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.
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:firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.