Link

Social

Embed

Download

Download
Download Transcript

[00:00:09]

GOOD MORNING, AUSTIN.

WELCOME TO OUR VIRTUAL PRESS CONFERENCE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS AND PREVENTION MONTH.

I'M OFFICER KEVIN CRUZAN WITH THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE, AND I WILL BE THE MODERATOR FOR TODAY'S EVENT.

SPANISH INTERPRETATION OF THIS MEDIA IS AVAILABLE ON ATX N THREE HUMAN TRAFFICKING INVOLVES THE USE OF FORCE FRAUD OR COERCION EXCHANGE FOR LABOR SERVICES OR A COMMERCIAL SEX ACT.

TEXAS HAS THE SECOND HIGHEST NUMBER OF TRAFFICKING CASES IN THE COUNTRY.

THIS COLLABORATION AIMS TO INFORM AND EDUCATE RESIDENTS IN CITY EMPLOYEES ON HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS AND REPORT HUMAN AND LABOR TRAFFICKING TO LAW ENFORCEMENT.

TO START.

SERGEANT MIKE SPEAR WAS THE NPD HUMAN TRAFFICKING UNIT.

WE'LL FIRST SAY A FEW WORDS FOLLOWED BY HOLLY CHRISTINE HAYES.

WHO'S THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF SANCTUARY PROJECT.

AFTER HOLLY, WE WILL HAVE ERIKA SCHMIDT PORTNOY, WHO IS THE SENIOR PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR REFUGEE SERVICES OF TEXAS.

AFTER ERICA, MS. MONICA, CHARLES WILL BE JOINING US TO SHARE A PERSONAL STORY OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

AFTER MONICA, WE WILL HAVE ALISON FRANKLIN, WHO IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE CARES PROGRAM AT THE SAFE ALLIANCE.

SHE WILL SHARE SOME WORDS AND THEN WE WILL HAVE FINALLY HAVE TIFFANY LEE, WHO IS THE PARTNERSHIP MANAGER WITH ALLIES AGAINST SLAVERY.

AFTER WE CONCLUDE WITH OUR SPEAKERS, WE WILL OPEN UP TO OUR POOL REPORTER WHO WILL ASK QUESTIONS FROM THE MEDIA SERGEANT SPEAR.

I'LL PASS IT OVER TO YOU.

HELLO.

I'M SORRY TO MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT, HUMAN TRAFFICKING UNIT.

I SUPERVISE, UM, 15 DETECTIVES WHO ARE, WHOSE DUTIES INCLUDE HUMAN TRAFFICKING, UH, CHILD EXPLOITATION, UM, GAMBLING AND PROSTITUTION.

UM, OUR, OUR PRIORITIES FOR THE UNIT ARE HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND CHILD EXPORTATION.

UM, I GUESS TO START WITH A LOT OF PEOPLE, AREN'T AWARE THAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING DOES EXIST IN AUSTIN AND IT'S VERY PREVALENT.

UM, IT'S NOT ALWAYS THE, THE, UH, PEOPLE BRINGING IN CRATES OF WOMEN FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY OR LABORERS FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY, WHICH DOES HAPPEN.

BUT THE MAJORITY OF CASES THAT WE WORK ARE, UM, USUALLY TEENAGE GIRL TEENAGE RUNAWAYS, UM, BASICALLY VICTIMIZED BY TRAFFICKERS AND GROOM TO, UM, TO GET THEM TO THINK THAT THEY'RE ALMOST, THEY'RE ACTUALLY THEIR BOYFRIENDS AND, AND, UM, AND EITHER FORCING THEM OR TALKING THEM INTO, UH, BEING SEX TRAFFICKED.

UM, MY UNIT IS CURRENTLY WORKS AN AVERAGE OF 400 HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASES A YEAR, AND THAT'S THAT 15 DETECTIVES WORKING THOSE ALONG WITH THEIR OTHER CASELOAD OF CHILD EXPLOITATION, PROSTITUTION AND GAMBLING CASES AND THAT, AND ALL OF THESE CASES THAT THAT I'M EXPLAINING, OR, UM, AS THEY APPLY TO ORGANIZED CRIME, IT'S NOT GOING TO BE A STREET LEVEL PROSTITUTION CASES OR, OR TRAFFICKING CASES.

UM, IT'S, IT'S ALL INVESTIGATED AS A LARGE ORGANIZED CRIME INVESTIGATION.

UM, SOME AS, UH, I'VE BEEN WITH AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT 28 YEARS, AND I'M FAIRLY NEW TO THE TRAFFICKING INVESTIGATIONS ARENA.

UM, AND MY DETECTIVES MAY BE MORE, MORE QUALIFIED TO SPEAK ON THIS, BUT ALL OF THEM WORK IN AN UNDERCOVER CAPACITY AT SOME FORM OR WAY.

SO I WOULD PREFER THEY NOT BE ON THE NEWS.

SO, UM, FORGIVE ME IF IT TAKES ME A WHILE TO ANSWER QUESTIONS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

UM, SO I'D LIKE TO TALK ABOUT SOME SIGNS OF TRAFFICKING AND, UM, THEY CAN TAKE, IT'S VERY HARD TO SPOT.

IF YOU SEE TRAFFICKING VICTIMS ARE NOT, THEY'RE OFTEN ISOLATED, SO YOU, YOU MIGHT SEE THEM BEING ISOLATED OR CONTROL THEN SCARE TO INTERACT WITH STRANGERS AND, UH, THEY DON'T HAVE BASIC NEEDS MET.

SO IF, IF YOU SEE SOMEONE THAT'S LOOKS HUNGRY, MAYBE ABUSED WITH, UH, BRUISES, UM, A BIG SIGN IS, IS THAT IF THEY DON'T HAVE CONTROL OF THEIR OWN CELL PHONE OR THEIR OWN PHONE, OR THEY DON'T HAVE CONTROL OF THEIR OWN IDENTIFICATION AND THAT'S, UH, UH, A BIG WAY THAT THESE TRAFFICKERS WILL CONTROL THEM, THEY CAN'T LEAVE WITHOUT AN ID OR A PASSPORT, AND THEY CAN'T REACH OUT FOR HELP WITHOUT THEIR PHONE.

UM, I WOULD SAY, UM, AGAIN, THAT, THAT THE MAJORITY OF CASES WE TAKE ARE THE EXPLOITATION OF TEENAGE GIRLS, AND THEY'RE USUALLY RUNAWAYS.

AND WE'VE COME TO NOTICE THAT THE MORE TIMES A PERSON HAS BEEN LISTED AS A RUNAWAY OR RECOVERED AS A RUNAWAY, THE MORE LIKELY THEY ARE TO BE VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING, UM, AND THE

[00:05:01]

COMMON VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

IT'S HARD TO, IT'S HARD TO TELL.

I MEAN, THERE'S NO, THERE'S NO REALLY COMMONALITY WITH VICTIMS. UM, BUT THE MAJORITY, OR FOR DOMINANTLY AGAIN, TEENAGE GIRLS WHO HAVE RUN AWAY FROM HOME AND DON'T HAVE A SAFE HOME TO GO TO.

A LOT OF TIMES, THEY WERE VICTIMS OF ABUSE AT THE HOME AT THEIR HOME AND RUN AWAY FROM THAT.

AND THEN OUR, UM, CRIME, UH, VICTIMS FOR TRAFFICKING.

UM, AS FAR AS PERPETRATORS GO, IT'S ALSO HARD TO FIND TO TELL THEM, UM, JUST LIKE THE VICTIMS TRAFFICKERS ARE COME FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE AND MAY EVEN INCLUDE FAMILY MEMBERS.

BUT IF YOU DO SEE SOMEONE, IF YOU SEE SOME SIGNS THAT YOU BELIEVE ARE TRAFFICKED, I'D LIKE TO SPREAD THE WORD THAT, THAT THE APD HUMAN TRAFFICKING UNIT IS HERE NOT ONLY TO INVESTIGATE TRAFFICKING CRIMES, BUT TO, TO RESCUE VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING AND, AND SET THEM ON A COURSE FOR RECOVERY AND FOR HELP.

AND, AND WE CAN DO THAT THROUGH OUR PARTNERS IN THE PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE HERE WITH ME ON THIS PANEL TO TALK.

UM, I DO WANT TO SAY THAT, UH, IF YOU DO WITNESS, WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS TRAFFICKING AND IT'S AN EMERGENT SITUATION, UH, I SUGGEST YOU DO NOT INTERVENE YOURSELF A LOT OF TIMES, UM, THAT CAN, UH, CAUSE THE TRAFFIC VICTIM TO BE ASSAULTED OR, OR YOU TO BE ASSAULTED.

UH, WHAT I SUGGEST IS TO CALL NINE ONE ONE.

SO THE TRAFFICKING, UH, HOTLINES AND THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOTLINES ARE GREAT INFORMATION SHARING, BUT IF IT'S AN EMERGENT PROBLEM THAT YOU THINK IS AN EMERGENCY, I SUGGEST CALLING NINE ONE ONE.

UM, THE MAJORITY OF OUR CASES THAT ARE WORKED, COME FROM OUR PATROL UNITS AND, AND THEY'RE ALL TRAINED TO RECOGNIZE AND TO, TO, UH, COORDINATE THE INITIAL CRIME SCENE AND CONTACT US HUMAN TRAFFICKING UNIT HAS SOMEONE ON CALL 24 HOURS A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK TO RESPOND TO, TO ANY, UH, CALLS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING, WHETHER IT BE A HOTEL ROOM OR A HOSPITAL, UM, WE CAN RESPOND TO ANY TIME OR DAY OR NIGHT, BUT, UH, AS THE PUBLIC I ASK THAT YOU DO NOT INTERVENE AND TO CALL NINE ONE, ONE WILL GET HUMAN TRAFFICKING UNIT INVOLVED IN THE INVESTIGATION.

AND ALL MY DETECTIVES ARE TRAINED AND HAVE CONTACTS WITH ALL OF THE, UH, OUTREACH ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE REPRESENTED HERE.

AND THAT'S ABOUT ALL I HAVE FOR AN OPENING.

I'LL LEAVE IT TO HOLLY NEXT.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, SERGEANT SPHERES AND, UM, AND EVERYONE ON THE PANEL, I'M REALLY HONORED TO BE WITH YOU GUYS.

AND, UM, AND AS SERGEANT SPEARS MENTIONED, UM, TRAFFICKING IS NOT AN OVER THERE PROBLEM.

IT'S A HERE PROBLEM AND IT'S A NOW PROBLEM.

UM, I'M A SURVIVOR MYSELF.

I CAME OUT OF THAT LIFE.

UH, IT'LL BE 20 YEARS AGO IN FEBRUARY.

AND JUST AS SERGEANT SPHERES MENTIONED, I FIT THE PROFILE IN EVERY WAY.

UM, THERE WAS SOME ABUSE IN MY CHILDHOOD AND, UM, IN MY HOME GROWING UP AND, UM, AND I, UH, RATHER THAN RUNNING AWAY, PHYSICALLY RAN AWAY TO DRUGS AND ALCOHOL AND, UH, AND THEN MET MY TRAFFICKER AS A TEENAGER.

AND, UH, IT WAS VULNERABLE TO A TRAFFICKING SITUATION BECAUSE OF THAT ABUSE I'D EXPERIENCED IN MY CHILDHOOD AND THAT ADDICTION, UM, IN, IN THE WORK I DO TODAY, I FIND THAT THEY'RE ARE THERE OFTEN AS A LINK BETWEEN TRAFFICKING VIOLENCE AND ADDICTION.

UH, THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE WOMEN WE WORK WITH WE'VE FOUND HAVE VIOLENCE IN THEIR, IN THEIR PAST AND THEIR HISTORY AND THEIR CHILDHOOD, AND, UM, AND GOT COMFORTABLE WITH VIOLENCE IN THAT SITUATION.

AND, UH, AND THEN HAVE TURNED TO AN ADDICTION EITHER BEFORE THEY MET THEIR TRAFFICKER OR OFTENTIMES DURING THE TRAFFICKING SITUATION.

UM, SO I, I RUN A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION HERE IN AUSTIN CALLED SANCTUARY PROJECT, AND WE ARE SPECIFICALLY FOCUSED ON PROVIDING EMPLOYMENT AND EMPOWERMENT TO WOMEN COMING OUT OF TRAFFICKING VIOLENCE AND ADDICTION.

OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS, I, WE STARTED IN FEBRUARY OF 2018 AND OVER THE LAST THREE YEARS, WE'VE, UH, EMPLOYED 28 SURVIVORS AND ADVOCATED FIVE OTHERS AND PROVIDED MORE THAN 12,000 HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT TO WOMEN HERE IN AUSTIN.

UM, BECAUSE WE GET TO SEE SPECIFICALLY WHAT THIS ISSUE LOOKS LIKE IN CENTRAL TEXAS AND IN AUSTIN.

UM, I CAN JUST GIVE YOU TODAY A UNIQUE LENS INTO WHAT IT'S LIKE ON THE GROUND FOR SURVIVORS HERE.

AND, UM, AND FOR NONPROFITS WHO ARE DOING THE WORK OF RESTORATION HERE.

SO SANCTUARY PROJECT OFTEN MEETS THE, THE WOMEN WE WORK WITH IN TRAVIS COUNTY JAIL.

UM, JUST AS SERGEANT SPEARS WAS TALKING ABOUT WORKING IN ORGANIZED CRIME.

A LOT OF THE WORK WE'RE DOING IS ACTUALLY MORE ON THE STREET LEVEL.

IT'S MORE, UH, GIRLS WHO'VE BEEN ARRESTED OFTEN FOR DRUG CHARGES OR PROSTITUTION CHARGES, AND THEN I'M ABLE TO MEET WITH THEM IN THE JAIL AND ACTUALLY IDENTIFY THAT THIS IS A TRAFFICKING SURVIVOR, AND THAT THERE THERE'S A TRAFFICKING CASE.

UM, SOMETIMES THEY'RE NOT EVEN BEING IDENTIFIED AS TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS BEFORE THEY GET TO TRAVIS COUNTY, UH, BECAUSE, UH, OFTENTIMES, UH, TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS NOT GOING TO SELF IDENTIFY, IT ACTUALLY TOOK ME ALMOST 10 YEARS TO REALIZE THAT MY SITUATION WAS TRAFFICKING BECAUSE I THOUGHT HE WAS MY BOYFRIEND AND I THOUGHT HE WAS HELPING ME OUT.

AND SO JUST LIKE SERGEANT SPEARS TALKED ABOUT THESE RELATIONSHIPS ARE SO MANIPULATIVE.

[00:10:01]

AND SO COERCIVE THAT I ACTUALLY THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, THIS IS MY BOYFRIEND.

HE LOVES ME.

HE'S TAKING CARE OF ME.

I'M TAKING CARE OF HIM AND ME DOING WHAT HE'S ASKING OF ME IS THE BEST WAY FORWARD, UM, GIVEN MY, MY CIRCUMSTANCES AND MY SITUATION.

AND SO, AS I SHARE MY STORY IN TRAVIS COUNTY JAIL, UM, OFTENTIMES GIRLS ARE COMING TO ME AND IDENTIFYING AS TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS THAT MAY NOT BE CAUGHT, UM, BY, UH, BY SERGEANT SPHERES AND THE WONDERFUL WORK THEY'RE DOING IN THE ORGANIZED CRIME DIVISION.

AND SO AT THAT POINT, WE'RE ABLE TO ADVOCATE FOR THEM, UM, HELP THEM TO GET INTO SAFE HOUSES OR RECOVERY COMMUNITIES.

UM, AND THEN HOPEFULLY START TO WORK WITH SANCTUARY PROJECT.

I, UH, I BELIEVE THAT, UM, WOMEN NEED TO REBUILD AND, AND YOUNG GIRLS NEED TO REBUILD THEIR SENSE OF IDENTITY AND SELF WORTH AND VALUE.

AND I THINK ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO DO THAT IS THROUGH EMPLOYMENT, UM, BECAUSE EMPLOYMENT HAS BEEN LINKED TO SOMETHING SO EXPLOITIVE AND, UM, IN, IN A LOT OF WAYS, HUMILIATING TAKING THAT SAME, UH, THAT SAME AREA EMPLOYMENT AND, AND, UH, USING IT FOR GOOD CAN BE, UH, JUST VITAL IN THEIR TRANSFORMATION AND THEIR RECOVERY.

AND WE'VE SEEN THAT IN, UH, IN OUR WORK AT SANCTUARY PROJECT.

UM, SO I THINK ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS, UM, I'VE NOTICED IS A LOT OF US ARE WORKING IN ISOLATION RIGHT NOW.

AND SO I'M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS PANEL AND ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT ARE ON THIS PANEL, BECAUSE THE MORE WE CAN WORK TOGETHER AS LAW ENFORCEMENT AND, UH, AND, AND POLICY MAKERS AND NGOS, UH, THE MORE WE'RE GOING TO SEE JUST A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HEALING IN THE CITY, WHICH IS REALLY EXCITING.

UM, I THINK WE ALL WANT TO SEE LASTING CHANGE IN THIS AREA.

UM, ONE OF THE GREATEST NEEDS WE HAVE AND SEE IN TERMS OF CARE IS, UM, WE NEED MORE BEDS IN AUSTIN.

UM, I KNOW ALISON IS WORKING WITH CARERS, UM, AT SAFE ALLIANCE, WHICH IS, UH, WHICH HAS A WONDERFUL PROGRAM.

BUT I THINK FOR, UH, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU GUYS WOULD ALL AGREE WITH THIS, BUT, UM, BUT IN MY EXPERIENCE, FINDING BEDS AND, UM, AND GETTING, GETTING WOMEN INTO LASTING LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES WHEN THEY'RE COMING OUT OF THIS SITUATION, ESPECIALLY ADULTS, UM, AND, AND YOUNG ADULTS, UH, IS THE BIGGEST NEED THAT, THAT I SEE RIGHT NOW FOR THE NGOS.

UM, SO THAT'S A LITTLE BIT OF OUR WORK AND OUR STORY.

UM, I'M GOING TO PASS IT ON NOW TO REBECCA SCHMIDT, PORTNOY WHO WORKS WITH REFUGEE SERVICES OF TEXAS.

AND SHE'LL PROBABLY BE ABLE TO GIVE A DIFFERENT LENS ON THIS FROM THE WORKSHEET AS THANKS FOR THAT INTRODUCTION.

HOLLY, MY NAME'S ERICA SCHMIDT PORTNOY.

I AM THE SENIOR PROGRAMS DIRECTOR AT REFUGEE SERVICES OF TEXAS OR RST.

WE ARE A VICTIM SERVICE PROVIDER FOR SURVIVORS OF TRAFFICKING AND VICTIMS OF OTHER CRIMES.

THOSE OTHER CRIMES MAY INCLUDE SEXUAL ASSAULT, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, A WAGE THEFT, THE LIST GOES ON, BUT OUR SURVIVORS OF TRAFFICKING EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM OR STEP IS DESIGNED TO HELP SURVIVORS OF TRAFFICKING THROUGH THEIR TRANSITION TO STABLE, INDEPENDENT LIVES.

RST SERVES ALL SURVIVORS OF TRAFFICKING, SO LABOR AND SEX TRAFFICKING, ADULTS AND MINORS, FOREIGN BORN AND DOMESTIC BORN FOR ASSET RST.

OUR REFERRALS COME IN THROUGH VARIOUS WAYS, BUT WE ALWAYS, ALWAYS ENCOURAGE THE COMMUNITY TO CALL THE NATIONAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOTLINE.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE, YOU KNOW, HAS BEEN A VICTIM OF TRAFFICKING, THE NATIONAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOTLINE NUMBER IS +1 888-373-7888.

AND YOU CAN ALSO TEXT THEM AT TWO THREE, THREE SEVEN THREE THREE, BUT THAT'S ALWAYS THE BEST WAY TO REACH OUT.

UNLESS AS, UH, AS SERGEANT SPEAR SAID, IT IS AN EMERGENCY.

WE AT RSD, WE UNDERSTAND THE MOVEMENT OF VICTIMS. VICTIMS CAN BE MOVED BY THEIR TRAFFICKERS OR FOR SAFETY REASONS, VICTIMS CAN MOVE THEMSELVES OR LAW ENFORCEMENT CAN, CAN RECOMMEND THAT THEY MOVE.

AND BECAUSE RST IS STATEWIDE AND WE HAVE OFFICES IN SIX DIFFERENT CITIES, WE ARE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THAT CONTINUED, UM, SUPPORT TO VICTIMS, REGARDLESS OF IF THEY MOVE TO ANOTHER CITY, THIS IMPROVES ENGAGEMENT WITH VICTIMS, THEY DON'T HAVE TO LEARN TO TRUST YET, AND NOW THEIR AGENCY, UH, AND IT AIDS LAW ENFORCEMENT WITH MULTI-CITY INVESTIGATIONS.

OR IF THEY'RE JUST TRYING TO, UM, TO REACH, UH, A VICTIM IN A CASE, UH, RST CAN QUICKLY BECOME THAT ONE CONSTANT IN EPIC DEMS LIFE LEE WITH THAT SAID LEAVING A TRAFFICKING SITUATION CAN BE INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT TO DO.

AND THAT IS WHY RST CASE MANAGERS AND STAFF ARE TRAINED.

THEY ARE READY TO MEET A SURVIVOR WHEREVER SHE OR HE IS IN THEIR JOURNEY.

UH, AND WHEN, WHEN A SURVIVOR IS REFERRED OR CONTEXT RST DIRECTLY, WHICH HAPPENS MORE OFTEN THAN, UM, THEN, THEN YOU WOULD THINK, UM, OUR TEAM IS ASSESSING THOSE BASIC

[00:15:01]

NEEDS.

FIRST, UH, ONCE IMMEDIATE SAFETY AND BASIC NEEDS HAVE BEEN ADDRESSED, UM, WE ARE WORKING THROUGH A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SUPPORT THAT JOURNEY TOWARDS AND THROUGH RECOVERY.

UH, AND SO WE ARE CONDUCTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING SCREENINGS.

WE ARE ON CALL 24 SEVEN, UH, AND PROVIDE A CRISIS INTERVENTION RESPONSE.

UH, WE SUPPORT THEM WITH BASIC NEEDS ASSISTANCE THAT MAY INCLUDE AND DOES INCLUDE MEDICAL ATTENTION AT TIMES, EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE, UM, INCLUDING GETTING, UM, GETTING BACK INTO THE FORMAL WORKFORCE, WHICH HOLLY WAS SPEAKING TO A LITTLE BIT.

UM, WE ALSO PROVIDE COUNSELING AND THERAPY OR THERAPY ON SITE, UH, AT RST VICTIM ADVOCACY, UH, TO NAVIGATE THE VARIOUS SYSTEMS, WHICH THERE ARE SO MANY SYSTEMS, UNFORTUNATELY, THAT VICTIMS OFTEN HAVE TO GO THROUGH, UH, INCLUDING THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT IS A BIG PART OF PROVIDING, UM, SERVICES AT, AT RST CASE MANAGEMENT.

AND, UM, EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ARE PROBABLY THE TWO, UM, TWO BIGGEST THINGS THAT WE ARE PROVIDING.

AND FOR FOREIGN BORN VICTIMS, WE ARE ALSO, UM, WORKING WITH THEM ON FAMILY REUNIFICATION.

SO OFTEN VICTIMS WHO ARE FOREIGN BORN HAVE BEEN, UM, HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FROM THEIR FAMILY, THEIR DIRECT FAMILY FOR YEARS.

UH, AND, AND THERE ARE, UH, THERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO REUNIFY, WHICH IS RE, WHICH IS WE'RE THINKABLE FOR, UH, BUT NONE OF THIS WORK WOULD REALLY BE POSSIBLE WITHOUT PARTNERSHIPS.

THEY ARE VITAL TO OUR WORK.

WE CANNOT WORK IN A SILO AND LAW ENFORCEMENT IS REALLY AT THE TOP OF THAT LIST.

APD HAS, HAS BEEN COMMITTED TO INDIAN TRAFFICKING IN TRAVIS COUNTY SINCE OUR RST AND APD WORKED, UM, THAT FIRST IDENTIFIED TRAFFICKING CASE IN 2003.

UM, SO IT'S ALMOST 20 YEARS AT THIS POINT, UM, WHICH REALLY DEMONSTRATES, I THINK THE COMMITMENT, UM, FROM, UH, FROM THIS COMMUNITY TO COMBAT TRAFFICKING, UM, THE DEPARTMENT COLLABORATES WITH SERVICE PROVIDERS LIKE RST AND OTHERS ON THE, UH, IN THE CONFERENCE TODAY TO REALLY ENSURE THAT WHETHER THEY ARE SINGLE VICTIMS THAT ARE IDENTIFIED OR VICTIMS FROM LARGE SCALE OPERATIONS, THAT THEY ARE CONNECTED TO VICTIM SERVICE PROVIDERS, WHETHER THERE IS A NEED FOR SHELTER, SUPPORT SERVICES, CASE MANAGEMENT, WHATEVER IT MAY BE.

UM, AND ALL OF WHICH ARE REALLY GOING TO HELP VICTIMS TRANSITION TO STABLE INDEPENDENT LIVES AND BECOME THRIVING SURVIVORS, UH, STRONG COMMUNITY SUPPORT FROM DONORS AND VOLUNTEERS ALSO IS, UH, IS WHAT ALLOWS RST TO VICTIM SERVICES SUPPORT TO WELL OVER 200 SURVIVORS A YEAR.

AND THAT, UH, TO, AS A BREAKDOWN, THAT REALLY MEANS AROUND 18 VICTIMS ARE CONNECTED TO RST EVERY MONTH.

AND ALMOST IN, UH, AROUND 25% OF THOSE ARE MINORS.

80% ARE WOMEN AND GIRLS, UM, UH, 11% ARE SOFT REFERRALS.

SO THOSE ARE VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS REACHING OUT FOR SUPPORT THEMSELVES OVER 50% ARE HISPANIC AND AROUND 35% ARE LABOR TRAFFICKING VICTIMS. UM, SO WE ALWAYS OFTEN, UM, AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO, TO TALK ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING.

THERE IS A, A LOT OR A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF LABOR TRAFFICKING THAT OCCURS IN OUR COMMUNITY AS WELL.

UM, SO WE REALLY COULDN'T DO WHAT WE DO AT RST WITHOUT APD AND THE COMMUNITY SUPPORT.

UM, WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP IN COMBATING TRAFFICKING.

AND IF YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED, UM, AFTER TODAY, PLEASE CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE.

UM, WE ARE AT, UH, R S T X.ORG.

AND NEXT UP WE HAVE MONICA, CHARLES, WHO I AM HONORED TO INTRODUCE, UM, MONICA RECEIVE SERVICES FROM RST, THROUGH OUR SURVIVORS OF TRAFFICKING EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM.

SHE IS INSPIRING.

AND MONICA, THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US TODAY.

THANK YOU, ERICA.

IT'S TRULY AN HONOR TO, UH, BE A PART OF THIS EVENT.

UM, AND AS, UM, ERICA WAS STATING, YES, I DID RECEIVE SERVICES THROUGH AUSTIN REFUGEE SERVICES, AND I CAN IDENTIFY WITH WHAT HOLLY WAS SAYING, RIGHT, BECAUSE I'M, I'M NOW 48.

AND, UM, HOW I ACTUALLY GOT INTO, UM, UH, THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING SITUATION WAS I WAS AN ACTIVE ADDICTION.

AND SO I, YOU KNOW, DID WHAT MOST ADDICTS DO AND WHICH IS, YOU KNOW, I NEEDED A WAY TO, UH, FUND AND SUPPORT MY ADDICTION.

AND SO THAT LED ME TO, UM, TO, UM, PLACES THAT I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD GO.

AND I MET A MAN WHO DECIDED, WHO SAID

[00:20:01]

HE WAS MY BOYFRIEND AND SAID THAT HE LOVED ME, MOVED ME INTO HIS HOUSE, UM, SOMEWHERE IN EAST AUSTIN, RIGHT.

UM, IN A MIDDLE-CLASS NEIGHBORHOOD, YOU KNOW, KIDS PLAYED IN THE STREET THAT WE LIVED ON.

UM, AND BEFORE LONG, HE TOLD ME THAT, UM, I ALSO NEEDED TO, UM, PROVIDE SERVICES TO OTHER MEN OUT OF OUR HOME, WHICH WAS VERY CONFUSING TO ME BECAUSE I JUST DIDN'T UNDERSTAND, YOU KNOW, I THOUGHT THAT HE LOVED ME AND WE WERE IN A COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP.

UM, AND SO DAILY LIFE FOR ME, THAT'S WHAT THAT CONSISTED OF, YOU KNOW, UM, WAS HE WENT TO WORK OUTSIDE OF THE HOME AND I WENT TO WORK INSIDE OF THE HOME AND MEN WERE COMING IN AND OUT OF OUR HOUSE DAILY.

AND HOW, UM, NEIGHBORS WEREN'T WEREN'T, UM, DIDN'T NOTICE IT.

UM, I, I'M NOT SURE.

UH, BECAUSE LIKE I SAID, IT WAS IN A NORMAL MIDDLE-CLASS AUSTIN NEIGHBORHOOD.

RIGHT.

AND THAT'S WHAT MY LIFE CONSISTED OF FOUR OR FIVE MEN COMING INTO THE HOME EACH DAY.

UM, AND, UH, WHAT MOTIVATED ME TO ESCAPE WAS HE THREW ME OUT BECAUSE I DECIDED I JUST DIDN'T WANT TO DO THAT ANYMORE.

BUT PRIOR TO ME LEAVING, YOU KNOW, HE MADE SURE TO LET ME KNOW THAT THAT WAS MY LIFE AND THAT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE MY LIFE.

SO I ENDED UP IN ANOTHER SITUATION.

SO IT NOT ONLY HAPPENED ONCE TO ME, IT HAPPENED TWICE.

AND I STILL WASN'T REALLY SURE THAT IT HAPPENED BECAUSE, UM, I THOUGHT THAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO LIVE MY LIFE AND, AND, YOU KNOW, AS A HISPANIC WOMAN, WE, WE, UM, SERVE OUR MEN AND WE DO, AS WE'RE TOLD, AND WE DON'T, WE DON'T, WE DON'T ASK QUESTIONS.

RIGHT.

SO I JUST BELIEVE THAT THAT WAS MY ROLE WAS TO DO WHATEVER HE NEEDED ME TO DO SO THAT I COULD LIVE IN THE HOUSE AND I CAN HAVE MONEY TO FEED MYSELF AND FLOATED MYSELF.

AND WHEN HE ALLOWED ME TO, I, HE WOULD GIVE ME MONEY, BUT MOST OF THE TIME, NOT THAT WENT TOWARDS THE HOME.

SO WHEN I, YOU KNOW, IT WAS JUST AT THE END OF MY ROPE, I OPENED MY MOUTH AND SAID, I DIDN'T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE.

AND I WILL SAY THAT, UM, AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT DID, I THINK WHEN I DID CALL THE POLICE, ONCE THE POLICE WERE CALLED, UM, HOWEVER, SOMEHOW I ENDED UP IN JAIL THAT NIGHT BECAUSE I WAS TRYING TO INVITE LIFE BECAUSE IT WAS, THE ABUSE WAS SO BAD.

AND WHEN THEY COME OUT, YOU KNOW, UM, PES DOES COME OUT AND I WAS, YOU KNOW, THE VICTIM AND THEN FELT LIKE I WAS A THREAT TO MYSELF AND OTHERS.

SO I, I GOT TAKEN AWAY, BUT SOMETHING, I EITHER SPRING SOMETHING OR SAID SOMETHING, CAUSE APD DID COME BACK AND OFFER SERVICES.

I JUST WAS SCARED AND UNWILLING TO OPEN MY MOUTH.

AND HONESTLY, I JUST W I WASN'T EVEN AWARE OF WHAT TRAFFICKING WAS.

AND I THOUGHT THAT WAS MY ROLE.

AND PLUS I WAS IN ACTIVE ADDICTION AT THE TIME.

SO DIDN'T REALLY THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS A WAY OUT.

AND SO WHEN HE KICKED ME OUT, HE KICKED ME OUT INTO ANOTHER PLACE.

AND I WENT ON TO DO THE SAME THING.

AND THEN AGAIN, I MET ANOTHER MAN WHO BECAME MY BOYFRIEND AND SUPPORTED ME IN MY LIFESTYLE, UM, IN MY ADDICTION AND KEPT ME, UM, KEPT ME CLOTHED, KEPT ME IN THE HOME, KEPT, YOU KNOW, PROVIDED ME MONEY FOR, FOR THE DRUGS THAT I NEEDED.

AND THE MORE I USED, THE MORE THAT, THAT I BECAME ENSLAVED THAT ADDICTION.

RIGHT.

UM, I DIDN'T THINK THAT THERE WOULD EVER BE A WAY OUT.

UM, AND I THINK THAT THE FINAL STRAW FOR ME WAS, UM, I WAS USING SO MUCH THAT I WANTED TO END MY LIFE.

AND I ACTUALLY JUST CRIED OUT TO GOD AND SAID, CAN YOU EITHER KILL ME? OR CAN YOU HELP ME? AND GOD HEARD MY PRAYER.

RIGHT? LIKE HE HEARD MY PRAYER AND I GOT OUT, UM, I CA CONTACTED APD AGAIN AND, AND JUST ASK FOR HELP BECAUSE THE MAN WHO WAS HOLDING ME AT THAT POINT WAS MARRIED AND HIS WIFE FOUND OUT AND SHE CAME IN AND THREATENED ME AND THREATENED HIM.

AND THAT'S WHEN APD STEPPED UP AND THEY OFFERED, YOU KNOW, THEY GAVE ME THE LITTLE PINK PLANT PAMPHLET, RIGHT.

AND SO I CALLED THE RESOURCES AND I DID, I ENDED UP AT, UM, AUSTIN REFUGEE SERVICES AND WITH SO MUCH GUILT AND SO MUCH SHAME AND NOT EVEN REALIZE ZINC WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO ME BECAUSE BOTH MEN WERE MY BOYFRIENDS, RIGHT.

THEY BOTH MEN TOLD ME THAT THEY LOVED ME.

BOTH MEN TOLD ME THAT THEY WERE GOING TO TAKE CARE OF ME AND THAT I WOULD NEVER BE WITHOUT.

AND AS LONG AS I WAS IN ACTIVE ADDICTION, I REALLY DIDN'T CARE.

UM, WHAT, WHAT MY LIFE WAS.

AND I THOUGHT THAT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE MY LIFE.

UM, BUT, YOU KNOW, ONCE THE, THE MAN'S WIFE FOUND OUT HE WAS DONE WITH ME.

AND SO I, I LEARNED THAT I WASN'T, YOU KNOW, WHO HE TOLD ME I WAS, AND I LEARNED THAT I WASN'T GOING TO MARRY HIM.

AND THEN IT WASN'T UNTIL I WENT TO AUSTIN REFUGEE SERVICES.

AND THEY SAID, YOU KNOW, IF THAT SOMETHING HAD HAPPENED TO ME AND I'M LIKE, WELL, THERE'S NO WAY THAT THAT HAPPENED TO ME.

CAUSE I, I DESERVED IT.

RIGHT.

I, I WAS, YOU KNOW, A SLAVE TO THE DISEASE OF ADDICTION.

[00:25:01]

UM, AND SO I WAS JUST WILLING TO DO WHATEVER IT TOOK.

AND THAT MOMENT OF CLARITY CAME FOR ME WHEN I JUST, I COULDN'T USE ENOUGH SUBSTANCES TO END THE PAIN AND I COULDN'T END MY LIFE.

UM, AND SO I WENT TO THEM, I STARTED ATTENDING 12 STEP MEETINGS, RIGHT.

AND LITTLE BY LITTLE, UM, I FOUND A WAY OUT, I GOT IN INTRODUCED THROUGH, UM, TO ANOTHER AGENCY, WHICH IS CALLED THE KEY TO FREE AND GEORGETOWN, TEXAS.

UM, THEY PUT ME IN A SAFE HOME AND I HAVE BEEN THERE, UM, WITH THAT AGENCY SINCE, SINCE I LEFT, UM, THE SITUATION THAT I WAS IN, UH, JANUARY 22ND, 2019 WAS THE DAY I STOPPED USING SUBSTANCES.

AND THE DAY I STOPPED SELLING MYSELF.

RIGHT.

UM, AND SO I'M VERY FORTUNATE AND I'M VERY GRATEFUL.

UM, AND IT IS ONLY BY GOD'S GRACE AND MERCY THAT I WAS ABLE TO GET OUT AND SPEAK UP ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED.

CAUSE IT BROUGHT ME A LOT OF SHAME AND, UM, IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK.

I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, I'M A GROWN WOMAN, I'M AN ADULT WOMAN.

HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING TO ME? BECAUSE USUALLY WHEN YOU THINK OF TRAFFICKING, YOU THINK OF, YOU KNOW, SMALL CHILDREN BEING TAKEN OUT OF THEIR HOMES.

UM, AND AGAIN, I, I WAS LIVING THE LIFE OF A PROSTITUTE SELLING MYSELF.

SO I BELIEVED THAT THAT THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT I DESERVED.

UM, BUT AGAIN, BOTH PLACES WHERE I LIVED WERE, AND ONE WAS IN SOUTH AUSTIN.

THE SECOND WAS IN SOUTH AUSTIN, UM, SMALL APARTMENT COMMUNITY.

AND AGAIN, PEOPLE SAW MEN COMING IN AND OUT DAILY.

AND THEN FINALLY, THEY JUST SAW ONE MAN.

AND I NEVER CAME OUT.

I NEVER CAME OUT OF HIDING.

UM, CAUSE I WASN'T HIDING.

SO, UM, I GUESS WHAT I WANT TO BRING AWARENESS TO IS TO THE ADULT WOMEN.

RIGHT.

UM, AND IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING, UM, IF YOU SEE A WOMAN THAT'S HIDING AND DOESN'T SPEAK AND NEVER COMES OUT AND YOU SEE MEN IN AND OUT OF HER HOME, YOU KNOW, IT'S PROBABLY A GOOD INDICATION THAT SOMETHING BAD IS HAPPENING THERE.

KNOCK ON THE DOOR, ASK HER IF SHE'S OKAY, ASK HER IF SHE'S HUNGRY.

UM, YOU KNOW, SAY SOMETHING I THINK, BECAUSE IT DOES HAPPEN BECAUSE IT HAPPENED TO ME AND I DID IT.

I WANT TO ADMIT THAT IT HAPPENED, BUT IT DID.

AND I NEVER BELIEVED THAT I WOULD FIND A WAY OUT, BUT YOU KNOW, UH, LIKE I SAID, GOD, GOD SAVED ME AND I'M NOT CONFUSED ABOUT THAT.

AND I KNOW I'M ALIVE TODAY BECAUSE OF GOD'S LOVE GRACE AND MERCY.

I GOT OUT, I AM NOW EMPLOYED.

UM, I WORK WITH OTHER ADDICTS.

UM, I'M ALSO GOING TO SCHOOL, I'M PURSUING MY SOCIAL WORK DEGREE AND I HOPE TO BRING AWARENESS AND TO HELP OTHER WOMEN.

UM, AND SOON I'LL HAVE MY OWN PLACE.

RIGHT.

I'M STILL, YOU KNOW, IN THE SAFE HOUSE THAT THE KEY TO FREE HAS HELPED PROVIDE FOR ME.

AND THEY'VE GIVEN ME COUNSELING AND THEY'VE HELPED ME TO REALIZE THAT IT WASN'T MY FAULT AND I DIDN'T DESERVE IT SO FREE FROM, UM, METHAMPHETAMINE AND, UM, THE TWO WEEKS IN A WEEK AND A HALF.

SO I'VE GOT TWO YEARS, UM, BEING CLEAN AND FREE, NOT ONLY FROM THE DRUGS, BUT ALSO FROM THE LIFESTYLE.

SO I HOPE TO ANY WOMAN AND, AND CHILD OR YOUNG LADY THAT IS SEEING THIS, THAT MAY SEE THIS, UM, CALL NINE ONE, ONE CALL, UM, AUSTIN REFUGEE SERVICES CALLED SAFE ALLIANCE.

I MADE ALL THOSE CALLS KEEP CALLING UNTIL SOMEBODY HEARS YOU BECAUSE I MADE THOSE CALLS.

UM, IT WAS DIFFICULT TO NAVIGATE THROUGH, THROUGH THE SYSTEM FOR ME.

UM, BUT THEY, THEY PERSISTENCE, RIGHT.

I EVEN CALLED THE NATIONAL TRAFFICKING HOTLINE.

I DID NOT STOP BECAUSE I WANTED, I WANTED OUT AND I GOT OUT AND I NEVER, EVER BELIEVED THAT I WOULD BE ABLE TO GET OUT.

SO IF I CAN GET OUT, I KNOW THAT YOU CAN TOO, THERE IS HOPE.

AND PLEASE DON'T THINK THAT THAT GOD DOESN'T LOVE YOU BECAUSE HE DOES.

IF HE CAN LOVE ME.

I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT HE LOVES YOU.

UM, AND THAT'S JUST MY STORY, RIGHT? UM, THAT'S WHERE I CAME FROM, BUT THAT'S NOT WHERE I HAVE TO EVER GO BACK AGAIN.

AND I KNOW THAT I WAS SAVED SO THAT I COULD SPEAK UP AND BRING THE AWARENESS TO THE YOUNG WOMEN, TO THE OLDER WOMEN, SUCH AS MYSELF.

UM, AND, AND MAYBE OFFER JUST A LITTLE BIT OF HOPE AND DON'T BE AFRAID DON'T BE SILENT, SPEAK UP BECAUSE I'M HERE TO TELL YOU THAT THERE IS A WAY OUT AND I HOPE THAT THIS CAN HELP SOMEBODY.

UM, AND AGAIN, IT'S SUCH AN HONOR AND SUCH A PRIVILEGE TO BE ABLE TO BE HERE AND SPEAK MY TRUTH.

AND THANK FOR ASKING ME TO DO THAT.

AND SO WITH THAT, I'LL PASS IT OVER TO ALISON WHO, YOU KNOW, I'VE, I'VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF SPEAKING WITH, UM, PRIOR TO THIS, AND HOPEFULLY WE'LL GET TO DO THAT AGAIN AFTER THIS.

SO THANK YOU SO MUCH ELLISON ABILITY.

I SO APPRECIATE IT.

I GOT SO MUCH, I'M SO GRATEFUL FOR TODAY.

I TOO

[00:30:02]

AM A SERVICE PROVIDER DIRECT SERVICES HERE IN AUSTIN, AND I'M ALSO A SURVIVOR OF TRAFFICKING IN TODAY'S A REALLY IMPORTANT DAY, AND I'M REALLY GRATEFUL FOR EVERYONE THAT'S PARTICIPATING IN THIS, UM, AND ENCOURAGE ALL OF YOU THAT, UM, THERE'S ROOM FOR EVERYBODY IN THIS FIGHT.

AND IT WILL TAKE ALL OF US TO JOIN IT, TO REALLY MAKE A DENT IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

UM, IT IS ONE OF THE MOST, UM, AGREGIOUS, UM, JUST PUT DISPROPORTIONATE, UM, HARMS AGAINST, UM, INDIVIDUALS IN OUR, IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND IT IS DEFINITELY IN OUR BACKYARD.

IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT, UM, IS HAPPENING OVER THERE.

YOU KNOW, WE OFTEN LOOK AT THE NEWS AND YOU SEE, UM, YOU KNOW, THE THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING IN, IN, UM, YOU KNOW, THAILAND OR OTHER PLACES.

AND IT IS, UM, FUELING, UM, OUR ABILITY TO NOT LOOK AT THE PROBLEM AND THE ISSUE THAT'S REALLY HAPPENING HERE IN TRAVIS COUNTY AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS.

UM, AND IT'S IMPORTANT, RIGHT? BECAUSE WE HAVE, UM, WE HAVE KIDS IN OUR COMMUNITY THAT, UM, COULD BE AT RISK OF BEING TRAFFICKED.

UM, AND IT'S, IT'S DEFINITELY THE MOST EGREGIOUS VIOLATION AGAINST HUMANITY.

I KNOW THAT EVERY DOLLAR MADE IS AT THE COST OF COMPLETE DEGRADATION OF HUMAN DIGNITY.

IT'S A HIGHLY COMPLEX ISSUE, RIGHT? IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANY RACE, ANY GENDER, ANY ETHNICITY OR SOCIAL ECONOMIC BRACKET, UH, ECONOMIC BACKGROUNDS.

SO IT'S NOT A BLACK ISSUE OR A, UM, POOR ISSUE.

THIS, THIS CAN HAPPEN TO EVERYONE.

UM, OUTSIDE OF BEING A SURVIVOR, I DO, UM, SERVE AS THE PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR CARES AT SAFE ALLIANCE.

SO WE SERVE TRAFFIC YOUTH AGE 12 TO 24.

UM, BUT I DO OTHER WORK OUTSIDE OF THAT AS WELL.

I'VE WORKED IN POLICY.

I CREATED MY OWN LEGISLATION LAST SESSION, UM, IN TEXAS FLEDGE, I TRAIN LAW ENFORCEMENT AND HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS, UM, PROSECUTORS ACROSS THE US, AND ALSO, UM, DO TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING COURTS ACROSS THE U S AND, AND OTHERS.

BUT WITH THAT BEING SAID, UM, YOU KNOW, DESPITE IT BEING, UM, A GLOBAL CRISIS, THERE ARE COMMON, TRAGIC BREADS, ESPECIALLY HERE IN THE U S AND TRACKING DISPROPORTIONALLY AFFECTS WOMEN AND GIRLS AND WOMEN AND GIRLS OF COLOR, UM, TRACKING PRAISE AND EXPLOITS PEOPLE ON THEIR VULNERABILITIES.

UM, AND SO THERE ARE MANY FORMS. IT LOOKS A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS.

AND SANDY, OUR ANTI-TRAFFICKING MOVEMENT IS POORLY POORLY BRANDED THIS.

I THINK SOMEONE ALREADY MENTIONED THIS.

THEY WERE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THAT PRETTY YOUNG WHITE GIRL.

THAT'S BEAT UP AND TIED UP BECAUSE IF YOU LOOK UP HUMAN TRAFFICKING ONLINE, THAT'S WHAT YOU'LL SEE.

UM, AND THE REALITY IS, UM, THEY'RE HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT BECAUSE OF THAT, RIGHT.

WE'RE NOT SEEING THEM IN OUR OWN COMMUNITIES.

UM, AND IT, AND IT ALSO FEELS, UM, MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT TRAPPERS.

SO YOU MIGHT BE LOOKING FOR SNOOP DOG OR ICE TEA OR SOMEONE LIKE THAT, BUT YOU'RE MISSING THE GUY IN THE SUIT, BUYING THE CARAMEL MACCHIATO IN FRONT OF YOU AND STARBUCKS.

UM, BUT IT'S EXTREMELY PREVALENT.

UM, AND SADLY, OFTENTIMES THE VICTIMS ARE REVICTIMIZED BY THE VERY INSTITUTIONS THAT ARE MEANT TO, TO HELP THEM PROTECT THEM.

I WAS ONE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS, UM, BUT MINORS AND ADULTS FACED SIMILAR, UH, VULNERABILITIES.

AND, UM, GENERALLY GETS A HISTORY OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE.

THAT'S REALLY WHERE MY STORY BEGINS.

SO IT'S CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE.

IT COULD BE HOMELESSNESS, UH, RAN AWAY AT 11 OR 12 BY MYSELF, UH, HOMELESS IN HOUSTON, TEXAS WITH NO FOOD, NO CLOTHES, NO POLICE ASLEEP, UM, STARTED ENGAGING IN SURVIVAL SEX TO GET MY NEEDS MET.

SO A LOT OF OUR CLIENTS AND A LOT OF INDIVIDUALS ARE PREY TO TRAFFICKERS, RIGHT? IT'S A VULNERABILITY, UM, TO BE IN THOSE SITUATIONS, BUT OUR FOSTER CARE AND JUVENILE JUSTICE INVOLVEMENT, UM, POVERTY AND, AND ALL THOSE TWO DEFINITELY ADD TO, UM, THOSE RISK FACTORS.

AND I THINK TOO, THAT, UM, IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT, AND DESPITE INDIVIDUALS WORKING IN THE SEX TRADE, IS IT QUALIFIES AS A VULNERABILITY, RIGHT? UM, SO THERE'S NUMEROUS FACTORS AT INDIVIDUAL COMMUNITY AND SYSTEM LEVELS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE PREVAILING SORT OF SEX TRAFFICKING.

UM, LABOR TRAFFICKING BY FAR IS THE HIGHEST AMOUNT OF VICTIMIZATION IN THE TRAFFICKING REALM IN THE STATE OF TEXAS.

AND WE NEED TO SPEND MORE TIME, UM, TALKING ABOUT THAT RAISING AWARENESS AND CREATING INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TOWARDS THAT.

UM, SO FUNDING IS ALWAYS AN ISSUE.

I ENCOURAGE YOU IF YOU HAVE TIME OR IF YOU HAVE MONEY, UH, DONATE ONE OR THE OTHER, UM, OR BOTH, UH, BUT WE ALWAYS ARE RUNNING SCARCE ON RESOURCES.

UM, AND IT TAKES, YOU KNOW, A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO REACH ACROSS A MULTITUDE OF DEMOGRAPHICS.

RIGHT.

UM, AND, UM, IT, IT'S DEFINITELY GOING TO TAKE ALL OF US TO INVEST IN THIS FIGHT.

SO I THINK TEXAS IS, UM, I THINK LAST THAT I READ IN 2019, IT RACES, UM, ONE OF THE FIVE HIGHEST STATES, UH, WITH SEX TRAFFICKING ACTIVITY.

AND, UM, I THINK IT WAS HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOTLINE.

IT RELATED, UH, 2,720 TRACKING RELATED CALLS FROM TEXAS.

AND OUT OF THAT, 1000 OVER A THOUSAND CASES OF TRAFFICKING WERE REPORTED.

AND SO OF THOSE 111 WERE LABOR TRAFFICKING.

AND WE'RE JUST NOT TALKING ABOUT THAT

[00:35:01]

ENOUGH.

UM, BUT THERE ARE A FEW COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMS FOR SURVIVORS OF TRAFFICKING IN AUSTIN AND CENTRAL TEXAS, AND EVEN FEWER LIKE ST THE ORGANIZATION THAT I WORK FOR BECAUSE WE OFFER INTEGRATED SERVICES FOR SURVIVORS, INCLUDING EMERGENCY SHELTER, TRANSITIONAL HOUSING COUNSELING, UM, FORENSIC NURSING ADVOCACY, PEER SUPPORT, LEGAL SERVICES, AND MUCH MORE.

UM, BUT WE CAN'T DO THAT WITHOUT ALL OUR PARTNERS, AMAZING PARTNERS LIKE RSC.

WE GET TO PARTNER WITH EVERY DAY ON THE FRONT LINES.

AND, UM, THAT'S REALLY WHERE, UH, WHERE WE, WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE GROUND, RIGHT, IS THROUGH COLLABORATION.

AND SO OUR, UM, OUR PROGRAMS JUST IT'S UTILIZED TO BE GENDER SPECIFIC.

SO WE SERVE ALL GENDERS, ALL RACES, ALL ETHNICITIES, ALL, UM, UH, IT DOESN'T MATTER.

WE JUST MEET YOU RIGHT WHERE YOU'RE AT.

UH, WE'RE, TRAUMA-FOCUSED DRINK BASED, UM, AND CLIENT DRIVEN.

AND WE, UM, WE DEFINITELY ARE SURVIVOR LED AND SURVIVOR DRIVEN.

SO, UM, MYSELF, I WAS ALSO AN ADDICT RIGHT DUE TO THE CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE.

AND AS A YOUNG ADULT, I FOUND MYSELF IN A, IN A, UM, VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION WHERE I WAS ACTIVELY, UM, PROSTITUTING AND IN THE LIFE WITH MY ADDICTION.

AND I BECAME TARGETED BY GANG MEMBERS.

UM, THEY WOULD BE ORDERED TO KIDNAP ME AND, UH, ME TO PROSTITUTE AND, AND UNSPEAKABLE THINGS, AND I WOULD RUN AND THEY WOULD FIND ME, AND EVENTUALLY MY REAL TRAFFICKER SHOWED UP AS MY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR.

UM, AND HE PRETENDED TO RESCUE ME AND SAVED ME, TOLD ME HE COULD KEEP ME SAFE.

AND, UM, I, WHAT I DIDN'T REALIZE IS AT THAT VERY MOMENT, I WAS ALREADY BEING GROOMED AND, UM, THAT THE, THAT IT HAD ALREADY STARTED.

RIGHT.

AND SO I ACTUALLY, IT WAS WITH MY, MY TRAFFICKER FOR NEARLY A DECADE.

AND, UM, THE OTHER COMMON TRAGIC THREAD THAT I OFTEN WORK IN IS A VICTIM OFFENDER OVERLAP.

SO NOT ONLY WAS I GROOMED AND, UM, AND TRAINED TO BE HIS PROPERTY AND PROSTITUTE, BUT I WAS ALSO GROOMED AND TRAINED TO, UH, PURCHASE ALL HIS DRUGS, SELL ALL HIS DRUGS, TAKE THE PENITENTIARY RISK FOR HIS DRUGS, AS WELL AS OTHER, UH, ORGANIZED CRIME, UM, ISSUES, WHICH I WON'T SAY I DIDN'T GET CAUGHT FOR THEM ALL.

I WANTED TO GO HOME TODAY.

UM, BUT YES, THAT IS A HUGE, HUGE ISSUE THAT WE OFTEN THERE ARE SURVIVORS.

UM, I THINK ACCORDING TO ONE RESEARCH TO 90% OF SURVIVORS HAVE REPORTED BEING ERUPTED AND A HALF OF THOSE MORE THAN NINE TIMES.

AND SO THAT'S A THING THAT WE WORK ON VERY DILIGENTLY.

UM, SO INSTEAD I STICK OLD, I WAS NEVER EXTRACTED.

I WAS NEVER RESCUED.

I WAS NEVER IDENTIFIED.

UM, IF I WAS IDENTIFIED, IT WAS AS SOMETHING ELSE TO VIOLENCE, UM, OR A DRUG ADDICT, OR, UM, ANY, ANY OF THOSE MISCONCEPTIONS AND PRECONCEPTIONS BASIS WE BRING INTO THE SPACE, UM, OFTEN INHIBITED ME FROM BEING IDENTIFIED INSTEAD I CYCLED IN AND OUT OF OUR PRISON SYSTEM.

SO I WENT TO PRISON FIVE TIMES IN YEARS, COLLECTIVELY BEHIND BARS.

AND I'M NEARLY, I HAD, I HAVE EIGHT FELONIES.

MY NINTH WAS THE LAST ONE, BUT I ACTUALLY GOT X SERVICES FOR THE FIRST TIME.

IT ACTUALLY HELPED ME GET OUT OF THE LIFE.

UM, IMAGINE IF I HAD HAD THAT ON FRONT END INSTEAD OF THE BACK END.

UM, BUT ALL THOSE MONIES REALLY ALL WERE INCURABLE UNDER THE OPPRESSION OF MY CHAPTER.

SO WITH THAT BEING SAID, UM, THERE'S STILL A LOT OF WORK TO DO, AND WE NEED YOUR HELP.

AND, UM, I ENCOURAGE YOU TO, UM, REACH OUT TO US, RIGHT.

REACH OUT AND SEE HOW YOU CAN EVEN GET HOW YOU CAN GET, UM, CONNECTED WITH, UH, ADVOCACY AGENCIES.

AND, AND WE WORK ON A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH FROM, UH, THE TRACKING CONTINUUM.

SO THAT'S FROM PREVENTION TO RECOVERY AND, AND THERE'S DEFINITELY ROOM FOR ALL OF YOU IN THIS FIGHT.

THAT'S ALL I HAVE.

THANK YOU, ALISON.

WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR MESSAGE.

UM, LASTLY, WE'LL, UH, HAVE TIFFANY, TIFFANY LEE, UH, WHO'S THE PARTNERSHIP MANAGER WITH ALLIES AGAINST SLAVERY.

UH, SHE'LL BE BRINGING US HER MESSAGE.

UH, I THINK I'LL PASS IT OFF TO YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, KEVIN.

AND THANK YOU, ALISON, AND TO EVERYONE ELSE ON THIS CALL, THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME TO SPEAK TODAY.

IT IS SUCH AN HONOR TO BE HERE WITH EACH OF YOU.

UM, SO LIKE YOU SAID, MY NAME IS TIFFANY LEE.

I'M THE PARTNERSHIP MANAGER FOR ALLIES AGAINST SLAVERY.

AND AS YOU'VE BEEN HEARING TODAY, YOU KNOW, HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS A CRIME THAT INVOLVES THE EXPLOITATION OF MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN, OR FORCED LABOR OR FORCED SEX BY A THIRD PARTY FOR THEIR OWN PROFIT OR GAIN.

AND THIS CRIME DOES OCCUR ACROSS ALL TYPES OF COMMUNITIES AND AFFECTS VICTIMS ACROSS THE STATE OF TEXAS, INCLUDING RIGHT HERE IN AUSTIN AND ALLIES AGAINST SLAVERY IS A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION BASED HERE IN AUSTIN.

AND OUR MISSION IS TO INHUMAN TRAFFICKING AND TO PROTECT FREEDOM AND DIGNITY ALLIES HAS WORKED IN THIS SPACE FOR OVER A DECADE.

AND CO-LEADS THE CENTRAL TEXAS COALITION AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING, WHICH IS A REGIONAL NETWORK OF OVER 65 AGENCIES DEDICATED TO PROVIDING COMPREHENSIVE SERVICES TO SURVIVORS, REFUGEE SERVICES OF TEXAS AND SAFE WHO BOTH SPOKEN HERE TODAY ARE

[00:40:01]

TWO OF THOSE PARTNERS THAT WE WORK WITH THROUGH BOTH THE COALITION AND THROUGH OUR PLATFORM CALLED LIGHTHOUSE.

UM, LIGHTHOUSE IS A POWERFUL SOFTWARE TOOL THAT HELPS PROFESSIONALS AND ORGANIZATIONS IDENTIFY VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING, COORDINATE CARE, AND GAIN VALUABLE INSIGHTS ON DATA TRENDS.

THERE ARE OVER 75 SITES AND MORE THAN 600 PROFESSIONALS ACROSS TEXAS WHO ARE CURRENTLY USING LIGHTHOUSE.

AND THEY HAVE CONDUCTED MORE THAN 2,400 SCREENINGS OF OVER 2000 INDIVIDUALS.

SINCE MAY OF LAST YEAR, LIGHTHOUSE HAS INTEGRATED A SCREENING TOOL CALLED SEE, IT THAT'S BEEN USED SINCE 2016 ACROSS THE STATE OF TEXAS AND OVERALL NEARLY 35,000 SCREENINGS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED WITH OVER 4,400 INDIVIDUAL SCREENINGS OR ABOUT 13% SHOWING A CLEAR CONCERN FOR SEX TRAFFICKING.

SO I JUST WANT TO REITERATE, YOU KNOW, WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID TODAY.

YOU KNOW, WHETHER YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL WHO MAY ENCOUNTER SURVIVOR, OR YOU'RE JUST A MEMBER OF THE AUSTIN COMMUNITY, EVERY PERSON DOES PLAY A CRUCIAL ROLE IN ERADICATING HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ISSUE BY VISITING OUR WEBSITE@ALLIESAGAINSTSLAVERY.ORG.

THERE, YOU CAN ALSO LEARN MORE ABOUT ALLIES AND LIGHTHOUSE AND HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT US DOING THIS IMPORTANT WORK.

YOU CAN ALSO REACH OUT TO US ANYTIME@INFOATALLIESAGAINSTSLAVERY.ORG.

AND I THANK YOU AGAIN SO MUCH FOR, INCLUDING ME TODAY AND LOOK FORWARD TO ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, TIFFANY.

UM, NEXT WE'LL PASS IT OVER TO OUR POOR REPORTER, LUISA KOSTA WITH UNIVISION, UH, FOR, UH, SOME QUESTIONS FROM OUR SPEAKERS.

HI.

YES.

THANK YOU.

UM, YEAH, I'M GOING TO START WITH THIS QUESTION.

WHAT IS THE PERCENTAGE OF HISPANICS AFFECTED BY HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN TEXAS? AND WHAT RECOMMENDATIONS DO YOU GIVE PEOPLE WHO MAY BE UNDOCUMENTED AND MAYBE SCARED TO REPORT CASES? I CAN START WITH THAT.

UH, THE WASTE.

IT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

I, I, FOR, FOR US, YOU KNOW, THE, THE NUMBERS THAT I PROVIDED EARLIER WERE AUSTIN SPECIFIC, BUT WE ARE A STATEWIDE.

AND FOR US STATEWIDE, WE, UM, WE SEE AROUND 67% OF THE, OF THE INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE REFERRED FOR OUR SERVICES AS BEING HISPANIC OR LATINO.

SO VERY HIGH.

AND CERTAINLY DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU'RE AT IN, IN, UH, IN TEXAS, IT'S, UH, IT'S THE DOMINANT, UM, DEMOGRAPHIC FOR, FOR VICTIMS. UM, I THINK FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNDOCUMENTED, UM, THAT IS A LEGITIMATE FEAR, UM, AND SOMETHING THAT WE REALLY HAVE TO COMBAT WITHIN THE COMMUNITY, UM, THAT WHEN YOU DO MAKE AN OUTCRY AND YOU ARE UNDOCUMENTED, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE, UM, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE, UH, FACED THE RE YOU KNOW, ANY REPERCUSSIONS BECAUSE OF YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS.

UM, TRAFFICKING IS NOT A, UM, IT'S, IT'S, IT, NOBODY SHOULD BE TRAFFICKED.

IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS IS.

AND I THINK WE CAN ALL AGREE ON THAT.

HOWEVER, OUT IN THE COMMUNITY, WE STILL HAVE A LOT OF EDUCATION TO DO AROUND THAT, RIGHT? SO THAT IF YOU DO MAKE AN OUTCRY TO, UM, YOUR SCHOOL TEACHER, THAT HE, OR SHE WILL BELIEVE THE SAME, UM, AND HELP CONNECT YOU TO SERVICES.

SO, UM, IT IS A HUMAN RIGHT THAT, THAT NOBODY SHOULD BE, UM, EXPERIENCING THESE, THESE THINGS.

AND SO WE HAVE TO ACT AS A AND RESPOND AS A COMMUNITY TO MAKE IT VERY CLEAR THAT IT DOES.

WE, WE ARE NOT LOOKING AT YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS.

UM, WHEN YOU TELL US THAT YOU HAVE BEEN TRAFFICKED OR THAT YOU HAVE BEEN EXCAVATED, WHAT WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT AND WHAT WE WANT TO RESPOND TO IS THAT EXPLOITATION THAT YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED IN YOUR LIFE.

UM, AND IT TAKES ALL OF US TO MESSAGE THAT VERY CLEARLY, UM, NONPROFITS, LAW ENFORCEMENT, LEGAL PROVIDERS, UM, EVERYONE.

AND SO I WOULD ABSOLUTELY ENCOURAGE, UM, UH, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE TO, TO REACH OUT DESPITE THAT IMMIGRATION STATUS.

UM, WE AT RST, WE ARE ALSO HAPPY TO, UM, DO MESSAGING AROUND THAT.

UM, AND, AND SPECIFICALLY TO THE SPANISH SPEAKING COMMUNITY AND, UM, THE FOREIGN BORN COMMUNITY IN GENERAL, WHICH IS LARGE IN, IN TEXAS.

UM, WE WANT THE SAME PROTECTIONS IN PLACE, OR WHETHER YOU'RE DOMESTIC BORN OR FOREIGN.

UM, I HOPE THAT ANSWERS BLOW UP CHRISTIAN ON THAT ONE.

I CAN SPEAK FOR THE AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT AND THE AUSTIN POLICE HUMAN TRAFFICKING UNIT, AND, UM, STATUS AS A, AS WHETHER YOU'RE DOCUMENTED OR NOT IS NOT A, AN ISSUE AT ALL FOR US, IT WON'T EVEN BE ASKED.

SO WE'RE NOT GOING TO ASK IF YOU'RE, IF YOU'RE, UH, REPORTING AS A VICTIM, WE'RE NOT GOING TO ASK THE SUSPECT'S ANYONE INVOLVED, THEIR, THEIR DOCUMENTED STATUS WILL NOT BE

[00:45:01]

AN ISSUE AT ALL.

I THINK I WANT TO ATTACK TEAM ON THIS AS WELL.

I THINK, UH, LAST SESSION WHEN I WAS PULLING DATA FOR, UM, LEGISLATION, I THINK WITH, UM, THIS, THIS COMMUNITY OR THIS POPULATION THAT, OOPS, SORRY THAT, UM, IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THAT OFTENTIMES AS FAR AS THE STATE, UM, OUR, OUR WAY TO TRACK INFORMATION, RIGHT.

A LOT OF, UM, AGENCIES OR, UM, OR, UM, SYSTEMS MIGHT SAY WHITE AND NON-WHITE RIGHT.

SO WE DON'T REALLY KNOW THE EXACT NUMBERS.

WE DON'T KNOW WHO ALL IS BEING IMPACTED WHEN WE'RE COUNTING, UM, AND MEASURING THAT.

SO I THINK THAT'S, THAT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT WE, WE ALL COME TOGETHER AND DECIDE ON WHAT, WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE.

RIGHT.

UM, SO THAT WE HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING, RIGHT.

THANK YOU.

MY NEXT QUESTION IS WHAT COMMUNITY IS THE MOST VULNERABLE FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND WHY I'LL GO AHEAD AND TAKE THIS.

UM, JUST BECAUSE I, I THINK YOU HEARD A COMMON THREAD TODAY IN THE THREE SURVIVORS TO SHARE OUR STORIES.

UM, ONE OF THE AREAS THAT'S OFTEN OVERLOOKED IS THOSE WHO'VE BEEN VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE AS CHILDREN, AND THOSE WHO STRUGGLE WITH ADDICTION.

UM, AND, YOU KNOW, IF YOU, IF YOU HEARD THAT'S, UH, THAT WAS, I THINK, A COMMON THREAD IN ALL THREE OF OUR STORIES.

AND SO I THINK THERE MAY BE, UH, UH, JUSTIFICATION AND GETTING TOGETHER WITH SOME OF THE CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES IN AUSTIN, JUST TO MAKE SURE WE'RE, UM, THAT THOSE CHILDREN WHO ARE BEING IDENTIFIED AS SEXUAL VIOLENCE SURVIVORS, THAT RESOURCES COME INTO PLACE TO HELP PROTECT THEM FROM FUTURE EXPLOITATION AND TRAFFICKING.

UM, I WOULD SAY THE SAME WITH DRUG ENFORCEMENT, UH, THE LAW ENFORCEMENT THAT'S DEALING WITH ADDICTS AND, AND WITH, UM, WITH, WITH DRUG CHARGES TO MAYBE BE ASKING THOSE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON BEHIND THE SCENES, UH, FOR A LOT OF FEMALE ADDICTS, WE BECOME ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE TO TRAFFICKING, UM, BECAUSE IT'S A, IT'S A VERY MALE DOMINATED AREA AND, AND WOMEN TEND TO, UM, JUST LIKE ALLISON'S CASE ENDED UP BEING THE ONES TO TAKE THE FALL WHEN REALLY THE TRAFFICKER IS, UM, IS THE ONE TO BLAME.

UM, SO THERE ARE AN IN TRAVIS COUNTY JAIL, THE MAJORITY OF THE, OF THE WOMEN I WORK WITH WHO'VE BEEN TRAFFICKED AND WHO ARE IDENTIFYING IN TRAVIS COUNTY JAIL ARE ACTUALLY THERE FOR DRUG CHARGES.

AND OFTENTIMES THOSE DRUG CHARGES WERE AS A RESULT OF THEIR TRAFFICKER.

SO THE TRAFFICKERS ASKING THEM TO CARRY THE DRUGS FOR THEM, THE TRAFFICKERS ASKING THEM TO MOVE THE DRUGS FOR THEM.

AND THEN THEY'RE ALSO TRAVELING ALSO TRAFFICKING THEM.

UM, SO BASICALLY THESE WOMEN ARE VULNERABLE FROM EVERY AREA.

UM, SO I WOULD SAY THAT THOSE ARE SOME OF THE MORE, UM, THE MORE COMMON THINGS WE SEE SPECIFIC TO AUSTIN.

UM, BUT ALL THAT, OTHER SPEAKING TO THAT AS WELL.

YEAH.

THANK YOU FOR THAT.

I THINK I'M ONE OF THE TOP COMMUNITY SEGMENTS, THE IC, AND I'VE BEEN DOING THIS WORK SINCE I ANSWERED LIKE 2011 WOULD BE, UM, OUR, OUR AND HOMELESS POPULATION.

RIGHT.

UM, AS WELL AS, UM, OUR JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM.

SO THERE'S A HUGE LINK, UM, WITH THAT, AND ALSO OUR CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM.

AND THEN IF YOUR DUALS SYSTEM INVOLVED, UH, THE OUTCOMES ARE EVEN MORE, MORE, UM, PREVAILING, I THINK WITHIN ALL OF THOSE, THOSE DIFFERENT SYSTEMS AND VULNERABILITIES, I THINK IT'S REALLY CRITICAL FOR THE COMMUNITY TO BE ENSURING THAT WE'VE GOT LANGUAGE ACCESS AVAILABLE.

UM, RIGHT.

SO MANY, UM, MANY MINORS, UH, WHO HAVE BEEN TRAFFICKED ARE AMERICAN BORN, BUT HAVE PARENTS WHO, UM, WHO WERE NOT, AND MAY BE SPEAKERS OF ANOTHER LANGUAGE, RIGHT? SO THERE'S NOT A LANGUAGE BARRIER FOR THE MINOR VICTIM HIMSELF OR HERSELF, BUT THERE IS WITH THE FAMILY.

AND I THINK TO RESPOND FULLY TO THIS ISSUE, YOU'VE GOT TO LOOK AT THE FAMILY SYSTEM AS A WHOLE.

AND, UM, AND THAT'S, THAT'S COME UP THROUGHOUT THIS, UM, THIS MEETING THIS MORNING, UM, BUT CERTAINLY TO BE ABLE TO RESPOND WELL TO THOSE PARENTS AND WORK WITH THOSE PARENTS, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE'VE GOT LANGUAGE ACCESS AVAILABLE AND READILY AVAILABLE.

UM, SO THAT, THAT DOESN'T BECOME A REASON WHY PARENTS DON'T ENGAGE IN SERVICES ALSO.

UM, IT'S REALLY INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT TO HAVE, UM, YOUR CHILD EXPERIENCING THIS, RIGHT.

AND SO YOU WANT TO MAKE IT AS, UM, AS EASY AS POSSIBLE AND AS SUPPORTIVE AS POSSIBLE FOR THOSE PARENTS WHO ARE GOING THROUGH THIS AS WELL.

I WOULD SAY, UH, MY NEXT QUESTION IS, UH, IS THERE A WAY, OR HOW DO I IDENTIFY RUNAWAY TEENS THAT MIGHT BE A RISK OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING? OKAY.

UM, I'LL START WITH THAT.

UM, AGAIN, WE AT THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING UNIT, WE'VE RECENTLY EMPLOYED A, A NEW POLICY TO,

[00:50:01]

TO IDENTIFY RUNAWAYS THAT ARE, THAT ARE VERY, UH, PRONE TO TRAFFICKING.

AND SO IF THEY RUN AWAY MULTIPLE TIMES ON THEIR THIRD TIME RECOVERED, THEY'RE, THEY'RE PUT INTO A SYSTEM WHERE THERE, THERE ARE, UH, WE, WE ALIGN THEM WITH, WITH, UH, SAFE CARES PROGRAM AND OTHER OUTREACH PROGRAMS TO AT LEAST COUNSEL THEM ON THE, ON THE DANGERS OF TRAFFICKING.

AND I'LL LET, I'LL LET THE, THE, UH, THE OTHER PANELISTS TALK ABOUT THAT, BUT WE HAVE FLAGS IN OUR SYSTEM NOW.

AND, UH, THAT SHOW IF YOU'RE A MULTIPLE TIME RUNAWAY, THAT BEING ONE OF THE MAJOR TRAFFICKING SIGNS THAT, THAT YOU'LL BE FLAG, AND IT'LL AUTOMATICALLY PROMPT A, UH, A CASE WORKER TO COME AND SPEAK WITH THEM AND, AND I'LL LEAVE IT WITH THAT.

YEAH.

THANK YOU.

UM, AND ACTUALLY WE PARTNER WITH RST ON THIS AS WELL.

UM, BUT AS A RUNAWAY, UH, MYSELF, I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT ANY RUNAWAY AND THAT RISK OF BEING TRAFFICKED, UM, NOT ONLY ARE THEY BEING TARGETED BY PREDATORS, UM, AND, UH, BUYERS, INDIVIDUALS BUYING CHILDREN, BUT ALSO TRAFFICKERS AS WELL.

UM, I THINK THE RESEARCH KIND OF VARIES HOW MANY HOURS IT TAKES BEFORE A CHILD IS APPROACHED.

AND DEPENDING ON WHAT YOU LIKE, WHAT, WHAT RESEARCH YOU LOOK AT ARE THE NUMBERS YOU LOOK AT.

BUT, UM, IT'S DEFINITELY WITHIN THE FIRST, YOU KNOW, 72 HOURS, THAT'S WHY IT'S SO CRITICAL TO RECOVER SO QUICKLY.

UM, BUT YES, THANKS TO THE FORESIGHT OF, OF, OF APD AND, AND PARTNERING WITH, UM, RST.

WE HAVE, UM, CREATED POLICY AND PROCEDURES TO ENGAGE, UM, INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE RUNAWAY AT LEAST THREE TIMES OR MORE.

AND SO WE HAVE WRAPPED THAT INTO OUR STATE WIDE RESPONSE AS FAR AS CARE COORDINATION.

AND WE'RE, WE'RE IRONING OUT THE FINE DETAILS ON THAT, BUT, UM, DEFINITELY THEY WILL BE CONNECTED TO SERVICES.

ALL RIGHT.

THANK YOU.

AND ASK A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION AS WELL AS WHAT ARE SOME KEY SIGNS THAT OTHER INDIVIDUALS CAN SPOT SOMEONE THAT MAY BE A BIG TEAM OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING? I THINK THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT BECAUSE AS, UM, I THINK HOLLY HAD MENTIONED, UM, FELT LIKE I DIDN'T IDENTIFY MYSELF AS A VICTIM, RIGHT.

I WASN'T MY TRAFFICKER.

THAT WAS MY PIMP.

HE LOOKED, I MEAN, THAT WAS MY BOYFRIEND.

HE LOVED ME.

UM, AND THAT'S, THAT'S, THAT MAKES OUR JOB ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT, RIGHT.

UM, IS THAT, UH, WE NEED TO KNOW THOSE SIGNS AND TO, UM, POTENTIALLY IDENTIFY A VICTIM, BUT ALSO IT CAN BE DANGEROUS, RIGHT.

IF YOU'RE JUST RELYING ON THOSE SIGNS, THEY'RE HELPFUL, BUT THEY'RE NOT THE BEST TO JUST USE AS YOUR ONLY TOOL IN YOUR TOOLBOX, BECAUSE THEN YOU'RE MISSING THE ONES THAT DON'T FIT THAT.

RIGHT.

SO TRAFFICKING LOOKS DIFFERENT IN A LAW ENFORCEMENT SITUATION.

IT LOOKS DIFFERENT IN A HEALTHCARE SITUATION.

IT LOOKS DIFFERENT IN A SCHOOL, IT LOOKS DIFFERENT EVERYWHERE.

UM, AND SO JUST TO REALLY UNDERSTAND THE NUANCES, BUT DEFINITELY, UM, YOU KNOW, SET A NICE SOLUTION AND THEY'RE NOT HANGING OUT WITH THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY, LIKE THEY USED TO ANYMORE, UM, SUDDEN CHANGE IN APPEARANCE LIKE DRESSING AND CLOTHING.

UM, MAYBE THE CLOTHING IS NOT APPROPRIATE, UM, FOR, YOU KNOW, THE OCCASION OR THE WEATHER.

UM, DEFINITE I SEE, DEFINITELY WITH EVERY SINGLE SURVIVOR I WORK WITH THE INABILITY TO MAKE EYE CONTACT, UM, IS A BIG, BIG ISSUE.

UM, DEFINITELY SIGNS OF ANXIETY, UM, NOT ABLE TO COME AND GO AS THEY PLEASE, UM, NUMEROUS SCIENCE, UM, MAYBE TWO CELL PHONES, OR MAYBE THEY HAVE LIKE A REALLY EXPENSIVE PURSE OR NAILS, BUT THEY DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY.

UM, THOSE CAN BE DIFFERENT, DEFINITELY KEY INDICATORS.

AND I THINK FOR, UM, JUST TO, TO ADD ONTO THAT, THAT COMPREHENSIVE LIST THAT ALISON WAS JUST PROVIDING, YOU KNOW, FOR, UM, FOR FOREIGN BORN VICTIMS, YOU KNOW, IF THEY HAVE HAD THEIR IDENTIFICATION DOCUMENTS TAKEN AWAY, UM, THAT SHOULD NEVER BE A STIPULATION FOR EMPLOYMENT ANYWHERE.

UM, YOU KNOW, AND ARE THEY FREE TO COME AND GO RIGHT FROM THEIR WORK SITUATION, UM, FORCED TO DO SOMETHING THEY DIDN'T WANT TO DO, UH, YOU KNOW, AT HAVING TO ASK FOR PERMISSION TO EAT, SLEEP, OR USE THE BATHROOM, UM, AT THEIR WORKPLACE, THOSE KINDS OF THINGS, UM, ARE NOT, UM, ARE NOT ALLOWED UNDER LABOR LAWS IN THE US.

AND SO THOSE ARE OUR EASY, EASIER WAYS TO IDENTIFY AT LEAST ON THE LABOR SIDE OF THINGS.

I'D ALSO LIKE TO TOUCH ON THAT IF I COULD.

UM, CAUSE LIKE ALISON SAID, UM, YOU KNOW, UM, THERE WAS A LOT OF ACTIVITY GOING ON IN MY HOME, BUT I NEVER LEFT THE HOME.

RIGHT.

UM, I WAS A HUNDRED POUNDS AND I WOULD NEVER LOOK PEOPLE IN THE EYE IF PEOPLE CAME OVER.

UM, AND THE, MY BOYFRIEND RIGHT.

WOULD COME AND GO AS HE PLEASED, I NEVER LEFT.

SO, AND OUR NEIGHBORS KNEW, I THINK THEY

[00:55:01]

KNEW I LIVED IN THE HOUSE.

THEY DEFINITELY KNEW HE LIVED IN THE HOUSE, UM, BROAD DAYLIGHT EVERY DAY, MONDAY THROUGH SUNDAY, ALL HOURS OF THE DAY, UM, MEN FIVE OR SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT, SOMETIMES 10 MEN COMING INTO THE HOME FOR ABOUT 30 MINUTES TO AN HOUR AND THEN LEAVING.

AND THEN ANOTHER MAN WOULD COME FOR ABOUT 30 MINUTES AND AN HOUR AND THEN HE WOULD LEAVE.

UM, AND AGAIN, KIDS WERE PLAYING IN THE STREET, NEIGHBORS WERE WATERING, THEIR LAWNS, MOWING THEIR LAWNS.

THE MAIL WAS BEING DELIVERED.

PACKAGES WERE, I MEAN, LIFE AROUND ME WENT ON.

LIKE I JUST, I THOUGHT EVERYONE SAW IT AND KNEW IT AND IT WAS OKAY.

SO IF NOBODY WAS GOING TO SAY ANYTHING, WHY WOULD I, BUT THAT IS REALLY, UM, AND NOW THAT I AM WHERE I AM, I'M ABLE TO RECOGNIZE THAT IF YOU SEE A LOT OF ACTIVITY AT SOMEONE'S AT A COUPLE'S HOME OR JUST AT A WOMAN'S HOME AND YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE, MEN ARE COMING IN AND OUT OF THIS HOUSE ALL DAY, EVERY DAY FOR ABOUT AN HOUR, PLEASE, YOU KNOW, LIKE I SAID, KNOCK ON THE DOOR, CALL, CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT NINE ONE ONE, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE ILLEGAL ACTIVITY IS, SOMETHING'S NOT GOING ON RIGHT THERE.

AND I'M SURE, YOU KNOW, MIKE CAN AGREE WITH ME, RIGHT? IF SOMEBODY CALLS YOU AND SAID, HEY, THERE'S A LOT OF ACTIVITY AT THIS HOUSE.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS, BUT MAYBE YOU NEED TO CHECK IT OUT.

AND AT THE VERY LEAST, YOU KNOW, YOU MIGHT HELP SOME, YOU MIGHT HELP SOME SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE.

SO YEAH.

THANK YOU.

ABSOLUTELY.

I AGREE WITH YOU AND THANK YOU FOR SHARING THAT WITH US.

UM, I CAN'T, YOU KNOW, I CAN'T TELL YOU WHAT A WEALTH OF INFORMATION AND EXPERIENCE WE HAVE ON THIS PANEL.

AND I, I CAN JUST SIT BACK AND LISTEN TO YOU LADIES ALL DAY LONG.

UM, AGAIN, MOST OF OUR TIPS COME IN THROUGH, THROUGH A PATROL, BUT ALSO THROUGH, THROUGH NEIGHBORS, YOU KNOW, THEY, THEY WILL EITHER THINK IT'S AN EMERGENCY AND CALL NINE ONE ONE, WHICH I SUGGEST, OR, OR IF THEY THINK IT'S NOT AN EMERGENCY, YOU CAN CALL THESE TIP LINES, EMAIL THE TIP LINES, TEXT THEM.

AND, AND PROBABLY HALF OF OUR CASES COME FROM THESE TIP LINES.

I'LL ASSIGN THEM TO MY DETECTIVES AND WE'LL, WE'LL, WE'LL INVESTIGATE.

WE'LL, WE'LL DO SURVEILLANCE.

AND WE TAKE EVERY TIP VERY SERIOUSLY, BECAUSE AS I'VE LEARNED IN 28 YEARS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT, SOME OF THE THINGS YOU, YOU HEAR YOU THINK CANNOT ABSOLUTELY CANNOT BE TRUE.

THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT ARE TRUE.

AND, AND IF IT SAVES JUST ONE VICTIM, BY GOING TO 400 DIFFERENT HOUSES IN A YEAR, IT'S WORTH IT.

AND, AND, UH, THAT'S, THAT'S WHAT OUR GOAL IS.

SO, SO I CAN'T THANK ALL THE PANELISTS ENOUGH WITH YOUR EXPERIENCE.

I'M LEARNING SOMETHING EVERY DAY, JUST TALKING TO YOU.

THANK YOU.

COOL.

WELL, I'D ALSO LIKE TO SAY THERE'S NO, UM, THERE'S NO MODEL FOR THE, YOU KNOW, THE MAN THAT'S COMING INTO THAT HOUSE.

UM, THERE WERE DOCTORS, LAWYERS, TEACHERS.

UM, SO JUST BECAUSE HE, HE DOESN'T LOOK LIKE HE'S GOT TATTOOS ALL OVER HIM OR HE, YOU KNOW, HE DRIVES A NICE CAR, RIGHT.

HE LOOKS JUST LIKE YOUR NEIGHBOR.

HE LOOKS LIKE THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU IN CHURCH, UM, YOU KNOW, NEXT TO YOU AT WHEREVER AT THE GROCERY STORE, HE DOESN'T LOOK LIKE WHAT YOU THINK HE WOULD LOOK LIKE.

AND THAT'S WHAT I THINK WAS VERY FRIGHTENING TO ME.

UM, IS