Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative to Host Two Speakers Sept. 1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kaye Van Nevel (email: kgvn@cox.net)

August 13, 2016, Vista, CA —The North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative will host two speakers at its September 1 meeting, Madeline Kristoff and Elizabeth Rodriquez.

Madeline Kristoff is Community Relations Officer for US Citizenship and Immigration Services in the San Diego District (covering San Diego County and Imperial county).

Elizabeth Rodriquez is a Deputy District Attorney in the Sex Crimes Division, San Diego County.

The Collaborative meets every other month on the first Thursday of the month from 9 a.m. to 10:30 am at the community room of the United Methodist Church of Vista, 490 S. Melrose Drive. The meetings are open and free to the public, and coffee and pastries will be served. The Collaborative is part of Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland’s Stop Trafficking program. A diverse group of individuals, schools, churches and community organizations, the group seeks to raise awareness about the crime of human trafficking, share information, improve services, educate ourselves and the public, and advocate for policy and legislation related to human trafficking.

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New Member Inducted

At our first Business Meeting of the 2016-2017 year we inducted a new member, Anna Pappalardo. Welcome Anna!

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We inducted Anna Pappalardo into our club. L-R: Allison Metzler (Treasurer), Thoralinda Soyland (co-President), Anna Pappalardo, Cherie Wilson, Assly Sayyar (Secretary) and Karen Thompson. Photo by Lani Beltrano

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Joint Board Meeting

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Our first meeting of our 2016-2017 was the Joint Board Meeting/Potluck at Judy Gregorie’s lovely home in Vista Valley Country Club Tuesday, August 2. Lots of really delicious food and drink, and then we got down to Club business. Good … Continue reading

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Soroptimists Will Have Booth at North County Health & Wellness Fair in August

COME visit our booth at the North County Health & Wellness Fair! Learn what we are doing to fight Human Trafficking in our neighborhoods! The Fair will be held at the Oceanside Civic Center at 300 N. Coast Highway from 9 am to 11 am Thursday, August 11, and is free to the public. See http://www.oceansidechamber.com/north-county-health-fair.html

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Sherry Luz and Runa Gunnars at last year’s Fair. We will be there again this year: August 11, 2016 between 9 am and 1 pm at the Oceanside Civic Center.

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Sex Trafficking Survivor Speaks at Vista Library

Human Trafficking Talk at Vista Library

L-R: Kaye Van Nevel (Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland), Jaimee Johnson (Sisters of the Streets), and Stephanie Gonzalez (North County Lifeline) were speakers at a panel discussion entitled “Human Trafficking In Our Backyard” at the Vista Library on July 16, 2016.

July 21, 2016, Vista, CA—Jaimee Johnson, founder of Sisters of the Streets (sistersofthestreets.org) and a survivor of sex trafficking, was the featured speaker at a recent panel discussion in July at the Vista Library on “Human Trafficking In Our Own Backyard.” Other panelists were Kaye Van Nevel of Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland and Stephanie Gonzalez, a case manager at North County Lifeline who works with law enforcement to provide care to victims of human trafficking who have been rescued by the police.

Kaye Van Nevel introduced the panel and spoke about Soroptimist International’s Stop Trafficking program. The local Soroptimist club in Vista and North County Inland (soroptimistvista.org) has been holding an Awareness Event and Walk each January in downtown Vista for the past ten years, and the Vista club, with support from the United Methodist Church, formed an Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative, which meets every other month at the United Methodist Church in Vista, hosting guest speakers involved in the fight against sex trafficking.

Jaimee Johnson spoke movingly about how she first became ensnared by her initial trafficker, and the ways that he played upon her vulnerabilities to lure her into the life of a prostitute. After many failed attempts to leave that life, Jaimee finally had what she called “a God moment” when she was about to meet a client. “I had driven to meet him, was about to get out of the car when my hand slipped from the car door handle,” she recalled, breaking down in tears in front of the sympathetic audience. Instead of opening the car door, Jaimee said, she drove to a beach in Carlsbad, where she sat on the sand and prayed for over an hour.

Jaimee left the life for good and now heads up an organization she formed to help fellow victims of trafficking called “Sisters of the Streets.” I want to help women recreate themselves and find life outside of the sex industry,” she said. She hopes someday to be able to establish a home for victims to help them re-enter society and recover their self-esteem.

Stephanie Gonzalez from North County Lifeline (nclifeline.org) spoke about her organization’s “Project LIFE.” Project LIFE (Living In Freedom From Exploitation) was started in 2011, when the North San Diego County Human Trafficking Task Force busted 38 gang members and rescued 35 victims of local trafficking in a sting operation. All 35 victims were students at local high schools. Project LIFE case workers are trained to work with rescued victims, providing support to them as they attempt to re-enter society. Most recently, Project LIFE received a three-year federal grant to increase outreach and services to men, boys and the LGBTQ community who are also victimized by sex traffickers.

Four non-profit organizations involved in helping trafficked victims had information tables at the event, and each spoke briefly about their services. The Alabaster Jar Project, based in Poway, operates Grace House, a safe house in Vista for victims, FACESS (Freeing American Children from Exploitation and Sexual Slavery), operates a campus for trafficked children in a remote area of Northern California, and recently launched the “ToGetHer Freedom” (togetherfreedom.org) Initiative to provide services and support for girls who may not be able to come to their campus. Olivia Navarro of Shining Stars Ministry spoke of her organization’s goal “to rescue and restore women and children victimized by sexual slavery and human trafficking industry.” Finally, Marisol Garduno, Women’s Resource Center, Oceanside, spoke about the shelter facilities and wrap-around services for women who are primarily victims of domestic violence. Women’s Resource Center has also assisted victims of human trafficking.

Related Links:

Alabaster Jar Project

Women’s Resource Center, Oceanside

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Human Trafficking in Our Own Backyard

HT-Kaye.VistaLibraryVista, CA–The Vista Library will host an informational event entitled “Human Trafficking In Our Backyard” on Saturday, July 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Guest speakers include Kaye Van Nevel of Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland, Kate Flaherty, Deputy District Attorney, County of San Diego, Stephanie Gonzalez, Case Manager, North County Lifeline’s “Project Life,” and Jaimee Johnson, founder of Sisters of the Streets who is herself a survivor of trafficking.

The event is free and light refreshments will be served. The Vista Library is located at 700 Eucalyptus Avenue in Vista.  For info contact Kaye Van Nevel at kgvn@cox.net

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Incoming Board Installed at Nucci’s

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Installation of 2016-2017 Board: Officers for 2016-2017. Back Row (standing) L-R: Judy Gregorie, Thora Soyland, Runa Gunnars, Nelly Jarrous, Catherine Manis, Eden Weinberger, Dee Dee Timmons. Front (seated) L-R: Kaye Van Nevel, Sherry Luz, Assly Sayyar, and Jackie Piro-Huyck. MISSING: Allison Metzler and Karen Del Bene

We had our 63rd installation of officers at Nucci’s in Vista on June 18. More photos will be posted soon! Our new slate of officers for 2016-2017 are:

Thora Soyland and Runa Gunnars, Co-Presidents
Judy Gregorie, President-Elect
Assly Sayyar, Secretary
Allison Metzler, Treasurer
Jackie Piro Huyck, Assistant Treasurer

DIRECTORS:
Dee Dee Timmons, PROGRAMS
Eden Weinberger, FUNDRAISING
Karen Del Bene, MEMBERSHIP
Catherine Manis, PUBLIC AWARENESS

DELEGATES:
Thora Soyland, President of the Club
Kaye Van Nevel, One Year
Runa Gunnars, Alternate
Eden Weinberger, Two Year
Sherry Luz, Alternate

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