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Meet the employees asking you to join the anti-trafficking movement
January is dedicated to human trafficking awareness. During this time, the issue of trafficking captivates the world’s attention, but like other organizations involved in the movement, Opening Doors addresses this issue year-round with outreach.
On January 29, local anti-trafficking agencies capped off Human Trafficking Awareness Month with a screening of Food Chains, a documentary focused on the exploitation of farm workers in Florida.
Contributors to the film screening were three new Opening Doors staff members: Jennifer Grigoriou, Director of Operations, Kishwer Barrica, Anti-Trafficking Coalition Program Coordinator, and Jan Fehlhaber, Anti-Trafficking Outreach Specialist. They will be supporting the Rescue & Restore Coalition throughout the next year.
Although Food Chains focused on farm workers from Florida, California and Sacramento also have a history of fighting against exploitation of farm labor, which is why after the film attendees asked a panel of local experts their questions on trafficking.
For those of you who could not attend the film screening and Q&A session, we asked our staff to share their experience in the anti-trafficking movement, the importance of Rescue & Restore, and how you can get involved.
Jennifer: I completed my clinical requirements towards licensure as a psychologist. I specialized in providing direct therapy, research, and testing to people of marginalized status, meaning low income, racial minority, sexual minority, gender minority, etc.
Kishwer: I first found out about the organization while browsing for volunteer opportunities in Sacramento. As soon as I learned about its mission, I knew I had to work here.
Jan: I was recommended by a colleague. I have worked with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department for 20 years and my last assignment was with Homeland Security. While at theFusion Center, I was the center’s human trafficking subject matter expert.
Jennifer: There is a lot of stigma around assisting foreign national victims of human trafficking, many of whom are Hispanic. Opening Doors is forging a relationship between service providers and law enforcement in order to assist victims who fall through the cracks.
Jan: Rescue & Restore has the unique opportunity to innovatively educate and build relationships amongst law enforcement and non-governmental organizations, as well as the community as a whole.
Kishwer: It stimulates conversation about human trafficking, educates the public, and connects service providers, law enforcement agencies, advocates, and survivors.
Jennifer: It is pervasive and affects both men and women in this country. People are coerced into servitude because they are pursuing a vision of the “American Dream.” We cannot let traffickers get away with this corruption.
Jan: It is important for everyone to know that anyone can be a victim of trafficking. It occurs in our own backyard and we all need to be aware of the signs and report suspicious activity to any one of the many agencies available to provide victim assistance.
Jan: My responsibilities are to offer trainings, participate in Rescue & Restore activities, and build relationships with law enforcement.
Kishwer: I’ll be manning the Sacramento Rescue & Restore Facebook page and website, so stay tuned for updates, resources, and more. I also coordinate presentations, so if you or your organization wants to learn more about human trafficking fill out a request form.
Jennifer: We plan to run media campaigns and establish a strong presence at community events.
Kishwer: I would suggest subscribing to the Sacramento Rescue and Restore listserve. We’re always sharing news, events, and resources for those interested in joining the fight against human trafficking. Our goal is to continue spreading awareness about trafficking. Join us!
We are grateful to have such a talented and committed group of staff members. This is just the beginning!
We always need passionate and committed volunteers within the anti-trafficking movement.
So join us and make a difference in your community!
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