My journey with the Central Valley Justice Coalition began years ago when I was first resourced as a survivor of human trafficking and everything else progressed from there. I started off as a volunteer assisting with the Human Trafficking 101 (now Understanding Human Trafficking) classes. Eventually, I joined the team as a volunteer prevention educator. In 2017, I accepted an invitation from the Justice Coalition board of directors and served for two-and-half consecutive years before taking this new opportunity to become a staff member.
“I believe God placed me with this amazing organization. I am a person who believes strongly that there is a time for everything and that timing is God’s alone!“
After waiting eight years to get an official job position within the anti-human trafficking movement, I believe God placed me with this amazing organization. I am a person who believes strongly that there is a time for everything and that timing is God’s alone! Equipped with both my lived experience and years of hands-on work in this field, plus a love for working with youth and at-risk populations, I knew I would be the perfect fit for the position of Program Manager.
Statement from Justice Coalition leadership: Arien Pauls is a driven advocate and an active leader in the Central Valley of California, fighting the issue of human trafficking by collaborating with local agencies and sharing her personal experiences to help implement change for victims and survivors of human trafficking. She has also served her first two-year term on the California CSEC Action Team Advisory Board. Arien has also worked as a volunteer as a lead victim advocate for adult women at Breaking the Chains, an organization that provides services to survivors of human trafficking.
In 2018, Arien was awarded the Eva Murillo Unsung Hero Award by the United States Congress. Her other interests include creating art for her small business, vintage memorabilia, parenting her daughter and wedding planning, as she will marry her best friend in December 2020. Currently, Arien is enrolled at Grand Canyon University, where she is pursuing a B.S. degree in Justice Studies.
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 email@example.com 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.
“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.”
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!
CVJC continues to lead guided prayer times in the areas of our city most impacted by human trafficking. If you want to learn more about human trafficking related issues in our community and find out how to pray accordingly, we invite you to join us! We will walk the streets in small groups led by the Justice Coalition’s staff and pray together as we seek God’s heart and vision for our neighborhoods.
Friday, February 28th
Find out more HERE (click to read more about this month’s prayer night)
To reserve your spot, download the waiver to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Wednesday, February 26th. PRAYfor FREEDOM_waiver2014
Remember to join us for our Partner’s Gathering on Tuesday, March 4th at 12pm! We will spend time assessing the realities of human trafficking in our community based on specific criteria, and value your input as we move into a new season as a Coalition and as a city.
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.