first time award, the Extra Mile Award, was presented to Sally, an amazing young woman.  Sally, who is in high school, singlehandedly has made a huge impact with her work to raise funds to fight cancer.  She was an inspiration to everyone in the room.

My take away from the day was if you care you can do something.  It might not be anything big or earthshattering, but do something.  A donation small or large, giving of your time or talent.  Attend a fundraiser.   A way to light up the world is to share what you know about Human Trafficking.  Use your social networks, Facebook, and talk to people about this trafficking.  Change your Facebook picture to one about Human Trafficking for a day or two.

Bring your friends to events and introduce them to this problem.  I brought my friend to the luncheon and she got very enthused and now wants to join in and help out too.  Last night I was visiting with someone and mentioned coffee and Fair Trade and she asked me to send her information about our FCAHT.  You just never know how you might be able to interest people to do something or at least bring about awareness.

Like little drops of water, one by one, filling up the bucket.  You might not ever know what impact you had, but no matter how small your effort, YOU can make a difference.

 

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A Day with the Tampa Bay Rays!

Once again, the FCAHT has teamed up with the Tampa Bay Rays for an amazing experience. Join us as the Rays take on AL East rivals, Boston Red Sox! This will be the last home game of the Rays season. This will also be David “Big Papi” Ortiz’s last game at Tropicana Field.

Lower Level Tickets are $30 ($60 Value)
A portion of each ticket sold will benefitt the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. Every attendee will have their choice of a Rays Hat, Chris Archer K-Counter Bobblehead, or a Rays T-Shirt.

To purchase tickets, please send us a private message or email us at fcahtoffice@gmail.com

DON’T MISS:
– DJ Kitty Toothbrush holder giveaway for kids 14 & under
while supplies last
– Kids Run the Bases post game
– The Rays Touch Tank in Center Field
– Free parking for cars of four or more passenger

Deadline to purchase is Monday, September 12, 2016. * We have only been provided with 150 tickets!*

SUN, SEPT 25
VS. BOSTON
START TIME: 1:10 P.M.maxresdefault.jpg