Fighting for Victims of Human Trafficking
The Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee (Cal-SPAC), consisting of 16 member Leagues
Name of Initiative: Human Trafficking Advocacy
Issue Area(s): Human Trafficking
Junior Leagues of California State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC) is committed to ending human trafficking in all its forms. SPAC supports policies and programs that stop human trafficking, advocate for victims, and educate the community at large. For the past three years we have sponsored and supported legislation related to human trafficking.
This legislative year they co-sponsored AB 2035 with CAST-LA authored by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (Arcata). AB 2035 passed both the California State Senate and Assembly with unanimous bipartisan support. It would have protected both labor and sex trafficked youth including providing training and support to group home administrators since so many of these vulnerable youth are susceptible to trafficking.
Despite an overwhelming grassroots campaign from our member leagues and coalition partners Governor Jerry Brown ultimately vetoed the bill. He issued a statement acknowledging that this year's budget provides funding for minor sex trafficking victims and directed the Department of Social Services to convene stakeholders to "curb the tragedy of young people forced to work under illegal and unacceptable conditions." Conversions with DSS are underway and we remain committed to continuing to advocate, educate and work to stop human trafficking.
Member leagues are engaged locally in human trafficking education and awareness activities in addition to AB 2035 support. Highlights include the following:
Junior League of Bakersfield (JLB) educating members at monthly membership general meetings.
Junior League of Fresno (JLF) held a human trafficking forum at a membership general meeting.
Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) scheduled Opal Singleton, CEO of Million Kids, to speak at their October general membership meeting to educate members on current trends in human trafficking. The membership will support Long Beach's Human Trafficking Task Force in January at their Youth Exploitation Safety Symposium (Yess!) by assisting kids in breakout sessions.
Junior League of Napa-Sonoma (JLNS) is a member of the Sonoma County Human Trafficking Task Force, a multidisciplinary team working to raise awareness, advocate for victims, and end human trafficking in our community. As a member of the Task Force, JLNS helps to organize periodic forums and rallies on the topic, and has supported other awareness campaigns in our community such as local billboards. JLNS shares information with our members about human trafficking and the efforts of the Task Force at General Membership Meetings on an annual basis.
Junior League of Oakland East Bay (JLOEB) hosted a human trafficking forum with Oakland Deputy Mayor Sandré Swanson, Deputy District Attorney Chad Mahalich of Contra Costa County, and Venus Rodriquez of MISSSEY: Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth.
Junior League of Orange County (JLOC) progresses ahead with further education to the Orange County community its membership and on the anti-trafficking movement. In September, the JLOCC hosted the beginning of its Survivors' Speak Series with Jim Carson, Orangewood Foundation's Rising Tide Community Coordinator and two survivors. The first of the series was designed to raise awareness and educate attendees in what local human trafficking signs to look for, how females are lured into "the life," and what we can do as a community to help prevent other young women from falling prey. Additionally, the JLOCC supported a graduation ceremony for local survivors who completed a two year training on recapturing a "normal" life. During October, the JLOCC will be participating in and sponsoring two impactful movements. On October 18, JLOCC is taking part in A21's Walk for Freedom where teams across the globe will be rallying together to raise awareness with a 3.6 mile walk. All participants will wear black shirts and tape as a mouth covering, representing the 27 million victims of human trafficking who do not have a voice. Together, we will walk silently in a single file line and pass out informational flyers to explain human trafficking at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. On October 24, the JLOCC is co-sponsoring with the Orange County District Attorney's Office, the Keep Calm and Beat H.E.A.T Concert and Rally at Chapman University in Orange. This will be an all-day symposium with food trucks, informational booths, and a free rock concert all in an ongoing effort to fight against Human Exploitation and Trafficking (H.E.A.T.) in Orange County and across the globe. In the coming months, the JLOCC will be hosting human trafficking featured documentary, Tricked at Big Newport movie theater in Newport Beach and will be embarking on multiple efforts during Human Trafficking Awareness month.
Junior League of Sacramento (JLS) is educating its members and collaborated with Courage Worldwide Inc. to put on a film screening of “In Plain Sight” to raise awareness and educate the community about human trafficking.
Junior League of San Jose (JLSJ) hosted a movie night to educate members on the issue of human trafficking, screening a documentary film entitled Carissa on a human trafficking victim, Carissa Phelps, which tells her story by traveling back to the places where it all happened when she was a youth. SPAC also wrote articles throughout the League year for JLSJ’s FLAIR Newsletter that highlighted SPAC’s efforts related to human trafficking at the state level. Betty Ann Boeving, Founder & Executive Director of the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition (BAATC), provided an anti-trafficking awareness training at their October general membership meeting, which will allow our members to be ambassadors and further raise awareness on human trafficking in our community. Additionally, JLSJ SPAC plans to assist BAATC with airport trainings in the Bay Area and participate in the 2015 Freedom Summit.
Junior League of San Diego (JLSD) is an active member of the San Diego County Human Trafficking Task Force which strives to take a collaborative, cross-cutting effort on anti-human trafficking efforts in San Diego County. They frequently attend the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition meetings and partner with San Diego Youth Services - Surviving Together, Achieving and Reaching for Success (STARS) which provides support to empower the youth to escape sexual exploitation. JLSD also hosts an annual Human Trafficking Awareness Rally on January 11 to bring together community members to bring awareness around this important issue. Additionally, they host annual community impact forums to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking and the relationships to youth in the foster care system. JLSD regularly communicates and educated their membership on the issue of human trafficking, important legislation and ways to get involved.
Junior League of San Francisco’s (JLSF) Advocacy Committee has trained members via multiple film screenings showing Not My Life and a documentary featuring a SF trafficking survivor, and panels featuring trafficking advocates and resources in the bay. JLSF members supported a city/county ordinance targeting massage parlors where trafficking can occur. Members participated in efforts to make sure AB 1193 (which required anti-trafficking poster with hotline info to be posted in specific businesses) is being properly implemented in coordination with the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women. JLSF is a sponsor of the Enough Abuse campaign - a movement to prevent child sexual abuse in the bay area with the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Council.
Junior League of Santa Barbara (JLSB) is educating its membership via monthly SPAC updates at general membership meetings and speaker trainings.