Human Trafficking

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We in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, live in small communities which we think of as fairly safe.  Most of us in no way think there is human trafficking going on in our communities.  We are wrong.  This is not a tragedy that’s happening in another country or state.  According to a 2015 quote by U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Human trafficking is “a growing problem in every county and community in Michigan”.  Michigan as a whole is one of the top five states in the country where trafficking is exploding.  Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.

The first ever reported case of human trafficking in Michigan was in a tiny town in the Upper Peninsula, director of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force Jane White said.  This past year saw a case of human trafficking prosecuted in Dickinson County.  Human traffickers are drawn to rural areas and small towns.  There is often a smaller police presence and isolated areas, and these criminals feel they have much less chance of getting caught.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain. The most common form in the United States is commercial sex.

Indicators of Human Trafficking

Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Is the person accompanied by someone who insists on telling a story all the time…they are a student, they are a tourist, they are here on a visa and there are a lot of inconsistencies.
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack access to personal identification documents?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.  For your safety and the safety of possible victims, do not confront someone you suspect may be a human trafficker or a victim, report the information you have to the police.

Traffickers look for vulnerable people.  People who are emotionally or psychologically at risk, people who are economically at risk, and people who are isolated.  Trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Trafficking victims can be men or women, young or old, American or from abroad, with or without legal status. Sometimes these criminals have specific victim requests by their clients…example, blond haired, blue eyed boy around 12 years old.  They use threats, force and false promises to lure their victims in.

Human trafficking is usually a hidden crime.  The victims don’t come forward because they are afraid of their traffickers or even law enforcement.  The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.

 

CARING HOUSE 10TH ANNUAL MYSTERY THEATER DINNER

Hey everybody-It’s that time of year!!!!  Amazing event!!!  Hilarious fun!! Mysterious mayhem!!!

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“Polter-Heist”

Pine Grove Country Club

Friday March 7th & Saturday March 8th 2014

Dinner choices are salmon or beef tenderloin

$40 per ticket-no tickets at the door

Buy your tickets now because ticket sales end February 31, 2014

Candlelight Ceremony & Open House

On April 30, 2013 Caring House held a Candlelight Ceremony in honor of the survivors of sexual assault.

Caring House also used that opportunity to invite the community to an open house.

We would like to share some of the images from these events with you:

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IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT IT

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Chances are you  or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault.  (Some facts regarding sexual violence are presented in the April 2012 post.)  Each of us has an obligation to be aware and do what we are able to do to stop sexual violence.

WHAT IS SEXUAL VIOLENCE?

Sexual violence is a broad term and includes rape, incest, child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism.

Sexual violence occurs when someone is forced or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity without their consent. Reasons someone might not consent include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs. Anyone can experience sexual violence, including children, teens, adults, and elders.

These crimes are widespread and occur daily in our communities, schools, and workplaces, but sexual violence can be prevented. Community members can work to prevent sexual violence by establishing healthy and positive relationships that are based on respect, safety, and equality.

While some forms of sexual violence may not be illegal, such as sexist jokes, catcalling or vulgar gestures, this does not make them any less threatening or harmful to the person victimized. All these behaviors contribute to a culture that accepts sexual violence. Bystanders can speak up when they witness these actions to foster healthy sexuality and safer communities. Many opportunities exist in daily life where society can prevent behaviors that promote sexual violence.

WHAT IS AN ENGAGED BYSTANDER?

An engaged bystander is someone who intervenes before, during, or after a situation when they see or hear behaviors that promote sexual violence. It is common for people to witness situations where someone makes an inappropriate sexual comment or innuendo, tells a rape joke, or touches someone in a sexual manner. Bystanders might also witness other forms of sexual violence. Bystanders who witness the behavior or hear the comment can intervene in a way that will help create a safer environment. Research has shown that bystander programs can produce positive results by increasing participants’ knowledge of sexual violence, decreasing participants’ acceptance of rape myths, and increasing the likelihood that they will intervene (Banyard, Moynihan, & Plante, 2007). Engaged bystanders help create healthy communities and help others build safe and respectful environments by discouraging victim blaming, changing social norms that accept sexual violence, and shifting the responsibility to prevent sexual violence to all community members (Tabachnick, 2009).

WHEN AND HOW TO INTERVENE

Every situation is different and there is no universal response when intervening to prevent sexual violence. Safety is key in deciding when and how to respond to sexual violence. Every person must decide for themselves the safest and most meaningful way to become an engaged bystander. The following are ideas on how one can maintain safety while being an engaged bystander:

  • If you witness sexual violence, get support from people around you. You do not have to act alone.
  • Practice with family and friends about what you would say and how you would say it.

  • When intervening, be respectful, direct, and honest.
  • Contact your local sexual assault center to see if they offer resources or training on bystander intervention. Visit http://www.nsvrc.org/organizations/state-andterritory-coalitions for coalition contact information.
  • If you hear or see something and do not feel safe, contact the police.  (never put yourself in danger)

Portions of this message come from a publication from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

CARING HOUSE EVENTS:

  • April 24th, 2013–Denim Day

Please show your support of efforts all over the world to join in this nationwide campaign to bring awareness to the issue of sexual violence.  Wear your denim this day.

  • April 30th, 2013–Noon–Open House

Join us at the Caring House to socialize and support Sexual Awareness Month.  There will be a small art display created by people who have been impacted by sexual assault.

  • April 30th, 2013–5 PM–Candlelight Vigil

A short candlelight vigil will be held to honor victims of sexual violence.  Please come to support the many victims in our community.

SEXUAL ASSAULT STATISTICS

Statistics:

  • An average 233,986 Americans age 12 and older are sexually assaulted each year.
  •  Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.

Who Are the Victims:

 Gender:

  •  1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
  • Among all victims, about nine out of ten are female.
  •  1 out of every 33 American men has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in his lifetime.
  •   About 10% of all victims are male.

   Age:

  • Age of sexual assault victims: 15% are under age 12.
  • 29% are age 12-17 o
  • 44% are under age 18 o 80% are under age 30
  •  Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years
  •  Girls ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual assault.

 Race:  Estimated persons raped in lifetime by gender and race:

 Women 

  • 17.7% of white women
  • 18.8% of African-American women
  •  6.8% of Asian / Pacific Islander women
  •  34.1% of American Indian / Alaskan Native women
  •  24.4% mixed race women
  •  14.6% of Hispanic women

Men

  •  2.8% of white men
  •  3.3% of African-American men
  •  4.4% of mixed race men
  •  The sample size was too small to estimate for Asian/ Pacific Islander and American Indian / Alaskan Native men

Effects of Rape:

 Physical Injuries:

  • occur in 100% of completed rapes
  • occur in  39% of attempted rapes
  • 17% sexual assaults against females result in injured victims
  • 33% of victims sustain minor (bruises and chipped teeth) physical injuries
  • 5% of victims sustain major (broken bones and gunshot wounds) injuries
  • 61% of victims sustain undetermined injuries
  •  Only around 36% of injured victims receive medical care.

 Mental Health Victims of sexual assault are:

  •  3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
  •  6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
  •  26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
  •  4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Economic:

  • About 1 in 11 sexual assault victims reported that they suffered some economic loss as a consequence of the crime.
  • The average economic loss (in 1997) was about $200
  • Nearly 7% of victims reported losing time from work.

Caring House has a sexual assault advocate who wants to assist anyone who has experienced  sexual assault.

OCTOBER-DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Caring House has a number of activities planned. 

  • October Cross Dedication at the Midtown Mall
  • October 14th Ceremony & Cross Dedication at Iron County Courthouse
  • October 20th from 11 AM to 1:30 PM Luncheon and Cross Dedication at Caring House.  Ceremony will start at 12:15.  Join us to learn about the activities of Caring House.  During the ceremony, hear the voices of survivors of domestic violence as well as presentations from community dignitaries. There is no cost for the luncheon.
  • October 29th Caring House will be having it’s annual Celebrity Waiter’s Dinner and Silent Auction.  This will be held at the Kingsford High School Gym from 5 to 8 PM.  It will be a spaghetti dinner with the cost at $5 per adult, $3 children 6-12, and children under 6 free. Come join us for an evening of great food, fun, and prizes.  Some of the auction & raffle items include hotel stays, Packer autographed football, Lions autographed football, camp stove, bird feeder, jewelry and so much more.