Every January, people across the country commemorate National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Of course, for us, though every month we work tirelessly to prevent human trafficking and exploitation we welcome this opportunity to shine a light on the world’s second-largest criminal enterprise. On Tuesday of this week, we joined with city leaders and partner organizations from the Pledge 2 Stop Trafficking in raising funds. Check out KSEE 24’s coverage of P2ST and visit P2ST.org to learn more. Additionally, hear from Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama in this video, courtesy of GV Wire.
Gary Haugen, founder of IJM, said it best. “Nothing happens just because we are aware of modern-day slavery, but nothing will ever happen until we are.”
With that fact in mind, we are moving forward to make our crucial prevention education resources available to as many people as possible! This month we are making multiple classes available for free download, we have joined with partners in raising the profile of human trafficking victims and survivors in our city and we are gearing up for a busy/productive 2022.
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.)
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…)
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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, advocate