prevention

Survivor Snapshots

 

Here is a sampling of survivor updates this month:

Tara – Tara is doing well in school, however she is having a few struggles in her home life. She is looking forward to finish high school this year and moving to Nashville next year for college and to be closer to her ESTN family. While visiting with her this month we helped set goals for graduation and college preparation.

Adele – Adele started meeting with a volunteer to work on holistic nutrition plans. While Adele is very stable with a job and living conditions, ESTN is continuing to provide transportation and basic needs resources and helping her develop a case plan.

Maranda – Maranda is doing very well. She recently received approval for home passes with ESTN and her family and is excited to be able to be home for holidays as well as spend time with us outside the housing facility. She also has a mentor at the facility who is allowing Maranda to help in staff trainings and work towards her goals of motivational speaking. Maranda is still studying for her ACTs and is looking forward to college next year.

Jenny – Jenny has been doing very well in college and with her internship. She is truly beginning to find her voice and feeling empowered with the gifts and skills she has to offer others.

Isabell – Isabell is very excited to finally have a car, but is currently looking for a stable place to live. She enjoys spending time with the staff at ESTN and is also focusing on herself and her relationships with her children.

Leah – Leah relapse last month, but after three days she called Lizedny and Christine asking for help. They went to get her right away and brought her back home. Since then she has been working hard on her recovery. She knows that ESTN is here for her and is beginning to understand that we love her and will nver give up on her.  She got a good job and has been working to support herself. Unfortunately, Leah is also currently struggling with her health so we have been working to get her medical appointments and services.

Candice – Candice is a new young prevention case we are working with.  She is a sweet little country girl with a bubbly personality. She is working on finding her way in this big new city and enjoys having fun and spending time with staff. Candice will begin IOP next week and is focusing on recovery and making good choices.  She is becoming more transparent about her struggles and knows we love her and are here for her no matter what.

Getting the Word Out

 

The third and final segment of our T.A.P. programming is Prevention.

Prevention is the “P” in T.A.P. and is multi-faceted.  Our Be the Jam website (www.bethejam.org)  is a site for minors where they learn the lures most frequently used by traffickers to entrap them.  The information seeks to not only empower youth to be aware and to practice safe behavior, but also teaches them to look within their peer groups at the actions and behaviors that attract a trafficker to those vulnerable around them. We take those same videos from the website and incorporate them into a 30 minute video narrated by young people which presenters take into schools, community organizations, faith-based and other general youth audiences, recognizing that all minors are at risk.

Another important part of our prevention program are our 10-week intensive small groups for high risk young girls. This program is used with high risk teens who have already experienced abuse and/or trauma and therefore are especially vulnerable to a trafficker.  We work with the host organization to help get the best possible care and the resources they need.

A similar program for your boys in high risk environments will be offered soon, teaching boys to think about the cultural elements that are shaping their thoughts and actions.  We also teach at the Johns’ School for men who have been arrested for soliciting prostitutes, teaching them how their demand feeds human trafficking.

End Slavery is a “single point of contact” for law enforcement, attorneys, social service organizations, family members and concerned citizens who encounter trafficking victims in Middle Tennessee.  We are the only organization in Middle Tennessee focused solely on human trafficking and providing direct care for survivors in our region. We sit on the Governor’s Tennessee Human Trafficking Task Force, helping develop a state-wide plan of care for survivors of human trafficking, as well as the Federal Human Trafficking Task Force.

For additional information, visit our website at endslaverytn.org or contact us at 615-860-6899.

Getting the Word Out

By Karen Karpinski, Director of Education

During the month of June our two interns, Kamrie Reid and Allie Bergeron, worked with the Center for Student Missions, as well as several independent churches, training 76 minors between the ages of 11-17.  They will continue this work in July.  Our goal is to teach youth to recognize the traps that traffickers use to lure them into the human trafficking industry, to provide them with resources in their communities for issues like abuse and trauma that make them vulnerable to exploitation, to empower them to share this information with their peers, and to be safe.  Sabrina Jewell also introduced the new “Under 11 Training” for ten local youngsters so that as they enter their most vulnerable years they are equipped to protect themselves as well. 

The demand for younger and younger victims is alarming both in the United State and around the world. If we ever hope to stop the egregious crime of exploitation of children, training of both children and their caregivers is vital.  We believe that preventing the trafficking of minors is so much better and more effective than rescuing and restoring survivors once trafficked.

The BeTheJam website  is the first of many aspects of our prevention program available to all youth.  ESTN’s intervention specialist and a counselor provides ten-week intensive programs for girls in residential settings. And a new program will teach boys to become responsible young men, helping to reduce the demand.  Both of these programs are aimed at most at-risk youth in our communities.   We are very fortunate that volunteer Alissa Shear has elected to shoulder the role of Prevention Leader and is currently working with schools, community organizations and government officials to introduce these prevention program, joining with us as partners to save our youth.

If you are interested in youth prevention for the youth of your community or you would like to help prevent the trafficking of minors contact us through the form on our website or via email at info@endslaverytn.org.

Our youth are the future.  It’s everyone’s responsibility to keep them safe from exploitation.

Getting the Word Out

By Karen Karpinski, Director of Education May began with several new and unusual presentations:

Sabrina Jewell spoke to parents and their high school students at the Metro Nashville Truancy Initiative about how truancy has a direct correlation to teens’ vulnerability to trafficking, and Gwen Smith spoke at the Awakening Conference which was the brain child of two young women.

I presented at several very important events this month: The Middle TN EMS Conference; the staff training for Hermitage Hall, a residential program for children/teens who have been sexually abused or experienced trauma, and; along with Alissa Shear and Taryn Clausing, taught seven classes at Smyrna High School.

Jill Rutter and Kristen Conrey attended the Montgomery County Health Fair, educating hundreds of people about the facts and myths of human trafficking, and our two summer interns Kamrie Reed and Allie Bergeron educated the staff of the Center for Student Missions in preparation for working with visiting teens in our youth program for the summer.

Step 1: Education

Guest blogger: Stephanie Swick -  Short Term Team Member with ESTN 

Lately, I’ve been entertaining the idea of becoming a nurse midwife. I’m an English major. The hardest science class I took in college was Geography of the Oceans. But there’s a huge need, especially in other countries, for women to be educated and to have care during pregnancy. I think it would be interesting to try to make myself available to offer help to women who get pregnant as a result of enslavement. Could it be possible?

But the thing is, legislation is a huge part of fighting human trafficking, especially in the U.S. I could become a lawyer and make this stuff happen. There’s an organization called Polaris that has put out a list of 10 trafficking laws every state should have. I could help make those laws. That would be cool.

Still, there are women and children who are being rescued from their captors every day with no shelters to run to. There are not enough resources for recovering victims from such a traumatic experience. There are counselors and therapists needed to help these women deal with drug addiction, over-sexualization, kidnapping, and physical, psychological and sexual abuse. I could do that.

At the beginning of my End Slavery internship, I thought I would begin to figure out which path to pursue – nursing school, law school or social work.

Yet I’m finding that more than anything, I just want people to know that slavery still happens. I don’t think enough people know. If they did, I have to believe this issue would start to shrink and instead of growing. At the end of this school year, I had coffee with an old friend who I hadn’t talked to in a long time. When he heard the name of this organization, End Slavery, he misunderstood it as a mental or societal slavery. “You’re going there to fight the man,” he said, “Our society is enslaved by consumerism. That’s great!” This is an intelligent guy who prides himself on being educated. And he’s clueless.

The students on the campus of my Alma Mater – an institution blazing trails in education – have no idea that in our world, Human Trafficking and Slavery is the 2nd largest crime. They don’t know that in our country, roughly 300,000 people are enslaved and many of these people are American citizens. They have no idea that it’s happening in their towns – in the hotels and restaurants they drive past.

I feel a burning desire to drive my car down the street yelling these facts into a megaphone. “This is what’s happening and here’s what you can do about it!”

One thing this internship has shown me is that just about anyone can use their abilities to fight trafficking. It’s not that I want everyone to become social workers and lawyers. But if the future politicians, doctors, business people, broadcasters, celebrities, artists, teachers, engineers, etc… know what to look for, they could save millions of lives and generations of repetition.

So now I’m left exploring a whole new path. How can we get this information into the hands of 60,000 students? More importantly, how can we get them to pay attention? I am no speech-maker, I don’t know how to lead a movement. I just know that this is something people need to know about.

So career-wise, I keep coming back to education. During college, most people assumed I wanted to be a teacher. I was hesitant, but maybe that’s where I’ll end up.

Slavery is real. It’s everywhere. And it’s growing.

And every single person has the power to do something about it.

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To find YOUR niche, please visit www.endslaverytn.org

For info to share with the youth in your life, see http://www.bethejam.org/

So What Is It You Do, Anyway?

When people think of anti-human trafficking work, they typically think of rescue and shelters. Rescues are exciting and shelters are needed and everyone easily understands why they are essential. But neither really does anything about ending slavery. If a victim is rescued, a trafficker brings in two more. And shelters are for after the fact. They are needed, like emergency medical workers are needed in an epidemic. But at some point, we need to cure the illness itself as well as identify those who have it; or leaving our analogy behind, to address the systemic causes that allow slavery to flourish, as well as identify victims so they CAN be rescued and restored. And that’s just what we at End Slavery do. Here’s an overview of our current and "in the works" initiatives:

  • IDENTIFY THE VICTIMS:  Distribution of posters, bookmarks, bumper stickers and other materials that help people identify victims/ web page with victim ID red flags

Community Watch type programs to enable neighbors to spot trafficking in their own neighborhood. Speaking to community groups. Fielding calls, e-mail, and Facebook messages and advising community members who suspect trafficking and are unsure what to do about it.

  • PROTECT OUR YOUTH: Presentation and materials for schools, inner city and immigrant service providers and other youth venues, warning youth, and those who care for them, of the tactics of traffickers.

Teen oriented web site warning of trafficking tactics with ways to share info easily with friends and to report, anonymously if desired, what is happening within peer group.

  • OPEN PROFESSIONAL’S EYES:  Training for professions likely to make first contact with victims (teachers, pastors, medical workers, social workers, legislators, apt. managers, maintenance workers etc.) 
  • SUPPORT THE SURVIVORS: We work with the FBI to provide help as needed for rescued victims and we hold events and home parties to increase venues for sale of goods made by rescued victims.
  • SLOW THE DEMAND: We teach at each session of the local John school (a school for men arrested for soliciting prostitutes), educating the attendees on how their choices feed human trafficking and slavery. Other initiatives are currently under consideration such as billboards, ads, flyers and/or other media targeted to the people buying the slave’s services or goods
  • LOOK TO THE FUTURE:  We teach in numerous college classes each semester so the next generation, the leaders of tomorrow, will not be ignorant of human trafficking and modern slavery.

We hold regular events on college campuses, spreading awareness and encouraging/equipping student involvement in ending slavery while they are still in school.

We have interns each semester who learn deeply about the issue and ways to work to end it.  In every case thus far, students continue to work with us after their internship is over and make career choices focused on ending slavery/aiding victims.

  • EDUCATE:    Through a monthly newsletter, blog, twitter, Facebook cause, and regular speaking engagements. This not only leads to victim identification, it is our belief that we can create a groundswell of outrage that will affect change makers in the media, legislators etc.
  • REPLICATE:  We were instrumental in connecting people who started a coalition in Knoxville and an anti-slavery group in Memphis and look to spreading anti-slavery work throughout Tennessee. We also train churches, and other groups, in Tennessee and other parts of the country, how to engage in ending slavery in their own communities.

This is a grassroots movement using ordinary people in all walks of life. We have two monthly volunteer groups, one in Nashville and one in Franklin. These groups further educate themselves on the issue and break into action groups focusing on various initiatives.

Additional notes:

In March 2010, an organization working among oppressed people in over 60 countries, asked End Slavery in Tennessee’s Director, Derri Smith, to help them establish teams around the world focused specifically on slavery and human trafficking. While taking on that non-paid director’s position with International Teams (ITeams), she remains committed to the work in Tennessee, as well. In fact, she is working on establishing ITeams’ first full-time domestic anti-slavery team in Nashville, which will serve as a training base for other teams in the US and around the world.

  • Derri is also currently engaged in starting/ expanding/considering anti-slavery teams in Uganda, Brazil, Thailand, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Australia, Cambodia, India and Russia.

Wanna Save Some Kids from Hell on Earth?

It’s a whole lot better to actually prevent someone from being trafficked than it is to rescue them after the fact, and it’s one of the most effective ways we can work in our communities.

Let’s think about the ways people get trafficked and what types of preventative measures might be useful.

In the case of sex slavery, sometimes girls* are recruited by a cute boy who acts like he has a romantic interest in them, a man who serves as a father figure, a girl who acts like a girlfriend or a woman who seems safe.  Did you see the movie Taken?  Remember the boy at the airport who shared a taxi cab with the two girls when they arrived from America for a European holiday?  That boy was a recruiter. 

 There are cases in which a “girlfriend” invited the victim to her home for a sleepover, then the man who was allegedly her father (but really wasn’t) popped a drug into her drink.  She wakes to find herself being raped by a succession of men. 

Often kids from abusive homes are befriended by a charmer who poses as a boyfriend.  He “loves” this girl and makes her feel special.  Over time, he says that if she loves him, she will sell herself for sex to make the money they need to buy a house and live happily ever after.  He becomes increasingly violent.  He follows tried and true methods for breaking a girl into sex slavery.  (There’s actually a manual to tell him how.  For real.) 

What if these young people—and their parents and teachers—had seen a presentation in school about the tactics and dangers of traffickers?  If we simply opened some naïve eyes, how much heartache might be avoided?

My dream is to create a presentation to do just that, and bring it to schools, youth clubs, inner city and immigrant service providers and the like.  It would take so little, to do so much good.

This project is very do-able, very affordable, and can be very effective.  Like the idea of a slave-free community?  Me too. Let’s make it happen! 

Here‘s what you can do:

  • Act in a short drama portraying the tactics of traffickers
  • Direct this drama or write the script.
  • Use your musical skills to write and/or perform a song that will stay in kids’ minds after the presentation, causing them to think twice if they encounter red flags.
  • Once polished, video the presentation so we can distribute it more broadly.
  • Take leadership. Organize and oversee this project.
  • Donate toward the cause, to "work of Derri Smith for prevention."

Contact us here

* Boys and men are trafficked too.  Because 80% of victims are female, I choose to use the feminine nouns and pronouns for victims.

Wedding Ceremony or Marriage?

“I had no idea! What can be done? Get those slaves out of there!” No doubt about it—the horror of slavery stirs within us the urgency to rescue a victim. That is exactly what International Justice Mission and others do so well. Exciting moments indeed, BUT hardly the entire story. Ending slavery and aiding victims is so much more complex than that. Focusing only on the rescue is like focusing only on the wedding ceremony when we think of marriage, without regard to all the relationship building that led to that moment or the lifetime partnership that follows. 

Rescuing victims – snatching them away from the trafficker or slave master --is an important step in the process of freedom, and someone does need to do that. But, frankly, this is not an effective strategy to end slavery. When one victim is rescued, traffickers bring in 2 more.  Rescue is vital in the same way that emergency medical workers are vital in an epidemic. And I’d say that the #2 and fastest growing crime on the planet is indeed an epidemic, wouldn’t you? 

To truly make a long term, effective difference, we must step back and think past the exciting media sound bite moment. Slavery is a complex issue requiring multi-faceted action. We must hack at the roots of poverty and empower those without social clout; those most vulnerable to enslavement. We can prevent slavery by warning of trafficker’s tactics and finding ways to dry up the demand that makes this business, like any business, thrive. We need to train those likely to encounter victims, so they recognize the suspicious signs for what they are AND know how to help. We need to make good people everywhere aware of the atrocities in such a powerful way that they cannot go on with life as usual and, consequently, develop such a groundswell of outrage that, by sheer numbers, they influence politicians, media, companies that use slave labor and other change makers. And more.

So let’s keep cheering and supporting the rescues, just as we celebrate a wedding ceremony, all the while rolling up our sleeves and doing or supporting the long term hard work it takes for the marriage of justice and mercy in our world.