March 17th, 2016
- Homemade Breakfast
- Coronado Island Excursion
- San Diego Human Trafficking Community Committee Meeting
- Night at the National Comedy Theater
- Group Reflection
Between a couple hours at the famous Coronado Island Beach and a night out to the theater, we headed to Point Loma Nazarene University to attend a monthly committee meeting, led by prominent members of the anti-human trafficking community and open to the general public.
After a round of introductions, we were moved by the number of attendees who were average citizens, both new to and settled in San Diego, who wanted to know more about the movement and what they can do to help. Charisma De Los Reyes, a fiery and passionate San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) social worker, presented on the topic (check her out here– she’s awesome). She offered a new perspective from which our group had yet to see the issue: from the standpoint of Child Welfare Services. She emphasized the stolen youth who suffer from a cycle of abuse and neglect and are swindled into the human trafficking network and exploited for their weaknesses.
A former foster youth told her, “Being in foster care was the perfect training for commercial sexual exploitation. I was used to being moved without warning, without say, not knowing where I was going or whether I was allowed to pack my clothes. After years in foster care, I didn’t think anyone would want to take care of me unless they were paid. So, when my pimp expected me to make money to support ‘the family,’ it made sense to me.”
Charisma also presented on the Interagency CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) Protocol, which fosters collaboration and coordination among agency serving CSEC victims, and public awareness and advanced trainings.
Even after the long night out, we were eager to reflect on the energy and enthusiasm of the community members we met today and concluded that the most moving community members are those who interact directly with the affected population.