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Anti-Trafficking Community Takes Action
Human trafficking exists in Sacramento, but it wasn’t long ago that the issue was relatively unknown to many in the area. Now, the shocking prevalence of trafficking has overwhelmed our imaginations and tested our ability to respond. How can we begin to intervene with the complex web of factors that sustain trafficking? One local coalition is mobilizing the community and needs you to take action.
The community is more aware than ever about human trafficking, partly due to the efforts of the Sacramento Rescue and Restore Coalition, which has been organizing the community to address trafficking since 2007.
Sacramento Against Sex Slavery in Massage Parlors (SASSMP) encouraged neighborhood associations, business groups, and masseuses to urge their elected officials to increase enforcement of massage establishments. People understand that illegitimate businesses are a blight on the community, and this concern leads them to looking for resources, answers, and ways to intervene.
The passage of SB 1193, a bill requiring certain businesses to display information on The National Human Trafficking Hotline, represents another example of the Coalition’s success. In November, several Coalition members coordinated SacPOST, a day for volunteers to distribute the flyer to businesses in Sacramento. SB 1193 and the corresponding SacPOST educate the community, business owners, and potential victims about human trafficking and the resources available.
Opening Doors has been a contributor since the Coalition’s inception, and this year Opening Doors stepped up as primary administrator. Our first major move was to host a Community Conversation for local anti-trafficking agencies.
On December 4, anti-trafficking representatives from across the major sectors, law enforcement, faith-based groups, nonprofits, volunteers, prosecutors, advocacy groups, and numerous others came together to discuss where we as a community should go next.
Rescue and Restore hosted the Community Conversation, but the meeting included the broader anti-trafficking community. The goal was to discuss way to improve collaboration and further the common aim of identifying and serving trafficking victims.
The diverse group provided many valuable inputs and appreciated the opportunity to network and better understand the unique role each fills. Many participants expressed an eagerness to have more opportunities to meet and build relationships. To this end, Rescue and Restore plans to hold a networking mixer for those involved with anti-trafficking work in January.
We need the broader community to advocate. While professionals can donate their skills and strengths to bring movement forward, the best way for the public to take action is to educate and get others involved. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and Rescue and Restore will show the documentary Food Chains to stimulate a dynamic discussion on labor trafficking in the U.S. Keep an eye open for more details on this event in the New Year.
All community members are important voices in the movement. You can get involved by visiting the Rescue and Restore website, or liking us on Facebook. You can rise as an advocate and join us on this long journey, because one small step can lead to enormous change.