As we strive to help others during this crisis we can draw a lot of inspiration from flowing water. Even a small stream cuts through hard rocks as it is patient and persistent. So when life throws obstacles in our path, let’s either cut through them or go around them, opening a way for struggling families to flow like water toward stability and hope.
Many of the families we are helping have few choices and are caught in all the difficult ramifications of poverty, sickness and domestic issues further acerbated by COVID19.
Human trafficking victims are twice as vulnerable now to picking up the virus. They, too, have less access to healthcare and may be fearful to seek medical attention or safer job opportunities.
Sadly, COVID19 also brings out the racial disparities in human trafficking victims whether sexual or labor exploitation or both! There is a national upswing in African Americans and Latinos involved in human trafficking scenarios because there are fewer safety nets to protect them, like easy access to healthy food, reliable shelter and/or training opportunities. A recent New York Times article stated that African Americans and Latinos are three times more likely to be infected than their white neighbors. This is fueled by stunted economic opportunities and upward mobility in our marginalized populations.
CAHT is doing its best to meet some of these challenges. In three months we have sailed through the Commission on Human Trafficking grant that the county awarded us! I am seeking another extension on this grant for more funding. In the meantime, please help us continue supporting our neighbors.
Our new donation page is up and running! Very exciting. You can find it on our web page: by using this link. Or, go to the “How You can Help” with this link. There are many donor options. Please encourage your clubs and friends to support CAHT. Our web page is wwwsccblueheart.org.
You can also send a check to CAHT at PO Box 5491, SCC 33573. We are grateful for the large ongoing support we are receiving.
We are giving serious consideration to holding our general meetings online with guest speakers this fall. Not ideal, but worth considering. Right now, all general meetings through November are cancelled.
Nov. 21 – United Methodist Church will present again the popular Christian singer and comedian, Mike Williams, and we will be partnering again with this awesome event. More details forthcoming. Dec. 6 – Still planning on this special fundraising event – the Caribbean party, It’s 3 o’clock Somewhere.… and silent auction. To be held at the Caloosa Club. Hang on to your tickets!! The auction items are amazing and so are the party plans! Feb. 21 – Gannon University Symposium on human trafficking and domestic violence. This will be our 3rd year we host the Gannon University graduate students.
April 25 – Mark your calendars! A fashion show and English tea, 1-3 pm, Caloosa Club. More information forthcoming.
We are still searching for a new treasurer. If you are interested, please reach out to Annie Garrison at email@example.com. It will be really difficult to replace John Mitchell! (Sniff, sniff).
Let’s all of us share in the spirit of staying the distance and wearing our masks. Don’t be timid about reminding others to do so.
Successful Highlights from 2019
Only happened because of the hardworking, dedicated volunteers and financial support CAHT received this year. Just an amazing year! You should be proud, I know I am!
SIX NEW OR EXPANDED PROGRAMS
THIS LAST YEAR
- The pilot program, Safe Emergency Shelter, for families that must be moved immediately out of harm’s way, was launched. The Healthcare Committee is working hard to expand and fine-tune this invaluable service we offer in our community. To date, we have helped 6 families and individuals as well as partnering with multiple referrals and partnerships from our area churches, healthcare agencies, Beth El Farm Ministries, Justice Restoration Center, Sun City Center Sheriff Department, South Bay Hospital, Ruskin Social Services Agencies, Enterprising Latinos and Mary Martha’s House – to name a few groups. We appreciate the grant from the SCC Interfaith Council which gave us the funding to kick-off this pilot program and the United Methodist Church for their continued support and encouragement.
- We expanded our educational programs in the area (some now are in Spanish) on human trafficking and related domestic violence issues as well as the misuse of social media to students and their parents, clubs, churches, social services agencies, as well as twice-a-year classes at Hillsborough Community College. We also added this year a senior abuse component to our training presentations.
- In partnership with Gannon University, we held another human trafficking symposium for graduate students. Over 70 students attended the day-long event held at the United Methodist Church.
- We implemented a nationally recognized certification program for our volunteers and community leaders who work on the front lines with vulnerable and traumatized kids.Commercial Sex Exploitation of Children, was held at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. And we are about to launch another certified course on Jan 29th, Youth Mental Health First Aide (see information below). Both courses are state-mandated for teachers, social workers, other social service agencies and volunteers who work with our youth.
- Our Elementary Education Committee launched an anti-bullying puppet show. By using animal puppets (including a singing tree), we help children work on understanding what is bullying and how to handle bullying situations that occur at school and even at home. CAHT also offers sessions on bullying and the social media to older elementary kids.
- CAHT has expanded its scholarship program in our high schools and church-sponsored inspirational development programs. Through our Secondary Education and Mentoring Committees, we fund scholarships to struggling young adults who would not be able to attend higher education or technical training institutions; often the young adults are first generation attendees in their families.
- This last year we gave financial support to 19 different organizations as well as providing over 219 back packs through our Victim Services Committee.
Quite a successful year for CAHT! Our members are our strength so please renew your $20 membership for this coming year and join our growing list of sustainable donors. There is no mystery to our nonprofit’s operation – it is funded by our members and community organizations who recognize the critical support we provide.
Every country in the world
is affected by human trafficking whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. Traffickers the world over continue to target women and girls. Detected victims of sexual exploitation are major priorities, but what about those that are not detected? That is what is scary to me.
Please note that 35 per cent targeted are females! World and local conflicts further exacerbates vulnerabilities, with gangs exploiting civilians and traffickers targeting forcibly displaced people. It is happening all around us as trafficking in the US has doubled in recent years to 58 per cent of all detected victims (UNODC 2018 report). Florida still ranks 3rd in the nation with trafficked victims and the
Tampa Bay area is still a hot bed of all three forms of human trafficking. We in the US are the biggest buyers of human trafficking in this over $150 billion dollar business.
July 30 marked the global recognition of human trafficking of our fellow humans. It is also a good time for us to recognize our efforts to protect our vulnerable children and teens, male and female, from the clutches of human traffickers. We are all impacted by the violence in our country, and the migration of desperate families and victims caught in the human trafficking web. Humans Preying on Humans is against all decency and is morally wrong.
We need to recognize, celebrate, and reinforce our efforts by supporting CAHT’s achievements in the south shore area. In our busy lives we often forget or refuse to recognize that right next door there may be a domestic violence situation occurring, an unfortunate hit of poverty or illness, a young teen contemplating running away, lonely seniors and other individuals misusing the social web for love and/or a better promised life, or behind closed doors the selling of drugs and pornography, particularly to young boys, tweens and teens. All these activities create a perfect scenario for some child, teen or adult ending up as a human trafficking victim.
CAHT to the Rescue! What a team of super heroes!
This year, almost 200 backpacks distributed to rescued victims and other vulnerable children and teens at a cost of around $75 each!
Funding of technical training for young resilient teens in our community, and scholarships for our fantastic multi-cultural graduating teens.
New safe, emergency shelter for individuals and teens who need to
be immediately moved out of harm’s way.
Continued prevention and awareness training about human
trafficking, pornography and misuse of social media in our schools,
churches, clubs, and other social services organizations.
New instruction tools and programs for working with kids at the
elementary and middle school levels on social media and cyberbullying.
Financial assistance to one of our local free legal clinic teams who
work hard to help victims know their rights and how to transverse
our complicated legal system.
CAHT volunteers offering mentoring and tutoring services, even
during the hot summer months, help with life skills, art expression
sessions, and one-on-one counseling for domestic violence victims.
AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!!
Check out our web page at Campaign Against Human Trafficking –
Southshore at www.sccblueheart.org.
We are so proud of all of our volunteers and grateful to those who reach
out to us for help and assistance. It’s a community effort and together we
are the sphere of influence!
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING?
Renew your membership. Easy to let it slip by; however, your
membership dues of $20 a year goes a long way to supporting the above
Send us a special summer donation in recognition of July’s United
Nation’s World Day Recognition of Human Trafficking. Your
thoughtfulness and generosity works! It costs money to fight against
human trafficking and related domestic violence issues in the south shore
area. Help us gear up for the fall activities, particularly in our area schools.
The school season is just about to begin.
Start of the fall general meeting season is fast approaching. Mark your
calendar for Monday, September 16, 12:30 social, meeting at 1:00 pm.
PACE Center for Girls will be our guest speaker. Held at the United
“I CAN STILL MATTER”
“As time passes on I turn the next page
To discover a new me
while I continue to age.
I may no longer be
Who I was long ago
But I still can matter —That much I know.
With a new set of tools
I have gathered from time —I keep looking forward
To more mountains to climb.
My best is not over
As the skeptics might say —I just learn how to conquer
In a much wiser way.
So don’t sell me short —I am not nearly done —I CAN STILL MATTER —
I’ve only just begun.” ~ Irish Poem“
I feel this inspiring poem demonstrates a thriving will, not just a surviving will. It is a poem one can read over and over again as all of us need a positive boost now and then. I encourage you to share I Can Still Matter with your family and friends. Nikki Cross, speaker at the recent Human Trafficking Conference at Tampa General Hospital, and once a human trafficking victim and now a world- renowned speaker, used the term, thriving, to describe many of the human trafficking victims who are battling their way through trauma and depression, experiencing multiple flashbacks and some deep emotional and even physical scarring that they suffered from their abusers. They are the lucky survivors who are gathering the resources and skills needed to become thrivers in our complex society. This is not an easy road they travel; however, fortunately there are skilled and dedicated professionals walking with them. I know from personal experience how difficult this climb can be as I walk as a volunteer with some of the survivors. CAHT, because of our dedicated volunteers, is also thriving! One of our jobs atCAHT is to provide the funding and tools to help girls, boys and young women that have taken the first courageous steps toward freedom and a new life. This is such a rewarding endeavor as we collaborate with other human traffic nonprofits, skill development centers, safe homes, and our local schools. Thank you CAHT members for your continued support. As the above poem says, “My best is not over…. I’ve only just begun,” and this summer your board and committees are not taking a break but instead they are busily planning for next season. Even the snowbirds are contributing to next year’s activities. In May we funded the following activities: RCMA Wimauma summer school program with supplies, a special pilot program at Shields Middle School – Freedom for Teens, Southshore Chamber’s parents and students’ social media forum called Screenagers, and Enterprising Latinas. We also contributed victim back packs to U.S. Institute against Human Trafficking. A new Healthcare Committee is off and running. While still in the organizational stages, its main focus will be to increase awareness of human trafficking issues to our healthcare community as well as providing local and state resources they may need. Six new chairs have joined our CAHT team. Please welcome Elaine Palach, Secondary Education Chair; Kathy Lippincott, Event Chair; Anne Walker and Anne Planner, Healthcare Co-chairs; Tom Goselin, Advocacy Chair; and Doug Garr from Century 21 Realtors, who has agreed to chair our fall golf tournament. Wow, an amazing group of talented individuals! Board member, Anne Fenimore and I participated as members of the GFWC Sun City Center Women’s Club at the Living Flag Tribute for the May 28thMemorial Day Ceremony at Kings Point. My, what a profound experience and so rewarding as we shared with others our recognition of deceased veterans at this community-wide event. Many of our community’s organizations were there, bowing our heads in respect and remembrance. CAHT was proud to be a part of this special ceremony. Well, dear friends, thank you again for joining the CAHT team! Our membership is growing and so are our donations. If you have not joined a committee, please do! We need your creativity and involvement so we can continue to thrive, (I am really digging this word). It is also paramount to our continued success that we have a steady stream of donations so please encourage your friends, business associates, churches, and clubs that you belong to consider us in their charitable giving. We have a job to do as CAHT is making a difference! Remember, no general meetings until September 17th. However, we will continue to send out viable information during the summer. Enjoy your summer,
Annie Garrison, CAHT President