Sometimes people wonder why we, the Justice Coalition, get involved in advocacy in addition to education/direct service. There are many reasons behind our involvement in advocating for change relating to preventing human trafficking. For the sake of not going too far into tl;dr territory, here are the most important reasons.
- Scripture calls us to use our voices for those whose voices cannot be heard. Proverbs 31:8 (NIV) says “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Further, we see that God’s eyes are turned towards those who are oppressed.Psalms: 34: 15 – 18 (NIV) emphasizes that “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
- Systemic oppression requires systemic change. Helping one person at a time is vital work but it won’t prevent someone else from being exploited in the future. One reason why traffickers have thrived is that our laws have been slow to change in order to reflect new realities. New legislation is needed to confront evolving criminal activities that enslave the vulnerable.
- In our system, elected officials are supposed to be accountable to the people who voted them into office. I get it, a lot of us don’t want to rely on the government to solve all of our problems. I hope that we all are doing something personally, individually to fight the evil of human trafficking. However, we need more than just individuals to combat modern-day slavery. Cartels and gangs are organized, powerful forces for evil. We need local, state and federal governments to get equally committed to fighting for justice. The reality is that we can’t solve this problem without the government, faith community, businesses, schools and community benefit organizations working together!
Advocacy usually involves getting government, business, schools, or some other large institution (also known as Goliath) to correct an unfair or harmful situation affecting people in the community (also known as David, and friends). The situation may be resolved through persuasion, by forcing Goliath to buckle under pressure, by compromise, or through political or legal action. – Prue Breitrose
Learn more from the Community Tool Box, a resource from the University of Kansas
Human Trafficking 101 and 201 have been a major focus for us this year and we are so excited about the learning and community mobilization that is happening as a result of these classes!
This year, 2 of the 3 classes we have offered have sold out, with a total of 134 attending so far just in the first quarter of the year. We say it each time and mean it: each person who comes is taking a HUGE step towards preventing modern day slavery in our community and in our world.
“It (HT 101 class) is eye-opening and busts a lot of myths, also shows what I can do to help.” – class participant
For three hours, participants learn the local and global realities of trafficking and hear real life stories about how it affects men, women, and children who live in our community. It is our hope and prayer that each person leaves knowing ways to take action both immediately and in the future.
In March we offered our first ever Human Trafficking 201 course, developed by our newest staff member, Education Coordinator Christa Wiens. HT 201 focuses on the global realities of trafficking, conscious consumerism, the impact of legislation, and offers participants a chance to hear from other community leaders such as the Fresno Police Department.
CVJC is thrilled to have Christa Wiens in this expanded staff role, as she’s volunteered with us for over two years and is constantly making our presentations and workshops better. Christa is an extremely gifted communicator, and she demonstrates her passion for justice in her day-to-day life.
If you haven’t taken our class, plan ahead now to join us in September! Also, we are constantly needing more people on our prevention team as we receive more and more requests for workshops. Contact our office to get more involved today!
My Life My Choice is an evidence-based prevention curriculum that provides a concrete, well-researched method for preventing commercial sexual exploitation among vulnerable adolescent girls.
My Life My Choice groups can be offered weekly in schools, group homes, and other community settings.
This past Monday and Tuesday, CVJC and Youth For Christ hosted over 50 people who were trained to facilitate the class at Fresno EOC’s Nielsen Conference Center. We were excited to offer the training to 6 of our educators in preparation to offer this resource across the valley in 2016.
YFC and CVJC have already partnered together to offer two full sessions and two mini-sessions of My Life My Choice at the Juvenile Justice Campus. As a result of this partnership, 5 girls have already disclosed that they were victims of trafficking or abuse.
“I really enjoyed the classes we have been able to come to. I can never explain how much this has helped me. Before this, I wouldn’t even talk about my past. I felt chained down and scared. Now, shoot! I feel free and I feel stronger than I ever have. I have high hopes for a better future. And thank you for all you guys have done for us. I could never thank ya’ll enough for helping me find my voice.” – Teen Survivor of Sex Trafficking
For more information on how you can partner with us to bring My Life My Choice to at-risk to youth in your field, please contact Associate Director Jessica Pittman, jessica@cvjusticecoalition, or call our office 559.227.8001.