by Kaye Van Nevel
Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland will host the North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative meeting on Thursday, March 2, 9:00 a.m., at United Methodist Church of Vista, 490 S. Melrose Ave., Vista. The event is free to the public, and coffee and pastries will be provided.
Our guest speaker will be Grandville (Tom) Jones. As a survivor of sex trafficking, Tom courageously reached out and founded The H.O.P.E Project (Healing, Outreach and Peer Empowerment) to create an open and safe space for men to talk about being sexually exploited and work through their deep feelings of shame and secrecy to be able to begin healing.
He is actively engaged in the effort to reduce the demand side of sex trafficking and prostitution activities as well as combatting the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). He has joined forces with many local and national organizations whose aims are to challenge the thinking of men and boys by means of innovative techniques that yield measurable and meaningful results.
Tom has partnered with North County Lifeline’s Project Life. He is a program participant at the Prostitution Impact Panel (P.I.P., aka “John School”), lead organizer of the “Freedom NOW Fair, ” a Human Trafficking Awareness Street Fair, and leads bi-weekly “Cyber Patrols” which is staffed by men who volunteer to answer strategically placed ads on social media sites, soliciting buyers for under-age girls and women. The volunteers advise the callers that they are now known buyers, their phone numbers and names are on record, and there are services available to them to aid in stopping their part in exploiting young girls and women.