Keeping our kids safe: This week's passage of SESTA is a step toward online safety

ACTION STEP AGAINST TRAFFICKING: Volunteer to help with a video we're making on 4/14/18.  See below for details.

According to Caryl Stern, in an article for CNN on 2/6/18"Every half second, or in the time it takes to click a mouse, a new child goes online for the first time. We know that Internet access provides incredible opportunities, empowering young people to connect with their peers, express themselves, learn about world around them and find solutions to the issues affecting their lives. However, the online world also leaves children vulnerable to risks -- including a new marketplace for human trafficking. Fast to adapt to the latest technologies, traffickers employ various strategies online to exploit, abuse and cause harm to children, challenging the ability of law enforcement to keep up."

In a bipartisan effort, congress looked into the concerns of human trafficking online.  Sarah Mucha's CNN 3/21/18 update says, "In an 18-month investigation conducted by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, part of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, subcommittee Chairman Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, and the committee's top Democrat, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, reported finding that Backpage.com was knowingly selling people online.  "They didn't remove the post because they didn't want to lose the revenue," Portman said on the Senate floor. "And you can imagine, this is a very lucrative business."  

The problem was that, "Under current federal law, websites cannot be held responsible for content published by third parties on their sites."

Congress tackled the problem, creating the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA).  This legislation "Would create an exception to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to allow victims of sex trafficking to sue websites that enabled their abuse. The House version passed with an overwhelming majority from both parties by 388-25 and later received an endorsement from the White House.

This week the Senate also passed SESTA!  Now it goes to President Trump for signing.  This legislation is an important step in the fight against trafficking.  And it's heartening to see that both parties in congress can work together to protect the vulnerable.  

Two thumbs up!
Sue Ann  

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

ON THE CALENDAR
 4-11-18: "STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Join Forces for Prevention" Conference
(No cost 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 dianegoetz4@comcast.net
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


JOIN US AT THE NEXT HOPE4JUSTICE PUBLIC MEETING

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


TAKE ACTIONWhat can YOU do, right here and right now?

Volunteer to help with the Hope4Justice video!  

  • Prior to videotaping: One volunteer is needed to write lines of script on posterboards (between now and April 3, 2018)
  • Day of taping - April 14, 2018:3-4 volunteers are needed to serve as building guides & "go-fors" to show actors where to go in building and help with miscellaneous tasks.
  • Contact info@hope4justice.org to sign up.

Help distribute posters for the "STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING" conference to law enforcement & medical personnel/offices, educators, social workers and/or post them in public locations.  (Conference details at left.)

Email info@hope4justice to make arrangements to pick up posters.Become part of the "Prayer Wall for Engedi Refuge Ministries" by signing up to pray for 30 minutes, once per week.  You'll receive prayer requests and updates via email. 

Email info@hope4justice.org with "Prayer for Engedi" in the subject line.  Include your name & preferred day and time to pray.

 

Volunteer Group Rescues Victims Of Minor Sex Trafficking

ACTION STEP AGAINST TRAFFICKING: We need a few more people to help with a video we're making.  Sound interesting?  See below for details.

"Saved In America" has helped in 60 child recoveries in the past three yearsFormer law enforcement officers, Navy SEALs and other former military members have banded together to form the non-profit "Saved In America".  According to their website, the group works directly with parents, law enforcement agencies, and NGO's to locate missing and runaway children – one of the groups most vulnerable to sexual exploitation. For victims of sexual exploitation, they assist in procuring legal representation, safe housing, and rehabilitative therapy.

A recent Simplemost Facebook article reports, "The co-founder of Saved in America, Joseph Travers, a chaplain and private investigator says he was moved to start the group after hearing the story of Brittanee Drexel, who disappeared in 2009. Drexel is believed to have been kidnapped, raped and murdered. “I knew that street gangs, prison gangs and cartels took over drug trafficking in the 1980s and then they took over sex trafficking at the turn of the century,” said Travers. “When I read about Brittanee Drexel, who disappeared off the face of the planet, I just knew gangs were involved.”

The article goes on to say, "Now, through investigation, surveillance and police collaboration, Travers’s team has assisted in 60 successful child recoveries in the last three years."

Parents aren't charged anything for the assistance of Saved in America.  “All we want to see is, we want to see the recovery of that child and it brought back to where its childhood is not stolen from him or her,” says Master Chief Kirby Horrell, a retired Navy SEAL.

Awesome!  Check out the Saved in America website to learn more.
Sue Ann

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


ON THE CALENDAR
 4-11-18:  FREE "STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Join Forces for Prevention" Conference

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 dianegoetz4@comcast.net
 

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


JOIN US AT THE NEXT HOPE4JUSTICE PUBLIC MEETING

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


TAKE ACTION
What can YOU do, right here and right now?

Volunteer to help with the Hope4Justice video!  

  • Prior to videotaping: One volunteer is needed to write lines of script on posterboards (between now and April 3, 2018)
  • Day of taping - April 14, 2018: 3-4 volunteers are needed to serve as building guides & "go-fors" to show actors where to go in building and help with miscellaneous tasks.
  • Contact info@hope4justice.orgto sign up.

Help distribute posters for the "STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING" conference to law enforcement & medical personnel/offices, educators, social workers and/or post them in public locations.  (Conference details at left.)

Email info@hope4justice to make arrangements to pick up posters.

Become part of the "Prayer Wall for Engedi Refuge Ministries" by signing up to pray for 30 minutes, once per week.  You'll receive prayer requests and updates via email. 

Emailinfo@hope4justice.org with "Prayer for Engedi" in the subject line.  Include your name & preferred day and time to pray.

 

What's happening in law enforcement efforts against trafficking

This week's action steps against trafficking: (1) Sign up for the conference on 4/11/18. (2) Distribute posters for the conference. (3) Sign up for the "Prayer Wall for Engedi Refuge."  Details below.

The headline from the Washington Post, 2/27/18, asks,  "Patrol officers are trained to spot drunken driving and drug trafficking.  Why not child trafficking, too?"  The article highlights a program that trains law enforcement personnel "to spot indicators of child-sex trafficking and conduct roadside investigations."  Prior to implementation of IPC (Interdiction for Protection of Children), there was no comprehensive training program to help patrol officers — those most likely to encounter children in distress — identify missing, exploited or at-risk kids. Since the program was put in place they have rescued 341 children. 

The article says, "One particularly remarkable rescue occurred in July of 2014. In Hidalgo County, then Sgt. Virgil Verduzco of Texas DPS spotted a vehicle with a defective taillight. He stopped the car around 2 a.m., discovering a 20-year-old man, according to his license, and a younger girl. “Police normally think about guns and drugs,” he recalls, “but the training really opens your mind to think about children.”

Verduzco ordered the young man to exit the car and walked him behind the vehicle. “What’s the girl’s name?” he asked. The young man didn’t know. “We met through social media,” he explained. “We’re gonna hang out.”

Verduzco left the man there, then approached the girl and asked for her mother’s number. The woman answered, groggy with sleep. Verduzco named the girl, asking: “Is that your daughter?” “Yes,” she said. “But my daughter’s asleep in her room.”

Verduzco requested that she check, and in a flash she returned, thanking him. He’d recovered a 14-year-old girl — lured out by an adult she met online — before her mother even knew she was missing. Joel Contreras Jr. later pleaded guilty to enticement of a child."

The training has also been shared with other states.  "In April 2015, six children were rescued as part of a 72-hour initiative involving multistate trafficking checkpoints (similar to sobriety checkpoints) led by the Texas DPS. “That may not sound like a staggering number,” said Col. Frank Milstead, director of Arizona’s DPS, when announcing the results, “but I assure you if one of those six kids was your kid, that number is staggering.” Arizona DPS Capt. Jennifer Pinnow says the IPC program has been “vital” in her state, which now tracks child rescues, recording 42 in 2016 and 57 in 2017." 

If you know a law enforcement officer, ask them if they've heard about and/or been trained in the IPC program.  If not, it may be time to talk about how to bring this program to Whatcom County/Washington State.

Sue Ann  

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


ON THE CALENDAR
4-11-18: FREE Skagit Coalition Against Trafficking (SKCAT)"STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Join Forces for Prevention" Conference
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

RSVP to Diane Goetz:dianegoetz4@comcast.net


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 

JOIN US

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


TAKE ACTION

What can YOU do, right here and right now?
Sign up to attend the Skagit Coalition Against Trafficking  (SKCAT) Conference, "STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Join Forces for Prevention" on 4/11/18 and bring someone with you. 

Help distribute posters for the conference to law enforcement & medical personnel/offices, educators, social workers and/or post them in public locations.  Email info@hope4justice to make arrangements to pick up posters.

Become part of the "Prayer Wall for Engedi Refuge Ministries" by signing up to pray for 30 minutes, once per week.  You'll receive prayer requests and updates via email.  Emailinfo@hope4justice.org with "Prayer for Engedi" in the subject line.  Include your name & preferred day and time to pray.

WWU Students responding to God's Call

Students from the International Justice Mission at Western Washington University Club   (IJM at WWU) blessed us with the opportunity to exhibit information about Hope4Justice at their presentation of “Justice(is) LOVE” on February 24th at Norway Hall. “Justice(is) LOVE”was a Two-hour worship and performance experience that took the audience through the realities of global modern-day slavery.  With narration from Ekklesia Pastor Garret Shelsta, several students from IJM at WWU gave heart wrenching renditions depicting victims of Human Trafficking in the role as slaves in a brothel, brick kilns, farms, domestic servitude, and forced labor camps experiencing abuse beyond what we can imagine.  The hope of Justice(is) LOVE was to educate and share opportunities to find practical ways to get involved with the fight to end Human Trafficking.

Hope4Justice is so proud of all the students whom faithfully involve themselves with the IJM at WWU Club; responding to God’s call to seek justice, to care for the orphan and the widow, and to set the oppressed free.  Throughout the school year the IJM at WWU Club meets every other Monday to connect with students at WWU and members of the Bellingham community to raise awareness about social injustice and put an end to Huan Trafficking. Along with Justice(is) LOVE, awareness includes International Justice Mission activities such as Freedom Fast, Dresscember, and last weekend’s Stand for Freedom (Standing at WWU’s Red Square for 24 hours to raise awareness about the issue of Human Trafficking).

Hope4Justice and IJM at WWU could not do this work without God's help. Please continue to Pray with all of us as we seek justice for the oppressed.

Note:EVERYONE WISH NATASHA BENNETT (THE FOUNDER OF IJM at WWU) A HAPPY GRADUATION AND THANK HER FOR ALL SHE HAS DONE FOR THIS CLUB AND FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING!


Bob

You are invited to our 2018 Engedi Refuge Ministries Annual Gala
 
Restoring Hope                    

Saturday, March 10
Four Points Sheraton
714 Lakeway Drive
Bellingham, WA

5:30 PM - 9PM
                      

Your Invited.  Join us for a night of celebration, inspiration, fun, and meaningful charity were YOU make the difference.  Enjoy a delicious plated dinner, compelling stories of human trafficking survivors, and inspiring messages from Engedi Staff and others. 

Individual tickets: $55, Sponsored Table (10): $600

Visit the address below to purchase your tickets:

Buy Now

Rebound of Whatcom County

It’s that time of year again!  

Visit any Woods Coffee location in Whatcom County on Friday, March 9th

and receive a free 12 ounce coffee drink of your choice in exchange for a $5 donation to Rebound!

If you are a business, consider purchasing a “Coffee Break” for your staff – includes a complete Woods Coffee service, and a platter of scones and/or cookies delivered to your door on Thursday, March 8th.   Click herefor an order form.

Coffee Break orders are due no later than Monday, February 26th