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

 

Here are 4 ways to get involved with the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

Here are 4 ways to get involved with FCAHT:

1. Help raise awareness on the issue of human trafficking. Host an event, re post an article posted on the FCAHT Facebook/Twitter page or simply let others know that slavery still exists.

2. Learn more about Fair Trade Certified products and purchase those products instead. Just by purchasing products such as Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream can make a big difference in the fight against Labor Trafficking!

3. Volunteer! Everyone has something to contribute. FCAHT has numerous opportunities for you to use your talents to help make a difference.

4. Start a fundraiser for FCAHT. You can go to Fundsgiving.com and start your own fundraising campaign!

Congrats Tampa Bay Rescue and Restore on Celebrating your 5th Anniversary!

In 2010, Law enforcement was on board to address the issue of the commercial sexual exploitation of children within the Tampa Bay region. However, one issue that they were coming across was that many of the local services providers were not providing services to victims of CSEC. According to FBI, about 20% of the youth recovered were receiving services. FCAHT decided to lend a hand and see why only 20% of the youth recovered were receiving assistance. FCAHT at that point decided to put together a working group that would solely focus on the issue of CSEC. On October 25, 2010 The Tampa Bay Rescue and Restore Coalition was born! The first meeting was held at DCF office. Advocates from DCF, HKI, Redefining Refuge and FCAHT came together to brainstorm on the many ways that we could help make an impact.

Slowly but surely, the word began to spread and now, 46 different agencies, including FBI, and Eckerd Youth have come to the table to continue to improve how the Tampa Bay region address victims of CSEC. Many changes have occurred over the last 5 years including the mission of the Tampa Bay Rescue and Restore. The mission of the TBRRC is to build a safety network of partnerships that will work together to identify, rescue and restore victims of Child Trafficking in the Tampa Bay Area. Our group has expanded to the issue of forced labor of youth as well. Under the TBRRC, we began the Education Subcommittee to address the issue of education. Since the subcommittee started, members of the TBRRC have assisted in training over 1,000 other social service providers within the Tampa Bay region. We have also partnered with the SHOCK Education Youth Diversion program to help educate at risk youth on the issue of human trafficking. And since 2010, we have seen the increase of services for victims of CSEC with now over 50% of youth recovered by law enforcement receiving the assistance that they are entitled to. These past 5 years have been an amazing journey!
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Happy 11th Anniversary FCAHT!

It’s been 11 years since the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking opened it’s doors. FCAHT was organized in an effort to identify, rescue and restore victims of human trafficking found within the State of Florida. It’s been an amazing and eye-opening 11 years! My team and I have been able to assist in the empowerment of over 600 lives. Our team has been able to assist victims of all forms of human trafficking as well as various ages, walks of life and gender. We have also had the privilege of not only working with Domestic survivors but International survivors as well. Many of these cases have made an impact in my life as well as my team members lives. Imagine not only assisting a 14-year-old survivor of labor trafficking but also assisting her 9 month old son as well. To see both mother and son, who is now 7 years of age, succeed and thrive was simply inspiring to say the least.

The work and dedication of the FCAHT team speaks for itself. Some of our team members and myself have been blessed to also be part of amazing training delegations that have traveled to over 30 countries and provide training to law
Enforcement, Customs officials, Prosecutors, Non Governmental Organizations, Government officials, Ambassadors and UN Peace Mission Military Officers before they were deployed.

It’s been 11 years of sacrifices but our passion and dedication has made a difference for so many throughout Florida, the U.S. and the Americas.

As a result of our training’s, community events, awareness and education, we have witnessed other Anti Human Trafficking non profits open within the last couple of years. We have also been able to witness the seeds that we planted throughout the state start to blossom as more and more community members are aware of the issue of human trafficking.

The FCAHT Team and myself would like to thank each and every one of you for your continuous support. Our team hopes and prays that more survivors of domestic servitude, labor trafficking and sex trafficking are identified, rescued and restored.

I personally would like to take the time to personally thank all of our volunteers and interns for dedicating your time and energy to such a worthy cause. It has truly been a pleasure working with each and every one of you. You all do such amazing work! Thank You!!

I also would like to personally thank the members of the FCAHT team as well. You all share the same passion as I have to make a dent in the fight against human trafficking and making a difference within the Human Rights field! It is wonderful to be surrounded by such strong, loving women who really do make a difference within the community, the state, and the Nation. I look forward to so many more years of working side by side with you.

Happy 11th Anniversary FCAHT!

Sincerely,

Anna Rodriguez
FCAHT Founder/CEO
2011 Florida Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee
Makers Award Recipient

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Victim survivors will be honored by victims’ advocates during NCVRW

The Domestic Violence Task Force Victim Advocacy Committee engage, will celebrate and honor the victim survivors in our community during National Crime Victims Rights Week (NCVRW)

In observation of National Crime Victim’s Rights Week (NCVRW) the Domestic Violence Task Force Victim Advocacy Committee is sponsoring a day filled with fun activities and valuable resources for crime victim survivors and their families. This year’s NCVRW Program and activities was a collaborative effort, reflecting the spirit of the 2015 theme “Engaging Communities | Empowering Victims”. It highlights the importance of building partnerships throughout our communities to better address all victims’ needs and create a victim response system that is open and accessible to all survivors and victims of crime.

The Domestic Violence Task Force Victim Advocacy Committee is a collaborative group that consists of a team of professional victim advocates and community victim advocates from local law enforcement agencies and non-for-profit organizations that serve survivors of murder victims, victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, human trafficking victims, victims of child abuse and survivors of other related violent crimes. The NCVRW event will include information and resources from the task force along with a host of other agencies and organizations that serve victims in our community.

Contributors include representatives from the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (FCAHT), Mothers Against Drunk Driving West Central Florida – Pinellas, Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), Therapy Dogs International (TDI), Clearwater Police Department Victim Advocate Unit, Haven of RCS, Area Agency on Aging, Suncoast Center, Inc., Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA), Largo Police Department Victim Advocate Unit, Crime Stoppers of Pinellas, The State Attorney’s Victim Advocate Unit, Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA), Personal Enrichment Mental Health Services, Pinellas County Health Department, The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Victim Advocate Unit and The Springtime Club, Inc.

You can help engage, celebrate and honor the victim survivors in our community by participating in the NCVRW programs and events. The Program will include special events and selected topics for high school students in Ross Norton’s Recreation Center Teen Room. Teens will be introduced to anti-crime prevention resources and public awareness projects, such as the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking “Drop An F- Bomb Campaign”, that teaches teens that friendship is the best way to fight teen sexual exploitation, and shows them the signs of commercial sexual manipulation of children and how they can help to prevent a friend from being tricked into a life of prostitution.

Activities will also include motivational techniques and tools that help survivors cope with life experiences. Adult participants will learn martial arts and self defense tactics with Chris Sutton of Cobra Self Defense; they can take part in Yoga techniques, join a Tai Chi demonstration with Rita Hall one of the wonderful nurses from the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, and get pampered by a chair message therapist. Mean while the children can interact with therapy dogs trained to support victims impacted by crime, take advantage of the play ground and skateboard park, and participate in therapeutic games, such as ribbon tying and arts and crafts.

Entertainment will include music by Big Dad E Sound DJ’s, line dancing with The Springtime Club, stepping by The Million Dollar Steppers, and vigorous rhythms from a quest appearance by Tapped In, Inc..

The power of partnerships launched the crime victims’ rights movement and the achievements celebrated during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW) each year. Families of murdered children, victims of sexual assault, drunk driving, domestic violence, and other violent crimes mobilized at the grassroots level, joining forces to demand justice for victims of crime. The National Campaign for Victims’ Rights founded by these partners led to President Ronald Reagan’s reforms on behalf of crime victims, his declaration of the first NCVRW, and the creation of the Victims of Crime Act and Crime Victims Fund, whose anniversary the victim advocate community will celebrate during its Kick Off in observation of NCVRW, on April 19th.

Pinellas County’s victim advocates honor the steps that have been made throughout the history of crime victims’ rights through community building and partnerships like The Domestic Violence Task Force Victim Advocacy Committee. The NCVRW event offers an opportunity to renew and strengthen partnerships, and to highlight the collaborative approaches that are integral to engaging communities and empowering victims.

The 2015 National Crime Victims Rights Week is being observed from April 19–25. The event is open to the public and will serve as a prelude to NCVRW and takes place on Sunday, April 19, 2015, from 1:00 – 4:00 PM, at the Ross Norton Recreation and Aquatic Complex & Extreme Sports Park, in South Clearwater, located at 1426 S Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Clearwater, Florida 33756.

For additional information contact The Springtime Club at 727-906-5299 or visit us on the web at http://www.springadvocate.org

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Got a minute? Help us win a Technology Grant!

The Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking is participating in the “Technology Jumpstart your Nonprofit” contest for a chance to win an office technology makeover grant from Milner, Inc. The two winning organizations will receive new office and network equipment or services at a combined retail value of $35,000.

This is a fantastic opportunity for us to more efficiently provide services for those who need it the most. Typically, funds are spent supporting our mission, instead of business technology. This grant allows us to upgrade our technology and still focus on our important mission.

How you can help

Vote! You can vote 1 time every day, and it takes less than 1 minute. Online voting begins February 16, 2015. The organization with the most votes will be selected as a top ten finalist. The more votes, the better chance we have to win. Go to http://www.milner.com/jumpstart/vote and vote for The Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking until February 28, 2015.
Stay Tuned. If we are chosen as a finalist we will need your votes again during the finalist round! This makeover will give us a technology jumpstart that will help us improve operations for years to come.

Forward this email to friends and colleagues and ask them to vote for us.
Like and share on social media. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter Follow @MilnerInc on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – all posts will include #Jumpstart.

Thank you for your support!

After the 12 Days of Christmas, try the 31 Days of Freedom!

31 Days of Freedom Step-by-Step Guide: Here are the first 5 Days!

1. Change your wallpaper on Facebook and Twitter to the icon below and let your friends know January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness month.

2. Start a chain reaction! Tell two people about the issue of human trafficking and its affects in the U.S. Encourage those two people to tell another two people about human trafficking, and so on and so on. Try to educate as many people as possible on this global issue!

3. Attend an anti-trafficking awareness event. Learn more about the issue of human trafficking. Encourage others to attend as well. Please check out our calendar for events in the Tampa Bay region.

4. Do you know your slavery footprint? Visit slaveryfootprint.org to find out how many slaves work for you.

5. Become a smart shopper. Visit the app store on your phone, download fair trade product apps and use them while you shop!

6. Encourage a friend to buy a Fair Trade Products. Please visit FairTradeUSA.org for a list of Fair Trade Products.

7. Shine a light on Human Trafficking awareness! Drive with your headlights on, leave your front porch light, light a candle! Show your community that we are ALL against modern day slavery!

8. Get involved! Volunteer with an anti- trafficking organization.

9. Write a blog or letter to the editor about human trafficking. Education is the key to fighting modern day slavery!

10. Wear green as a symbol of hope! Take a picture and share it on social media and encourage others to do the same.

11. Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day! Encourage your local library to carry books on human trafficking.

12. Go to Change.org. Visit the Human Trafficking section and sign one of the various petitions on this issue.

13. Call or write your state representative and let them know that you support the issue of fighting human trafficking and want to see more laws passed that will better help victims of human trafficking.

14. Donate $5 to an anti trafficking organization. Encourage your friends to donate to your favorite organization as well.

15. Get the issue trending. Tweet #stophumantrafficking

16. Educate yourself. Check out domestic and int. laws about human trafficking like the Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000.

17. Give back! Donate items that your local anti-trafficking organization needs, and get the rest of your community involved.

18. Students- join or create your own club to raise awareness on the issue of human trafficking. Get your campus involved!

19. Do you know the “red flags”? Learn the red flags that may indicate human trafficking. Visit the International Labour Organizations (www.ILO.org) website for more information.

20. Request a training- If you know or are a business, law enforcement, social service agency or a state employee request a training session from a Grassroots anti-human trafficking organization.

21. Take a picture with a sign that reads, “Stop Human Trafficking” to remind people that there is still modern day slavery today. Post the picture on Facebook, twitter, instagram or other social media sites.

22. Watch a film- Invite friends and loved ones over to watch a documentary on human trafficking.

23. Drop an F-Bomb! Educate youth on the signs of human trafficking, and show them the website http://www.droppingfbombs.com.

24. Follow @freeallslaves, @DropAnFBomb on twitter, along with other anti-human trafficking organizations. Retweet them to get the word out!

25. Wear red today! Red symbolizes the action you are taking against human trafficking. It’s time to end modern day slavery!

26. Check out the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report to see how other counties are doing in the fight against human trafficking since Human Trafficking is a global issue.

27. Do you know your rights? Look up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Start a conversation with friends!

28. Call and your local law enforcement agency and ask what they are doing to combat human trafficking. Ask about the resources provided to survivors.

29. Put the National Human Trafficking Hotline’s number in your cell phone today! The number is 1 (888) 373-7888

30. Check out your local 211 to see what resources are provided to survivors.

31. Plan for the future! At 2:09 pm, reflect on the fact that globally there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking that are in need of assistance. Think about what is still needed to address the root causes of human trafficking in the state of Florida, the United States and globally.

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