Posts Tagged ‘Stop Human Trafficking Action Group’

As the local human trafficking task force fights to bring an end to trafficking in our area, they are met with a constant challenge: how to effectively support the survivors.

One successful idea has been to have events for the survivors so they may socialize in a safe environment with other survivors and their caseworkers as well as community helpers. Our human trafficking awareness group, a collaboration of local churches, hosted such an event.

We chose a crafting theme which included several kids crafts, card making, glass etching, and bracelet making. Everyone enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of friendly conversation with a backdrop of fun 50s and 60s music.

The afternoon was topped off with a delicious lunch of burgers from In N’Out for which everyone cheered. Yum!


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Posted: July 1, 2016 in Meetings
Stop Human Trafficking Action Group monthly meeting

3rd Thursday of every month, 7:00p
St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, 8345 Talbert Ave. Huntington Beach, room 1

Holy Spirit Church’s Respect Life monthly meeting

1st Tuesday of every month, 7:00p.
This meeting is at a residence, if you would like to attend please send an email to for more information.

Long Beach Human Trafficking Task Force meeting

1st Thursday of every month, 11:30a-1:00p
Salvation Army Long Beach Citadel Corps,  6000 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach

CPC Amos 5:24 Ministry meeting

1st & 3rd Sunday of every month, 7:45a
Christ Pacific Church, 20112 Magnolia St., Huntington Beach, room 208 conference room.

Sex Trafficking Community Forum

2nd Monday of every month,  6:30-8:00p
Orangewood Foundation, 1575 E. 17th St., Santa Ana

Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force meeting

Last Wednesday of every month, 10:30a
1221 E. Dyer Rd, Santa Ana, conference room A/B

***If you are attending a meeting for the first time, please email us at as meetings are occasionally canceled or rescheduled.

After months of planning and preparing, our survivor event was a complete success.

The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force along with the Community Services Program and Salvation Army, have events every month held especially for the survivors of human trafficking. These events range from life skills classes to fun events like our movie and pizza night.

As a way to help support the task force, they have asked local faith groups and churches to help plan and carry out these events to free up their financial resources for things like food and shelter for the survivors.

The Stop Human Trafficking Action Group with the support of St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church, held a movie and pizza night. We featured the inspiring hit movie Seabiscuit and decorated with horse and racing-themed party decor.

After a filling meal of pizza and salad, we served popcorn and red licorice. The guests left with a little keepsake, too…homemade brownies and a horse-shaped cookie cutter.

A special thank you to all the volunteers who made this event a great success. We are already looking forward to next year’s movie night event.



It may be confusing to decipher what’s real and what’s sensationalized hype when reading about human trafficking because of the way it is shrouded in secrecy and hidden from the public.
Here is a list of seven truths to get you started.

Myth #1: Human trafficking is a third-world problem

Reality: Though modern-day slavery is rampant in countries like India (14 million people enslaved or 1.14% of their population- that’s almost the equivalent of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago combined, and China (3.2 million people enslaved or .238% of their population – more than the entire population of Orange County, California), sex trafficking and forced labor also occurs right here in the U.S.

A whopping 60,000 men, women, and children are trafficked within this country.

American citizens are trafficked both within our borders (often crossing state lines) or are taken abroad, while foreigners are trafficked within our borders.

Myth #2: Being a victim is a choice.

Reality:In some countries like India, children are sold into slavery by their family with the hopes of a better life, not knowing the abuse that awaits them. The families are unable to financially provide for their entire family and are often contacted by traffickers that make false promises about work opportunities.

Because of limited choices available to them, some men and women do choose prostitution or pornography as a means of income, but none of them chose a life of fear, intimidation, and abuse.

Interviews with rehabilitated sex workers show that some were lured by the excessive amount of money to be made in the industry but hadn’t really enjoyed nor wanted to continue the lifestyle.

Many sex workers felt they had no other choice but to sell what they had─their bodies. Others sell themselves to fuel their drug addiction.

Myth #3: Legalizing prostitution makes it safe

Reality: Legalizing prostitution benefits everyone involved–except the prostitute.

As countries like the Netherlands and Germany show us, legalizing prostitution will not make conditions safer for the women. In fact, more severe and violent behavior that could easily be described as torture is unleashed on these women.

Legalizing prostitution only makes it safe for the pimps, johns, and madams eliminating their fear of prosecution. Studies show 9 out of 10 prostitutes working in legal brothels want to break free from the job, and almost half have attempted suicide at least once.

Myth #4: Sexual exploitation only affects females

Reality: While 98% of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation are women, that also means that 2% are men. That’s 400,000 men and young boys being trafficked throughout the world for sex.

As more and more homosexual prostitution occurs, the demand for more, younger boys increases, forcing more young men into being sold.

Men also comprise 45% of forced labor trafficking.

Myth #5: A victim will always show signs of physical abuse

Reality: Pimps don’t ever have to physically abuse their victims, though they frequently do.

The emotional and mental abuse can be so overwhelming the victim will not seek out help nor defy his or her pimp ever. Pimps spend time on new “recruits” to break them down sometimes to near death. They often keep them drugged, starved, and scared.

Many victims frequently come from an abusive background and don’t know any other way of life. The victims often feel they deserve the abuse or that their pimp really does love them.

Myth #6: A victim could just leave if she wanted.

Reality: One of the ways a pimp breaks his girl is by instilling fear. This includes fear of law enforcement, fear of retaliation for not “behaving” by means of severe physical trauma, or fear of abandonment.

Victims are told they will be deported, arrested, or taken back to their family. They are brainwashed into believing no one wants to help them, they don’t deserve to be helped, and they are worthless.

For some women, their cultural beliefs hinder their desire to seek aid as they will be shamed by their family or community. Sometimes, she is returned to her abuser or sold to a new trafficker.

Although a victim may reject help initially or even after several attempts, they don’t want to continue with their current lifestyle, (s)he just might not know it yet. We must be patient with him/her and continue to do what’s best and help in any way we can.

Myth #7: Sex trafficking is the only form of trafficking

Reality: Human trafficking is defined as the use of fraud or coercion to force a person into labor or sexual exploitation for commercial purposes.

Human trafficking includes sex trafficking (prostitution, pornography, working at brothels, stripping, and sex tourism), labor trafficking (restaurant workers, farm hands, street vendors, garment workers, domestic servants, nannies and manufacturers), organ trafficking (buying and selling of human organs on the black market), illegal adoptions, forced begging, and child soldiers.

Now that you’ve armed yourself with the truth share this information with everyone you know. Awareness is the first step to eradicate human trafficking from existence. Be a part of the movement.

It is important to know the signs of human trafficking so you can identify a potential victim and help authorities provide the assistance they need. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance or you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.

How do I recognize a victim when I see one?

*** Work/living conditions ***

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.)
  • Lives with employer
  • Multiple people in a cramped space
  • High foot traffic in and out of a residence

*** Mental health or behavior ***

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, nervous, or paranoid
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Post-traumatic stress or psychological disorders
  • Suffers from verbal or psychological abuse designed to intimidate, degrade, or frighten the individual
  • A sudden or dramatic change in behavior

*** Physical health ***

  • Lacks health care or is kept under surveillance when taken to a doctor, hospital, or clinic for treatment. The trafficker may act as a translator.
  • Appears malnourished, dehydrated, or has poor personal hygiene
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture (unexplained bruising, broken bones, cuts, or bruises in various stages of healing)

 *** Control ***

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating) or answers appear to be scripted or rehearsed
  • Appears to be in a relationship with someone who is dominating
  • Unable to answer questions about where they live

*** Other ***

  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
  • Being a recent arrival to the U.S. and does not speak English
  • Is afraid of law enforcement or receiving help
  • The person appears disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or places of worship
  • A child that has stopped attending school

 *Note: Not all signs are apparent in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative

Information provided by: Polaris Project, U.S. Department of Statehumantrafficking.orgU.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Homeland Security