“After the training ended, one of the educators approached us and asked to talk. She said that she had been a victim of trafficking, and that her trafficker had sat right across from her in a high school class. She knew the importance of our message first-hand…

That day, the room was full of educators, most of whom worked with middle schoolers. Ryan and I (Christa) had finished a one-hour presentation about what trafficking is and what it looks like in our schools.

As educators, they are often on the front-lines, whether they know it or not, interacting with students and building relationships with families.  With the right background knowledge, they might be the ones to identify vulnerabilities and build support, to identify victims, and to recognize traffickers on their own campuses, but they need to know what to look for.  Of course the audience was responsive. They work in the schools because they care about kids, and as we shared stories of the realities of trafficking in our community, they could recognize students from their own schools.  

One of the students we worked with last year shared this story which stands out to me as a powerful example of what we’re all working hard to prevent. 

“The story I told you today about the guy who wanted to pick me up…I kinda thought about wanting to get in the car but then I thought that It was wrong and something could happen to me.

But I also thought about what would happen then if I got in, and I thought about our group and heard stories about what happened to the girls. And I did not want that happening to me. So I thank you for being here (and sharing your stories and stuff. I don’t know what I would do without this group.”

lifechanging18

We have had 97 students complete our extended youth programs so far this year! We have given Human Trafficking 101 presentations in a variety of settings and to a number of different professional groups. We have trained social workers, teachers, medical professionals, group home supervisors, and community members. It is easy to believe that we know where trafficking happens and who is at risk.  We read stories and watch movies and we think we have an idea of who is safe and who really needs this information. What we know after all of these presentations, is that everyone needs to be educated.  In every profession, in every neighborhood, in every school, in every church, there is someone affected by human trafficking. Everyone has the potential to be an advocate, to offer help to someone who needs it.  They may never identify themselves to you as a victim of human trafficking, but the resources you will gain can be used in a variety of situations to offer assistance and support. If we have not yet been to your community, your workplace, your school, you can be the one to invite us!  You can speak to the decision-makers in your area. You can even go online right now and fill out a speaker request form. It only takes a few minutes. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Please consider donating NOW so we can reach more people! Every dollar is matched today through Friday. We urgently ask for YOU to help us reach our goal of $25,000 to prevent trafficking!

Freedom Fund Info Graphic 2018

 –  by Christa Wiens and Jessica Pittman

 

Happy Thanksgiving! We at CVJC have a long list of thanks and praise to offer up to God this year! We hope and pray that whatever your circumstances, you also are experiencing great joy and gratitude this week.

We are beyond thankful for each of you as our partners, and for the amazing faith communities that have embraced this justice journey with us.

We invite you to attend one of our two Freedom Sunday Trainings on January 6th and 8th! If you haven’t participated in Freedom Sunday as a faith community, please join us this year as we observe it together in the Central Valley on February 1, 2015. Freedom Sunday is a day for believers and communities to offer prayer and worship on behalf of those enslaved. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn more about and respond to human trafficking on a local level.

Our trainings in January prepare you to lead a 5-minute focus on human trafficking at your place of worship. We provide resources, walk you through a “Freedom Sunday focus”, and present a drama. Please note the RSVP date! (If you miss the deadline, please email us to see if there’s still space.) Learn more here…and hope to see you in January!

Freedom Sunday Training 2015

You are welcome to join Valley Christian Center as they host our very own Jessica Pittman presenting “Seeking Justice Together” an hour long presentation on human trafficking in our community and how we can respond. Jessica will share a basic understanding of this broad issue from a faith based perspective; addressing some of the specific realities in our region and the available resources to serve victims and survivors. Q & A will be available during the last 15 minutes. This is a great opportunity to share with someone who is being introduced to this topic for the first time or who would just like to be connected locally.

 

Location: Valley Christian Center, 4649 E. Shields, Fresno, 93726

by jessica pittman, co-director

The Central Valley Justice Coalition has had some thought provoking discussions about this in the past (such as last week!) and this article addresses a few of many terms that we must choose to use or not use depending on the context.  Should we describe victims of human trafficking as slaves? Modern day slaves? What justifies this language choice, and are we thinking at all about how it influences people who hear it? How does it influence the people it describes?

Check out this blog as the author reflects on these questions as well, and post either here or there…and maybe we can all just think. about. our. words.

What do YOU think?

(please note, the blog we have referenced does not necessarily reflect the views of CVJC)