Awareness in Whatcom County

Buses get the word out!

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You can't fight a problem if you don't know it exists.  And there are many people that don't believe trafficking happens here. 

In October, we heard from our city and county law enforcement that yes, trafficking definitely happens in Whatcom County.  It happens in Lynden, in Sumas, in Ferndale, in Bellingham, on the Lummi Reservation -- you get the picture.  It happens everywhere. 

To increase awareness of this issue, Hope4Justice is sponsoring an awareness campaign on Whatcom Transit buses from November 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019.  Watch for our banner on the back of select buses that traverse the county and have a conversation about trafficking with the person beside you when you see it!
SAH

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit  www.hope4justice.org/learnmore/ 

WARNING SIGNS THAT AN INDIVIDUAL IS BEING TRAFFICKED: (downloadable pdf from Shared Hope)
 Signs of physical abuse such as burn marks, bruises or cuts
 Unexplained absences from school, truancy
 Less appropriately dressed than before
 Sexualized behavior
 Overly tired or falls asleep in class
 Withdrawn, depressed, or distracted
 Brags about making or having lots of money
 Displays expensive clothes, accessories, or shoes
 New tattoo (tattoos are often used by pimps as a way to brand victims.)
 Older boyfriend, new friends with a different lifestyle, or gang involvement
 Disjointed family connections, running away, living with friends, or experiencing homelessness


"Justice" for the Rich & Powerful

A Story of Underage Trafficking & Abuse 
by a man with money and power

The Nov. 29, 2018 edition of the New York Times tells how a rich and powerful man, Jeffery Epstein, struck a deal to avoid federal criminal charges for his crimes of sexual abuse and trafficking.  He avoided a federal indictment and served only 13 months ",,,in the Palm Beach County Stockade — the local jail — under an extraordinary arrangement that allowed him to leave and work out of his office six days a week."

The NY Times says"The sordid case against Jeffrey E. Epstein, who was accused of paying dozens of underage girls for sexual massages in Florida, appeared to end a decade ago. The wealthy New York financier struck a deal to avoid any federal criminal charges, enraging some of his victims who got no say in the agreement, which they deemed far too lenient."  The article goes on to tell that "...young women described how Mr. Epstein had solicited girls as young as 14 and 15 for nude massages, which sometimes ended in masturbation, oral sex or, in at least one case, forcible rape.

The encounters took place from 1999 to 2005 in Mr. Epstein’s mansions in Palm Beach, New York and the United States Virgin Islands. Some of the girls were runaways or foster children without permanent homes; in some cases, Mr. Epstein would ask them to recruit other girls, his victims told the police."


It looks like justice may still happen because "...the victims and their lawyers have continued to fight in civil court, long after Mr. Epstein, who pleaded guilty to lesser state charges of soliciting prostitution, completed his sentence in a county lockup, registered as a sex offender and became a free man.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin next week in a West Palm Beach, Fla., courtroom for a civil trial that — for the first time — could give Mr. Epstein’s victims, who are now adults, a chance to publicly testify about their attempts to win justice after the sexual abuse they endured as children."

Let's pray for justice in this case and other cases in which "deals" have been struck that favor the powerful and devalue the child victim.  And let's pray for the victims that endured  the abuse and still carry the emotional scars of it. 
SAH

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit  www.hope4justice.org/learnmore/ 

Comfort & Joy" event is this week! 

Join Rebound of Whatcom County’s “Comfort & Joy” Winter Fundraiser, celebrating the Christmas Season and how Rebound’s services bring comfort and joy to children and families in need in our community.

When: Friday, December 7, 2018; 5:00 - 9:00 pm
Where: Bellingham Technical College, Settlemyer Hall, 3028 Lindbergh Ave., Bellingham, WA
What: Buffet Dinner, beverages, dessert.  Semi-formal atttire suggested
Cost: $75 per person

Purchase tickets online at www.reboundfamilies.org by November 28th (some tickets may be available at the door)