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At the end of each Not a Number youth session, during the fifth and final week, each student is asked to fill out a reflection form. Many have given us permission to share these reflections with you! When referring to Not a Number, one participant said, “It is very enlightening and eye opening because [human trafficking] is unknown. It teaches you about perspective and critical thinking as well as preparing you to create safety plans.” This is why we’re excited to share that Not a Number begins tonight. We have seven students enrolled and space for three more if you have been wanting to join or to sign up your teen. (This class is for boys and girls ages 12-18! More info including short videos can be found on our website.)

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Once CVJC has a permission slip, youth will dive into topics related to human trafficking such as: what is human trafficking, social media, healthy relationships, and safety planning. During the program, students will be provided with snacks, a resource guide to help with safety and advocacy, and a certificate of completion at the end of the last module. There are 3 more spots available as of now and we encourage those interested to register asap, it’s not too late! (It will be soon, obviously, class starts in about five hours! It will be the last opportunity to enroll in this class this year…)

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Teens in this program learn that they are “Not a Number” within negative statistics of human trafficking. However, we hope that by adding to our number of over 9,700 individuals educated, these same teens will be empowered to make a positive difference.

Please join us in prayer for these students who start our class tonight! Devin-Alexus Marin and Renee Lane are facilitating this class and I am thrilled to support them in every way.

To contact us with questions email info@justiceco.org or call 559-227-8001. To reach us after hours for this class or any other time sensitive reason, contact our Resource Line at 559-725-1865.

Thank you,

Marissa Garcia

The goal of our classes is to not only address the issue of human trafficking but also to give the general public (alongside with service providers) the basic information on how to spot a potential trafficking victim and what to do from there.

The whole goal is to prevent human trafficking through education! HT 101 breaks down the essence of all types of human trafficking with more of an emphasis on sex trafficking, highlighting recruitment, vulnerabilities, and misconceptions. HT 201 pin points and focuses on labor trafficking both globally and locally. In a recent partnership with Breaking the Chains, we have incorporated a new HT 301 which is a boots-on-the-ground training where service providers in different fields come to be better prepared to work with and offer help to potential victims they come across.

I have had the distinct pleasure of becoming a part of the prevention team; it has been very liberating and even more so, encouraging! I believe that it is very important to give survivors an opportunity to be more than their story and experiences, that is where true growth and healing come from. 

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Previously, I was stuck in a place where all I did was share my story and I felt that was all that I was good at even though I longed to teach about the issues at hand not just my own experience. Central Valley Justice Coalition got me certified in all of the HT classes, paid for me to get trained in My Life, My Choice and in turn, now I help teach most of the HT 101 classes and now help facilitate MLMC classes in many different settings to reach our young students and at-risk youth.

I would like to invite all those who are reading this to sign up for one if not all of the HT classes. With the knowledge gained in these classes, you will feel empowered and equipped with a better understanding of the problem of human trafficking that plagues our city.

–  Arien Pauls, Justice Coalition board member, educator, advocatejoin us for classes!

This week we got to celebrate our country’s Independence Day as we have each and every year since our founding. America is a place that is built on the idea of equality and freedom for all. Though we outlawed slavery over 200 years ago, it still persists in our own country. According to new 2016 data from the Global Slavery Index, there are an estimated 45.8 million people in some form of modern slavery in 167 countries.

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According to those same numbers, there are nearly 58,000 people caught in modern day slavery in the United States today. California leads the nation in cases reported by state (Polaris Project) with over 1,300 incidences of human trafficking last year, almost double any other state!

Our faith (and our basic humanity) demands a response to this grave injustice. While we enjoy pool parties, barbecues, and fireworks, there are tens of thousands of people who aren’t just missing out on the American Dream, they are missing out on basic human rights.

So, what can one person do to respond to human trafficking in our country and the world beyond? A whole lot, it turns out! You can join us by becoming a monthly partner. We just completed a 50/50 Challenge Drive where we fell short of our goal of 50 new donors but added 31. We will continue to push for more monthly supporters as it enables us to do the crucial work of preventing people from being exploited as slaves!

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You can get educated in one of our HT 101, 201 or Boots on the Ground Training courses. These classes will give you the information and tools you need to become a freedom fighter!

You can get involved in a mentoring program, like Project Stealth or CASA Fresno/Madera. You can join us in praying for the end of slavery.

Whatever you choose to do, DO SOMETHING! There’s no reason to sit on the sidelines. Together, we can make a difference! Contact us at 559.227.8001 if you have any questions at all.

Ryan Townsend, executive director

 

Hello everyone and Happy New Year to you all!

On behalf of the Justice Coalition, I am writing to invite your church/faith community to participate in this year’s Freedom Sunday on February 26th. We are busy putting together special “Freedom Sunday in a box” packs that will make it simple for your church to host anywhere from a 5-minute window to an entire worship service.

Freedom Sunday 2017 is coming! from Central Valley Justice Coalition on Vimeo.

Freedom Sunday is an internationally recognized day for the church body to focus on worship, prayer, and action in response to human trafficking (and other forms of slavery), the fastest growing crime in the world.

We will have all of our resources, including a brand-new Freedom Story video, ready to be distributed by January 24th, when we will host a training and informational meeting at Northpark Community Church from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm in Room 202. You, or a representative from your church, are invited to join us to learn how to simply engage your church in responding to human trafficking from a Christ-centered perspective.

For the first time, this year, we have the capacity to send as many as 15 different speakers to churches across the city. If you’d like to book one of our educators to come speak please reply to this email or call us at 227-8001.

Hope to see you all on January 24th!

Northpark Church is located at 2297 E. Shepherd Ave Fresno, CA 93720.

God bless,

Ryan

Last month, Melissa Gomez of Central Valley Against Human Trafficking and myself were invited by the Fresno State Title IV-E Child Welfare department to present at the 17th Annual Harry Specht Memorial Symposium.

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The event, held annually to honor MSW and BA Social Work graduates, was titled Human Trafficking: Seeking Justice. Continuing Education Credit was offered to current social workers and those in the field of child welfare and we were given an hour and a half to train and educate on issues/interventions affecting foster youth pertaining to trafficking.

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It was truly an honor and privilege to be able to address a room of well over 100 professionals and graduates and have the opportunity to equip them to join the fight against human trafficking. The foster system has long been a place where vulnerable youth have been exploited and trafficked. Social workers are an essential piece of any strategy to prevent trafficking and to intervene on behalf of those who are victims.

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One highlight was me was hearing from Jamelia Hinds Vicks, whom we featured in our latest Freedom Story video. Jamelia’s story was shown on several screens and then she followed up with the latest developments in her story. Jamelia continues to grow as a speaker and advocate and I am continually inspired by her resilience and courage.

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We’d like to extend a special thanks to Maggie Armistead, Fresno State faculty, for inviting us and the rest of the department for making HT awareness and prevention an educational priority for current and future social workers!

Ryan Townsend, Executive Director