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July: This is what slavery looks like here

Do you know who is free and who is not? Media and movies have given the false image of someone being tied up with chains or ropes to represent human trafficking. The truth is, a slavery victim is walking though Walmart right next to you hidden in plain sight. He or she goes to the same school your kids do, to the same church, to the same emergency room. They appear to be free, but they are really being controlled and watched every second of the day. Even when a victim is rescued and is doing the hard work of recovery, he or she may still suffer the bondage from constant nightmares, unrelenting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and long-lasting trauma. True freedom from trafficking is possible but it comes from much support and therapy. Mental, physical, spiritual , and emotional therapy is required to gain a life full of joy and happiness again

Slavery looks like any skin color, any gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, and education level. Slavery in southwest Oklahoma looks like a mother who can’t pay rent and sells her daughter to the landlord in exchange for the overdue payment. Slavery here looks like a senior in high school selling his freshman girlfriend to his buddies for sex at a party when he is too intoxicated to fight. Slavery in your neighborhood looks like a business owner who has a house cleaning business, extorts a family from Mexico and holds them in debt bondage. They must work until their debt is paid, but the debt keeps adding up. You will find slavery in many nail salons and massage parlors.

The Red Cord encourages you to be informed and learn how to recognize the signs of human trafficking and be equipped to report the situation to authorities. You can learn how to do that in our training seminars. 

Learn more and sign up!

June Blog: What happened to this bill?

Education about human trafficking is the best form of safety and prevention.  Knowing the warning signs of grooming, force, fraud, coercion, and the tactics of traffickers is key to staying safe. Educating parents and employers about the signs of human trafficking and online safety need to be part of everyone’s yearly protocol update in the home and workplace.

Oklahoma was on track to allow nonprofits, like The Red Cord, to provide anti-trafficking awareness and prevention training in the public schools for all middle school and high school students which includes our most vulnerable population – 12-16-year-olds. But somewhere along the way, the final bill only included college-age students. We are in process of finding out what happened to this bill and why younger students were not included in this final approved legislation.

You can read the current anti-trafficking bill here: https://www.okhouse.gov/Media/ShowStory.aspx?MediaNewsID=8152

We urge you to contact your state legislators to revisit this bill to include children 12 years old through college age as was originally intended.     

The Red Cord is still on a mission to provide this invaluable information to school systems. Letters of information and an invitation to enlist The Red Cord to present this information in schools will be sent out to all school districts in Southwest Oklahoma beginning first with the Lawton School District.

We urge school leaders to take advantage of this opportunity to bring vital awareness and prevention training to students. It is ultimately the responsibility of parents to keep their children safe. However, we feel like this is an opportunity for the community and families to work together to keep our children safe.

We urge school leaders to take advantage of this opportunity to bring vital awareness and prevention training to students. It is ultimately the responsibility of parents to keep their children safe. However, we feel like this is an opportunity for the community and families to work together to keep our children safe.

Will you join us on our mission?

Learn more about our specific training opportunities here: http://theredcord.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Human-Trafficking-Trainings-13290.pdf

We would love to see you at our next free scheduled training event, Thursday, June 17, 5:30 p.m. Buffalo Grove Coffee Company, 605 SW E Ave, Lawton. Contact us for more information:

Debbie’s* Story Continued…

It’s a common occurrence. Sad, but true. Debbie, 14, is a victim of sex trafficking. (The common age for trafficking victims is 12-14.) Before that, Debbie had been placed in the foster care system. She was there because her mother ended up in jail for selling drugs. And her father, well, no one knows where he is. He disappeared the day after she was born.

Debbie arrived at the foster home already traumatized, neglected, and possibly abused. And while she was there, a young woman, a recruiter who knew what to look for, found Debbie and offered her a “better” life. Including gifting her with a new cell phone.

Traffickers will often send one of their loyal girls, known as a recruiter, into different group homes to target new girls and convince them to leave or run away from the foster home. The recruiter, coached by the trafficker, will encourage girls to leave by honing in on the youth’s desire for a stable family. They will often speak of the luxuries their trafficker provides them, such as manicures and clothing, and the “family” unit who will care for them. https://www.speakupnow.org/foster-care-and-human-trafficking/

Words to describe Debbie? Vulnerable. Manipulated. Coerced. And she is only one, on any given day, of nearly 428,000 children are in the U.S. foster care system. (https://www.kvc.org/blog/foster-care-human-trafficking/)

What do we do together to help her and the thousands of children to no longer be targeted?

The Red Cord May Update

Human Trafficking Oklahoma

May Focus

At the Intersection of Foster Care and Human Trafficking

May Blog – Moving Toward Prevention

To move beyond rescuing children from danger to preventing the problem in the first place, consider this ancient story:

                One summer in the village, the people in the town gathered for a picnic. As they leisurely shared food and conversation, someone noticed a baby in the river, struggling and crying. The baby was going to drown!

                Someone rushed to save the baby. Then, they noticed another screaming baby in the river, and they pulled that baby out. Soon, more babies were seen drowning in the river, and the townspeople were pulling them out as fast as they could. It took great effort, and they began to organize their activities to save the babies as they came down the river. As everyone else was busy in the rescue efforts to save the babies, two of the townspeople started to run away along the shore of the river.

                “Where are you going?” shouted one of the rescuers. “We need you here to help us save these babies!”

                “We are going upstream to stop whoever is throwing them in.”

               

                How do we prevent girls like Debbie in foster homes from becoming a human trafficking victim? How do we keep Debbie out of the foster care system in the first place? Because the truth is, 60% of all child sex trafficking victims have histories in the child welfare system. Without intervention, Debbie is destined to a life of abuse, violence, and prostitution.

                The Foster Care system was created to provide a safe place for children to live while temporary problems were worked out in the home. While many foster homes and families are kind and loving and seek to provide well for the needs of children, we know that not all families have the best interest of the children at heart. Some sinister motives entice people to become foster families – money, control, power.

                The National Center of Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) found that of the more than 18,5000 endangered runaways reported in 2016, one in six were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Of those, 86% were in the care of social services when they went missing.

(https://pjmedia.com/parenting/megan-fox/2018/12/27/is-child-protective-services-trafficking-children-n114037)

                So, where do we begin to get to the source of the Foster Care system problems?

                Let’s start with us and get to the heart of the matter. Why should people in Southwest Oklahoma care about what happens to foster care children in our area?

                Ahsha Morin, President of the Red Cord says, “We need to care simply because they are children. Children are the future of our city and country as a whole. The mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse that the children endure can take a lifetime of healing even when they can receive needed life skills.”

                How do we go “upstream to prevent” the problem from happening in the first place?

Ahsha offers these specific steps to prevent foster care children from being trafficked:

  1. Train foster care staff, caregivers, and the youth on how to be protected. Contact the Red Cord to receive training to recognize the signs of trafficking. Request the FREE training here:     https://forms.gle/dwatRUTot8XDHZSG8
  2. Identify priorities and inform system leaders to improve the policies. Those with experience in child warfare should actively advocate for change.
  3. Be a voice. Educate policymakers about the true current conditions within the system and how children are being affected.

Concerning trafficking, Ahsha says, “First, stop labeling the victims of child sex trafficking as prostitutes. They are survivors of child rape.” She urges law enforcement to:

  1. Actively pursue pimps and traffickers.
  2. Concentrate on eliminating the demand for prostitution by arresting the buyers.
  3. Identify the victims as children in need of rescue and not criminals.

YOU can help today:

http://theredcord.org/prayer/

  • PLAN to attend or host a Red Cord training event. Click here for info:

http://theredcord.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Human-Trafficking-Trainings-13290.pdf

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