Central Valley Justice Coalition is pleased to present Freedom Week 2012!
We have the privilege of partnering with co-sponsors, Central Valley Freedom Coalition, Faith.Hope.Love, EOC Sanctuary, and We Are One for this unique week to empower the community to end slavery.
During Freedom Week, we will have opportunities to gain knowledge and a greater understanding of the issue of human trafficking specifically in our own community, join with other in seeking God’s heart, and not only learn how we can join together to bring holistic and lasting change in the lives of those impacted by human trafficking and our community so that human trafficking can no longer exist, but have opportunities to take action.
We are partnering with organizations that are part of the fight in their respective fields. We are also seeking to build partnerships with churches and groups in planning and participating in Freedom Week and beyond. And we also want to partner with you, community members in the Central Valley.
We invite you to join in, tell others, and seek God’s heart together with us in how He wants to change us, our community, and the lives of others so that slavery no more will exist in the Central valley.
Go to the Freedom Week Website for more information.

We have a volunteer meeting on Tuesday, January 10, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. at Fresno First Baptist. Follow the link for more info.

California Against Slavery just launched a petition drive for the California Against Sexual Exploitation Act. See our previous post for more information.

Like to help gain signatures so that this initiative can make it on the November ballot and live in the Fresno or Tulare County area? Sign up on the CAS website, then contact your county’s CAS Volunteer Leader

Natischa of Faith.Hope.Love is the new coordinator for Fresno County and can be reached at info@fhl-ministries.com.

Brandi of Central Valley Justice Coalition is the contact for Tulare County and may be reached at 725-1865 or brandi.nusevillegas@yahoo.com

Devotion Meditation

“Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother and in His name all oppression shall cease.”

Jesus’ incarnation was the realization of the hope that our  weary world  longed for. Jesus, the beloved Son of God, became man to bring justice in the world; to reconcile us to Himself through His death and resurrection; to bring wholeness and healing everywhere there is brokenness.

This season, spend time savoring and meditating on the  promises He declared in such scriptures as  Is. 9:1-7, Is. 42, Is. 60, and Is. 61,  that were realized in Christ. Savor hymns like O Holy Night.  Savor Him. Let it fill you with hope of the reality of the Light that has come, that is relentlessly reaching into every dark place to bring life and justice, and that no place is too big or small. Pray for those impacted by human trafficking, such as victims, perpetrators, and communities, with confidence in His persistent love and life up every burden in your life in the light of His extravagant grace. Rest in His love and rejoice in Him.

O Holy Night, Sara Groves

In order to reach out to more to of our communiy and best share information and resources, Central Valley Justice Coalition has several new social media pages.
We are now sharing updates and other information on Google+ , Twitter under CVJC_Updates,
Tumblr, Myspace, and Facebook, both a general information sharing page and a group for those interested in staying involved and supporting CVJC.
Help us get others informed and involved by sharing these with those in your circle who would be interested.
We also have a new website for Freedom Week.

Human trafficking is exploitation of vulnerability.
That is the unofficial definition articulated by Dr. Lauran Bethell, who has worked for decades with individuals trapped in modern slavery.
Dr. Bethell shared her wisdom and experience at our Lead To Freedom event on Thursday, November 3.
Modern slavery is happening in our very communities, trapping our own children and neighbors in an emotional,physical, and psychological prison of abuse and exploitation.
Traffickers prey upon vulnerabilities their victims possess.
These vulnerabilities include, but is not limited to, experience of childhood sexual abuse, poverty (which not only may include lack of material resources, but lack of support systems and other resources), lack of understanding of rights, and vulnerability to grooming.
Regarding this last point, Dr. Bethell explains that sex traffickers sometimes get their victims by posing as “loverboys” or “Romeos.” They pretend to show interest in a girl, showering the girl with attention and affection. They tend to look out for girls who display some level of low self-image, she said, in some cases by complimenting passing girls in a public place and watching their response. They play on the girl’s need to be valued, desired, and appreciated. The girl is drawn into what she perceives as a romantic relationship. When the girl is deeply emotionally invested, and the relationship becomes sexual, the “loverboy” at some point begins to coerce her to engage in sex acts for money, often, at first, assuring her that he loves her and it’s not a big deal, and eventually becoming more forceful, controlling, and more aggressive in abuse.
Regardless of her complicity at any point, the girl is a victim of human trafficking, as defined by federal law.
What we need to realize is that this could happen to a child in our neighborhood, in our church, in our family, no matter the demographics. It IS happening in our communities, and as a community these are OUR children.
The victim may not have experienced any of the other “red flags” of vulnerability. In an example in “In Our Backyard- A Christian Perspective on Human Trafficking in the United States” by Nita Belles(highly recommended), the victim was a girl in a middle- class Christian family.
As Dr. Bethell pointed out, girls commonly struggle with self-image in their teens, and she noted that if she was preyed upon in this fashion, she just as likely could have been a victim.
We want to encourage you today to seek God in how to stand for the vulnerable in our community. There are other who are being exploited in different situations, such as immigrant workers, but our call is the same. The church is send to partner in protecting the vulnerable and bringing freedom to the oppressed.
One of the first steps is awareness of what is happening in our communities and educating our youth. Also, do not underestimate the power of affirmation you can give to a child.
Contact us about how you can get involved.

CVJC wants to thank all those who attended our Lead To Freedom week. We are truly encouraged and excited about the partnerships that are continuing to build and the opportunities ahead of us.
We also want to thank Dr. Lauran Bethell for coming to the Central Valley just for our event and sharing her wisdom and experience regarding modern slavery.