The North County San Diego Human Trafficking Collaborative met on May 3, 2018. Our guest speaker was Stephanie Gonzalez. Here is a recap of the meeting.
WELCOME, INTRODUCTIONS, UPDATES, EVENTS
- Terri Haskins, SIV Oceanside/Carlsbad announced several upcoming film showings/fundraisers:
Lunafest 2018 (9 short films for and by women) at Carlsbad Dove Library, 1775 Dove Lane, Carlsbad, this Sunday, May 06, 2018 at 2:00 PM. For more information about this fundraiser for Soroptimist Int. Oceanside/Carlsbad, see sioceansidecarlsbad.com. Tickets $30.
Terri will host a second run of the Lunafest films “Take Two! Night Party” in her back yard theatre for those who missed the Dove Library Event, May 18, 6:30, $30, food and drink included.
Terri will also host the double feature, Tricked and Indoctrinated on June 22, again in her backyard. Food will be served at this free event for all ages. Jaimee Johnson will speak. RSVP for all ‘BackYard’ events 760-415-1886
AND, on July 13, at 6:30 she will show “Kinky Boots”.
- Charity Brant, YMCA Outreach Coordinator, Youth and Family Services, Transitional Housing and Youth Development announced a recently secured contract to create housing for young adults 12-25 who are homeless. They currently use Drop In Center, but look forward to opening a semi-permanent shelter.
- Kaye announced Grace House, which offers extended shelter and wrap-around services for 6 adult women survivors of trafficking will gratefully accept donations to continue maintain their home. She added that a $2500 check from a personal project of Soroptimist Cherie Wilson SI, Vista and North County Inland was recently presented to Susan Johnson, director and founder of Alabaster Jar Project.
- Kaye encouraged the attendees to print and distribute the HT Poster produced by San Diego Count DA’s office. They have been placed in mandated locations (bars, workplaces, etc.) but are needed in any and all public places, such as transit stations, schools, churches, retail sales.
- Legislation: All bills must be out of their house of origin by June 1 to survive. Many of these are already in their second house. If they survive the second house, they will go to the governor. The federal bill SB1865 has passed which makes web platforms liable for the content on them (currently they are not), as in Back Page, which is finally closed.
- Jacque Howard, United Methodist Church of Vista announced that United Methodist Church of Vista will be hosting speakers from the League of Women Voters in the Fellowship Hall, May 15 at 11 am. She also encouraged organizations seeking grants from the United Methodist Cable Grant need to get their applications in by May 25. Applications are online at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also attached is an e-mail with instructions.
GUEST SPEAKER Stephanie Gonzalez: Case Manager and the Program Coordinator for North County Lifeline’s “Project Life,” which supports victims of sex trafficking with immediate crisis management, basic need, advocacy, and trauma-informed, comprehensive case management that creates a path to self-reliance.
Since 2011, North County Lifeline, Project Life has helped 128+ survivors of Human Trafficking. One of critical ways they assist victims is to direct them to the resources and find them shelter, etc., without requiring a retelling of their story over and over again, which re-traumatizes them.
Stephanie told us North County Lifeline received a grant for helping LGBTQ community as it relates to sex trafficking in partnership with North County LGBTQ Resource Center. She said services for this subset of victims “looks different” from services to others. Another similar grant helps them partner with organizations like BSCC, Generate HOPE, San Diego Youth Services and others to come up with “best practices for all victims” of human trafficking.
She said it’s more difficult for men and boys who are victimized to come forward and there are no services just for men and boys, with minimal research data on them. Age of entry into sex trafficking for boys is typically 11-13, recruited by “friends”, and unwilling to come forward to protect them. Activist and former victim Tom Jones had 30-35 male victims he was helping, but he would commonly only talk to them via phone and email, because they didn’t want to be identified. More than half of the porn viewed by adult men involves boys. Johns are usually white upper-middle-class working professionals. One survey said that 75% of all males have experienced some form of sexual abuse. Statistically men keep quiet for an average of 20 years before they come forward. For instance after being victimized, Tom Jones actually thought he might be gay even though he was not. Men are more prone to distrust authority figures and not want to get their friends in trouble, who are complicit and got them involved initially.
Stephanie said the “male” victims she has seen are trans-gender, “trans”, (men who identify as women and are transitioning to female). rarely, the reverse. Their susceptibility to continue in the trafficked life is connected to the need for hormone replacement in the trans-gender process.
Recent example: Trans woman (formerly male), from El Salvador, at age 13 kicked out of her home first identified herself as gay male, then wanted to transition, was recruited by a friend, became a prostitute to gain money for hormone therapy. Gangs in beat her, broke her back and knees. She left for Mexico, by herself, and was quickly approached by a guy who said “I can help you.” He bought her nice things, took her on a cruise and once they got to Tijuana he said “Okay pay me back” and he put her to work. Then a john helped her escape, he dropped her off at the US border, she was in a dress and heels. An agent took her to the Detention Center for 10 months until she got released. There she was subject to harassment by officers and residents of the facility. She finally was granted asylum this month and will get a work permit, Medi-Cal, and $300+ per month. She lives currently in a Lifeline shelter. But it is very hard for trans-gender individuals to find jobs.
Charity Brant of YMCA outreach said she has seen more and more male to female trans-gender who are homeless. No female to male – less need for hormones for them, less visibility, more social support generally among women who are transitioning to men.
Of great interest to everyone present was Stephanie’s statement that undocumented aliens, if they are being trafficked, need not fear deportation. On the contrary, their victimization means they are eligible to obtain a form I-94 which gives them a legal status as “Continued Presence” but they need to cooperate with law enforcement. This only applies if the abuse occurs in the U.S. Stephanie said they can either call her Intake Line which goes directly to her: 760-842-6526. If after hours, just call police department and they can contact her. In response to a question, Stephanie said the current administration in Washington has created “a lot of fear” among her clients, even though they have their papers. She emphasized that law enforcement is “great” in these situations, puts the victims at ease. They typically give the victim their card and say if Border Patrol questions you have them call us.
NEXT MEETING is September 6 (no meeting in July). Speaker TBD.
The North San Diego County Human Trafficking Collaborative is a diverse group of individuals and community organizations committed to eliminate human trafficking and modern day slavery. Our mission is to raise awareness of human trafficking, provide a platform to share information, improve services, educate ourselves and the public, and advocate for policy and legislation related to human trafficking