This week's action steps:
Sign up and attend the Skagit Coalition Against Trafficking conference this Wednesday, 4/11/18. Details below.
Whatcom County high school, WCC and WWU students must turn in applications for the STEP scholarship by 4/15/18.
Something BIG happened this week!
On Friday, April 6, 2018 media headlines announced that Backpage.com had been shut down. Yahoo.com said, "U.S. law enforcement agencies have seized the sex marketplace website Backpage.com as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a posting on the Backpage website on Friday."
The website, used primarily to sell sex, has been a huge money maker. "Launched in 2004, Backpage has affiliates across the country and around the world, and by 2014 brought in annual revenue of $135 million," reports Yahoo.com. It's fair to say that a lot of that money was made by selling underage minors. "The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has told Congress that nearly three quarters of the cases submitted to the center relate to ads posted on the site."
Backpage hasn't cared that minors -- or adults -- were sexually exploited. They fought back against legal challenges and took advantage of a loophole in the law, raking in millions without regard to the horrific reality that was happening. But the law has changed. "The U.S. Senate passed (the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act or FOSTA) legislation last month making it easier for state prosecutors and sex-trafficking victims to sue social media networks, advertisers and others that fail to keep sex trafficking and other exploitative materials off their platforms."
It's a big victory in the fight against trafficking.
Also, there was a huge victory this week for a young child whose father was trying to sell her on Craigslist. An online source, ia.meaww.com reported "...that a Wisconsin father and US Army man who tried to pimp his 4-year-old daughter on classified advertisements site Craigslist in 2015 was sentenced to 60 years in prison last week."
A four year old pimped out on Craigslist. By her father. Unbelievable.
However, change is happening on Craigslist, too. In response to the FOSTA legislation, Craigslist has announced that it will shut down its personals section which has been used to solicit sex in the past.
The evil of trafficking hasn't been eliminated but at least there are some positive actions being taken against it. Let's pray for more.
Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit http://www.hope4justice.org/the-facts/
4-11-18: "STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Join Forces for Prevention" Conference
(Free to attend)
When: Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Registration at 7:30 am. Conference ends at noon.
Where: Swinomish Casino, Anacortes
Guest Speakers:Suamhirs Piraino-Guzman, Sr. Program Coordinator, WA Advisory Committee on Trafficking (WARM)
Catherine Crisham, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Human Trafficking
Breakout Groups: Law Enforcement/Social Worker, Education, Medical, General Public
Conference sponsored by Skagit Coalition Against Trafficking
RSVP to Diane Goetz at firstname.lastname@example.org
5-5-18: (Note corrected date)
Men of Dignity "A Men's Rally for Holiness"
When: May 5, 2018; 6:30-8:30 pm
Where: Hillcrest Chapel, Bellingham, WA
Details at www.MenofDignity.com
The next Hope4Justice quarterly public meeting will be from 7-8:30 pm on May 15, 2018. Put it on your calendar now!
Directions to Engedi Counseling Center: From Wiser Lake roundabout head North on Guide Meridian; immediately after Simple Box Storage Containers turn right into the driveway and drive to the second building on the left