Many of us are looking to earn some money over the summer, so it’s important to know your rights. Flip through to learn more and message us on Instagram if you have questions!
Common scenarios for labor trafficking include traveling sales crews and peddling operations. In traveling sales crews, young people are recruited to move from city to city selling cheap goods, such as candy, magazines, or other trinkets for little or no pay.7 In peddling operations, they are required to solicit “charitable” donations on the street or in shopping centers.8 Another common form of forced labor involves coerced drug dealing; of 641 homeless youth interviewed for a large 2016 study, 7% said they had been forced to sell drugs, often for gangs. These reports constituted 81% of all instances of forced labor that youth in the study said they experienced.
Wow! Are we already through a third of 2022?! Let me be real, friends … it has been BRUTAL.
Our whole team and our families have been faced with some pretty big and serious challenges since Christmas, 2021. Covid, post-Covid complications, tensions in the anti-trafficking community, loss of donors (and subsequently, money), more work than we have hours to give, stretched thin and living in the constant tension of potentially reaching the breaking point …
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
That might sound a bit dramatic, but I can assure you, I’m Australian, we don’t do dramatic. But in all seriousness, this has been our reality and many tears have been shed and shared within the walls of our tiny, downtown-basement office.
Let me reassure everyone that we are absolutely not going to break. We deeply and genuinely believe that our work is crucial. We believe in it. We are motivated.
As a newbie on staff whom (yes, I actually say that word) has not yet developed any of our educational content nor have I engaged with any at-risk individuals that we provide direct services for, must say on behalf of my humble team … that if we give up, there really isn’t anyone else that can do what we do. No one else can do it the way that we do it, and our absence would really hurt our whole community.
Scot McKnight recently taught us that, “Justice is doing the right thing at the right time.” This isn’t a very popular thing to do. Recenytly. doing the right thing has cost us. But we will choose to be unpopular. Every. Single. Time.
We stand for justice in many ways but our main focus has and always will be to prevent human trafficking. Prevention work is vital. Benjamin Franklin said it perfectly, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
In the context of human trafficking prevention education, the Justice Coalition’s absolute BEST story is, “We taught a class and nothing happened!” Doesn’t sound very sexy, does it? But it is a 100% successful outcome. The same can be said for our at-risk direct services. We get to intervene and, in many cases, help prevent individuals from further exploitation.
Prevention work is rarely credited because it is not quantifiable and there is no purely accurate way to collect data that will contribute to a measurable result.
So, whilst (yep, I also say that) the equitable work we do is often impossible to measure, almost unidentifiable, highly unpopular, and not always attractive, we are asking that you stand for justice with us.
We can’t continue to prevent human trafficking in the Central Valley of California and beyond without your support!
Teaching people in-person is my favorite. Whatever the age group, I find so much joy in connecting with real live people in the same physical location.
I know, however, that it’s not everyone’s preferred way to learn, nor is it always possible. Education changes culture, and a changed culture is necessary for preventing exploitation. Thus, we need to embrace every option that allows us to reach as many people as humanly possible.
When it comes to the Justice Coalition’s classes, there has never been a surefire equation for finding the right time and day for the most people to attend. Inevitably, the day social workers would like to come is not the day pastors are able to come. We have been fortunate to have so many wonderful volunteers on our presentation team, yet it can still be challenging to schedule classes for each request and host classes open to the public as well.
Our online self-paced class through Fresno Pacific University addresses many of these challenges and provides content we are really proud of. If you have taken our classes before, you know that we care deeply about providing engaging content that points toward hope and action, even in a dark and challenging subject, and this class is no exception. We have had students from all ages and with varying levels of experience and expertise in the subject of human trafficking, and 100% of those who completed the course have said this course increased their understanding of human trafficking.
If you are reading this, I hope you will consider taking HBM-020 through Fresno Pacific University. Even if you have taken our classes before, there are new things to learn here. We have plans for offering more content in online, self-paced formats, so please be on the lookout for that and share with others who could benefit.
If you or someone you know is:
•not getting paid for their labor
•not free to change employers
•being controlled by someone else
•being forced to do something they don't want to do
•has been cheated into payment of debt upon arrival
You, he, or she may be a victim of human trafficking and eligible for free assistance.
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888.373.7888 for more information. Or, text INFO or HELP to BEFREE (233733)
Contact us at 559.725.1865 for support, resources, and consultation. You can also contact the Fresno Police Tip Line at 559. 621.5950.