CENTRAL COAST FREEDOM NETWORK HOSTS CANDLELIGHT VIGIL HONORING SURVIVORS

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Central Coast Freedom Network hosted a candlelight vigil to honor survivors in our community affected by this horrible crime.

In late July, police arrived at a SLO motel room to find a 15-year-old girl alone and scared, having just endured a week of sexual abuse for profit. Her captors and pimps were also teens and young adults aged 16 to 20. One of the most shocking details of the story was that in a single day in San Luis Obispo, the girl was forced to have sex with nine men. To put it another way, nine local men chose to pay for sex with a kidnapped minor: A child who couldn’t have consented even if she wanted to.

More...

That’s pretty appalling stuff happening in Nigeria, girls being abducted and sold into marriage or slavery. And Nigeria is just the latest atrocity to be reported. It seems to be a perilous time for girls all over the globe.

But as horrible as those barbarities are, they’re happening halfway around the world. Thank goodness nothing bad like that can happen here in safe little San Luis Obispo County. I mean, our girls are as safe as safe can be, right?

More...

What is human trafficking? This serious offense carries no simple answer to that question. This problem, inherent in almost every country across the globe, is multifaceted and complex and its victims are increasing in numbers. The human trafficking industry globally earns an expected $32 billion every year. And California is no stranger to these crimes. The California Department of Justice reports from 2010 to 2012, an estimated 1,277 victims were identified, 2,552 investigations begun, and 1,798 individuals were arrested for human trafficking. The state is number four in the country in the trafficking of human beings.

More...

San Luis Obispo police arrested eight people on prostitution-related charges—including a 16-year-old girl—during a sting operation at a SLO motel on May 29.

In addition to the eight prostitution-related arrests, 20-year-old Douglas James Stephens of SLO was arrested on suspicion of felony human trafficking and pimping a minor, both charges involving the 16-year-old. According to a SLO PD press release, Stephens also had a warrant for his arrest out of Sacramento County. His bail was set at $45,000.

More...

Like many survivors of sex trafficking, Shell Beach resident Carissa Phelps endured a difficult childhood. She eventually decided to run away from her stepfather and dysfunctional home. At the advice of a probation officer, she said, her mother later took her to a juvenile detention facility in Fresno, more than 60 miles away from where she lived in Coalinga.

More...

The term “abolitionist” might conjure memories of history textbooks and musty tales of social advocates long gone. But that’s all the more reason why a group of parishioners from Mountainbrook Community Church in San Luis Obispo, dedicated to fighting against human trafficking, chose to call themselves the Mountainbrook Abolitionists.

The name alone implies that what we might think of as a problem of the past is one that we still face today.

More...

The term “abolitionist” is one people may associate with history long past. But that’s all the more reason why a group of parishioners from Mountainbrook Church in San Luis Obispo dedicated to the fight against human trafficking chose to call themselves the Mountainbrook Abolitionists.

More...

San Luis Obispo nonprofit Mountainbrook Abolitionists will host a conference Friday through Saturday to raise awareness of human trafficking.

The conference, “Justice Summit: A Holistic Approach to Combating Human Trafficking,” will take place at Mountainbrook Community Church, 1775 Calle Joaquin in San Luis Obispo. Presenters will cover topics such as human trafficking awareness, prevention, reporting, advocacy and restoration, according to a news release.

More...