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

vrw

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!

The True Definition of Human Trafficking

As you may know, January has been proclaimed to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This month was proclaimed as such by President Barack Obama in January of 2009. Since then, our organization has continued to see an increase in dialogue surrounding the topic of human trafficking……well more of an increase on the dialogue of sex trafficking. Our organization is thrilled to see so many within the United States speaking up and speaking out against the issue of sex trafficking. But it also leaves us confused as to why the other forms of human trafficking are rarely mentioned. If you think about it, it truly is a catch 22. The Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking is one of very few agencies that not only educates the community on the issue of sex trafficking, but we are also very vocal on the issue of domestic servitude as well as labor trafficking. Not only do we assist survivors of sex trafficking, but we also assist survivors of domestic servitude and labor trafficking, both male and female. One of the things that are staff has noticed is the fact that the anti human trafficking field is literally pitting victim against victim. According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000, this should not be happening.

Recently one of our staff members came across this statement: Human trafficking is the trade of people, usually for the purpose of sexual slavery, and experts claim the epidemic is on the rise in the U.S.

This statement could not be further from the truth. Human Trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.

Sex trafficking is defined as a modern-day form of slavery in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act is under the age of 18 years.

Understand that human trafficking is domestic servitude. It is labor trafficking and it is sex trafficking.

HT chart

Now the statement mentioned above states that human trafficking is the trade of people, usually for the purpose of sexual slavery. Let’s see what the true experts in the field are reporting on this:

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According to research conducted by the International Labour Organization, the statement shown above is false. The ILO has been researching the topic of forced sexual exploitation and forced labor since 1973. Their research has been accepted by The United Nations, The White House and the U.S State Department.

Now according to the chart, it shows that labor trafficking far exceeds sex trafficking. One of the main reasons why this is simply due to demand. Think about it. How many of us depend on the commercial sex industry? How many of us truly are part of the demand for the commercial sex industry? Now let’s flip the script and ask those same questions regarding forced labor? How many of us depend on cheap labor? How many of us depend on the workers in the agricultural industries? How many of us depend on the workers in the garment industries? How many of us depend on services provided to us in locations such as hotels, nail salons, and restaurants? These are all industries in where victims of forced labor have been recovered from.

Due to the fact that there is a higher demand for cheap labor vs. the commercial sex industry, there will always be a higher amount of victims of forced labor throughout the world and throughout the United States. Plus you add in the fact that very few labor trafficking cases are investigated in the United States, this will add onto the number of labor trafficking victims. Understand that is fewer numbers of victims of forced labor that are recovered and assisted, the less traffickers that are arrested equals to the fact that less prosecutions will take place. It is a free for all for anyone involved in labor trafficking and or domestic servitude?

In conclusion, it is important to not just shed light on sex trafficking, but it is important to also shed light on domestic servitude and labor trafficking. We often come across victims of forced labor on a frequent basis and yet not recognize them as victims due to the lack of awareness. Many of these men, women and children, both from foreign countries and the United States are hopeful that one day someone will recognize their silent pleas for help. And yet, very few of us actually recognize their pleas.

To suspend or not to suspend?

I recently read an article in regards to a Shelby County high school student who was suspended for engaging in commercial sex acts in the boys bathroom at school. The freshman student would approach male students and offer sex in exchange for money. In some cases she did not accept any money. The article states that there were days in where she would engage in commercial sex acts with up to 10 males. Pretty alarming facts.

So how did the school respond? By suspending her. Is this the best solution to this situation. By reading the article, the media did a good job in portraying her as a hyper sexually active teen, with tones of shaming and blaming. But did anyone ever stop to think that this teen girl maybe a victim? Did anyone stop and think that maybe she is involved in this due to abuse? Did anyone think to assess her as a possible victim? Judging by the article, no, that thought did not come across anyone’s mind.

Before people blame and shame young women who may be engaging in a commercial sex act, stop and think before you speak. Without knowing all of the details of this young women’s life, people have casted judgement on her. No one has taken the time to understand what is going on.

So my question to you is should the school have suspended the girl?

http://www.wistv.com/story/26834413/high-school-students-suspended-parents-learn-of-prostitution-on-campus

A provocatively-named media campaign seeks to rescue young girls from prostitution

By: Brendan McLaughlin

A bluntly-named awareness campaign urges young people who believe a friend is being drawn into the sex trade to drop an “F-bomb” – strong language to call attention to a serious problem.

But the “F” in this case, stands for something very positive.

The campaign with the twitter hashtag, #fbomb211 is the work of Dunn & Co. creative director Glen Hosking, who has no apologies for those who think the term is too vulgar.

“Child prostitution is vulgar. Domestic minor sex-trafficking is vulgar. A girl getting ready to turn tricks tonight? That’s vulgar. We’ve turned it upside down to where the ‘F’ stands for ‘friendship,’” said Hosking.

The campaign will try to reach teenagers through all the major social media channels – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – because pimps are using those very same channels to target girls.

In addition to guerilla marketing events and viral videos, the agency will hand out T-shirts, stickers and even coat-check tags urging young people to take action for a friend who may not understand the danger they’re in and might resent the interference.

“That in itself is kind of risky because you have to ask, ‘Do I turn my friend in even though I might lose that friendship?’ But if you don’t, you might lose that friend forever,” Hosking said.

The website, droppingfbombs.com, dispels the stereotype of what a pimp might look like and ticks off warning signs that a girl is at risk that include dating an older guy, having lots of cash and keeping a second cellphone.

Tampa Police Sgt. Dusty Rhodes, who’s worked far too many of these cases, believes the campaign is right on target.

“Ultimately the girls are unable to get out. They feel they’re trapped in that lifestyle,” said Rhodes.

Dunn & Co. donated their creative services for the campaign while the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay’s Women in Action Group and the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking paid for the materials.

Crisis center specialists will be answering those 2-1-1 calls in Hillsborough County.

Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/crime/a-provocatively-named-media-campaign-seeks-to-rescue-young-girls-from-prostitutionMedia_campaign_adopts__F_bomb__to_combat_1654300000_5398215_ver1_0_640_480

Imagery in Anti-Trafficking Campaigns

By Virginia Howard
FCAHT Volunteer Coordinator

Within the anti-trafficking movement, visual aids and images can function as powerful tools in that they attract public attention, elicit emotion, and hopefully, increase awareness regarding the global and pervasive nature of modern day slavery. However, in order to increase awareness effectively, it is imperative that said images accurately reflect the problem of human trafficking and maintain sensitivity with regard to the experiences of survivors. Images that employ sexism, racism, and exploitation perpetuate false assumptions about human trafficking. In turn, these assumptions contribute to the development of a public misunderstanding, which is destructive in the process of increasing awareness regarding modern day slavery.

chicken

To begin, the example image above is intended to imply that human trafficking denies personal agency to women and effectively, denigrates their status to something more similar to animal, than person. However, only women are shown in this image, which is an untrue explication of the problem of human trafficking. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, federal investigations confirmed 63 instances of labor trafficking in 2011. Of those 63 cases, 68% of survivors were female and 32% were male. An image like the example thus perpetuates the myth that only women are affected by human trafficking, effectively ignoring the male victims, and subsequently, presents a false image of this issue to the public.
Further, in continuance with an examination of the example image, all of the women in the image are white. Statistics regarding the most recent information on federal investigations indicate that the majority of sex trafficking survivors recovered were of African-American descent, while the majority of labor trafficking survivors recovered were of Hispanic origin. This information is in complete contradiction with the ideas this example image suggests to the public. Perpetuating inaccurate information regarding the race/ethnic background of survivors not only presents a false picture of modern day slavery, and thus, misleads the public, it is also deeply insensitive with regard to survivors.
While the use of imagery in the anti-trafficking movement is a useful tactic to inspire the public and increase awareness, a lack of caution and sensitivity in the selection of these images can be highly problematic. It is crucial to the success of the anti-trafficking movement that true data and ideas are communicated to the public, not only for the validity of the movement, but to be respectful and honor the survivors of human trafficking.

Michael Walford Monthly. “Danish Anti-Trafficking Group,” accessed December 12, 2011. http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/michaelwalford/monthly/0407/?num=10&start=10.

Duren Banks and Tracey Kyckelhahn. Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010, 1. (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justic Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 2011), 1, accessed December 11, 2011, http://bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cshti0810.pdf.

Ibid.