Day 2

March 15th, 2016

It takes seven times to make something a habit, but we don’t have that kind of time, so we went with seven course meals. And that’s just breakfast. (How is that for a cooking update ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

From an economics background and the information garnered yesterday, I have learned to view the system of human trafficking a simple supply and demand market with imperfect information, inadequate options, and disturbing preferences. How do we attack this issue?

  1. Decrease the demand in society. How can we make sex buyers see the disgust and shamefulness in indulging vulnerable people?
  2. Overcome lawful repercussions and pave the pathway for recovery. How can we treat trafficked individuals as victims and not criminals?
  3. Advocate for a cleaner system and restoring basic human rights. How can we hear the voices of those who have forgotten to speak?
  4. Maximize the choices available for the individuals who have been wronged, abused, raped, and failed. These men and women haven’t failed themselves. Society has failed them. Thankfully, not everyone has turned a blind eye.

District Attorney Mary-Ellen Barrett was kind enough to spend a private, one hour information session and interjection of several burning questions with our team this morning. As the first perspective on this issue from law personnel, the DA’s presentation was straight up disturbing, especially looking into the M.O. of pimps. Mary-Ellen also admitted there is a lack of resources and education training that is necessary to transition from treating trafficked humans as criminals to treating them like victims.

Next, we had a luncheon and presentation with the empowering women of the Lawyers Club of San Diego which, in loo of the changing perspective on prostitution and recognition of trafficking, has pooled together a number of private attorneys that host a platform upon which influential leaders in law and government agencies can communicate with experts in the field of human trafficking to address a disturbing and repeated occurrence: the treatment of victims in the face of the law. The work these women put in led Senator Marty Block to pass a bill that would offer victims a chance to clear the record of wrongfully convicted individuals of any crimes related to their work as trafficked humans. Legislative moves are being made that would mitigate the recovery of these victims and allow them to pursue their dreams without the fear of their criminal history.

Our journey today ended on a inspirational note. Brenda Myers-Powell of Dreamcatchers uses an interventionist styled approach to help women out of the perpetual cycle of neglect, abuse, and self-harm. She is the rock and constant source of love and reason that helps women help themselves out the constant pain they endure.

Finally, the group reflection ran smoothly and organically with each student offering their rose, bud, and thorn reflection on the day. I encourage you to peek at the Day 2 blogs. They will be incredible. I promise.