Tag Archives: Central Valley

TCDA involved in six sex trafficking cases in 2016

The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office has been actively investigating and prosecuting cases of human trafficking.

At the Tulare County Human Trafficking Taskforce meeting on June 22, the District Attorneys office shared that they have filed five cases against seven defendants in 2016. Additionally, one case filed in 2015 is in sentencing. The Tulare County District Attorney’s Office is also currently investigating two other sex trafficking cases involving minors.

On June 3, a Tulare man plead guilty to charges involving child sex trafficking. The TCDA’s Office sent out this release:

Today in Department 4 of the Tulare County Superior Court, Visalia Division, Judge Brett Aldredge presiding, Anthony Lott, age 24, of Tulare, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of human trafficking of minors for a sex act, two felony counts of pandering by procuring a minor over the age of 16, one felony count of pimping, one felony count of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, and a misdemeanor count of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle in a city limit.

On October 6, 2015 the Tulare Police Department was conducting a human trafficking operation at a local hotel. Officers observed a vehicle enter the parking lot of the hotel and saw a female exit the car while the male driver, Lott, remained in the car. The female offered an undercover officer sex in exchange for money. While Lott remained in the car, he was contacted by law enforcement and was found to be in possession of a loaded firearm.

Lott was arrested for pimping and having possession of a loaded firearm. After further investigation which was conducted by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations, Investigator Martha Rodriguez was able to make connections that Lott had trafficked two minors from the Tulare area between the dates of November 1, 2013 and November 1, 2014. With additional investigation by the Office of the District Attorney, on February 22, 2016, Lott was charged with two counts of human trafficking of a minor for a sex act and two counts of pandering by procuring a minor over the age of 16.

On June 29, 2016, Lott will be sentenced to 7 years 4 months state prison and will be ordered to register for life as a sex offender.

“I commend law enforcement for being diligent in this case and bringing justice to the victims,” said District Attorney Tim Ward. “Human trafficking is real, and it can happen in any community. If you suspect a person is being exploited for sex or labor, contact law enforcement immediately.”

The case was prosecuted by Supervising Deputy District Attorney Cindy Underwood of the Special Crimes Division. It was investigated by Officer Rosemarie Pacheco and Detective Vince Medina of the Tulare Police Department, as well as Investigator Martha Rodriguez of the Office of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations.

 

Tulare DA’s office offers human trafficking presentations

From the Tulare County District Attorney’s office’s Facebook page:

As part of National Human Trafficking Awareness Month, District Attorney Ward had the opportunity to present an overview of trafficking to the Visalia Republican Women Federated. If you are a civic group or service club looking to learn more about this important topic, contact their office at (559) 636-5494.

12525482_1324621417563858_9020833902606440245_o
From the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office Facebook page

Many events coming up!

The next three months, the Central Valley will have many opportunities for training, education, and involvement! We post and update these events on our calendar. Check out what’s coming up!

Caged No More Screening
Fri., Jan 22, 7pm
Regal Manchester Theater, 2055 Shields Ave., Fresno

Fresno aftercare and outreach group Breaking the Chains has invited our community to the  VIP screening of this faith-based film on human trafficking. Supports Central Valley human trafficking ministries.

cropped-cvjc-banner1

Tuesday, Jan. 26th 7 – 9pm – Human Trafficking 101 Class  
Fresno First Baptist Church, 1400 E. Saginaw Way, Fresno CA 93704 
Get educated with an introductory course on modern day slavery. Cost $20 pre-registered by 1-25-16. $25 on 1-26-15.
RSVP to 227-8001 or info@cvjusticecoalition.com 

logo

Freedom Sunday in the Central Valley
Feb. 7/ March 9, various locations
Join with other churches in focusing on prayer, education, and action to end human trafficking locally. (Feb. 7 is the local date set by the Central Valley Justice Coalition, March 9 is the global date set by Not For Sale)Observe at your own services or meeting.  JARON Ministries with CAPC is helping organize local resources and efforts for churches and any other groups to help Family Services, Tulare County DAs Office, and other local organizations in their efforts to address human trafficking. Resources and info on training meetings on our Freedom Sunday page.

Register as a participating church/group here.

7th-be-free-web
“Be Free,” 7th Annual Regional Human Trafficking Conference
Wed.,Feb. 24,  1-5pm. Pre-conference workshops 10am-12pm. Reception from 5-7pm
Radisson Hotel Fresno Conference Center, 1055 Van Ness Ave.
Keynote speaker is Kay Buck, Chief Executive Officer of Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST). Schedule also includes a survivors panel, plus information local youth activism,  regional trends in identification and investigation, and multi-disciplinary partnerships. Workshops includes human trafficking 101, cultural perspective on labor exploitation and trafficking, and sex trafficking prevention. Register and get more information here.

HT_training

Human Trafficking 101
Mon., March 14, 6:00-9:00 p.m., 3110 West Nielson, Fresno

An introductory class of general knowledge about human trafficking, including tactics of traffickers, signs of trafficking, the clinical dynamics of involvement,potential paths for leaving, etc. Cost: $50. Contact Charlene Glass at 237-4741. Register and get more information here

mlmc-logo-RGB_(1)

My Life, My Choice Training
Tues., March 15, 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., 3110 Nielson, Fresno

Be trained to lead the My Life, My Choice curriculum which provides a concrete, well researched method for preventing exploitation among vulnerable adolescent girls. $150, includes lunch. Space is limited. contact Charlene Glass at 237-4741. Register and get more information here.

TCo DA

Tulare County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force Meeting
March 15, 1:30-3:00 p.m.,
Workforce Investment Board office, 4031 Noble, Visalia

College_of_the_Sequoias_726479_i0

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Workshop
Fri. April 22- Sat. April 23, COS, Visalia

Learn how to identify signs of a potential victim of CSEC. Runs Friday evening and Saturday morning. More details to come.

January is Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

NivoSlider_JanuaryHTAwareness

Around the world, people are helping bring awareness of human trafficking and ways to take action.
The Tulare County DAs Office and Human Trafficking Taskforce will be launching an awareness campaign that includes large newspaper ads, television PSAs in English and Spanish (To be available on YouTube) and spots on Good Morning America, radio PSAs, banners on public transits, billboards, and social media. They will also be distributing navy blue ribbons for human trafficking awareness.

Here are some ways you can get involved:
1. Save The National Human Trafficking Hotline number and text line on your phone: 888-373-7888 and 233733 (BeFree). Take one minute to be equipped to potentially be a lifeline. The hotline is a one stop human trafficking resource, from general information to immediate assistance and intervention and many victims have gotten help through the hotline.  Our local agencies will be contacted when needed. The text line (text INFO or HELP)  is used most by victims.

2. Watch and show Chosen/Chosen Gang Edition. These sex trafficking prevention by Shared Hope Int’l were created to educate youth about sex trafficking and what to do. See more here
Watch/ Show Dreams Die Hard, a documentary on labor and sex trafficking in America. (These films and more videos are available in our library and on our YouTube Playlist)

3. Post Human Trafficking Outreach Posters. The Tulare County DAs Office produces trilingual posters that help victims self identify and seek help. We need help getting these up around Tulare County. They are required by law at some locations, but needed everywhere. Contact TCDAO at 559-636-5471.

4. Learn the signs of trafficking If you have not been trained, familiarize yourself with the red flags of possible human trafficking. Read more here.

5. Help improve the GraceCity App. We still need businesses, agencies, organizations, churches, and individuals to sign up as a resource to human trafficking victims and other victims of exploitation in Tulare County. See our page here for more info and if you qualify as a resource provider.

6. Implement Freedom Sunday with your church or group on March 9 (or February 7). Join with churches aNavy Blueround the Central Valley in focusing on awareness, prayer, and action with your faith group. See here for more details.

7. Wear a navy blue ribbon, the color for human trafficking awareness. Share what you know about human trafficking to those who ask and are interested and share our ways to get involved.

8. Follow the Tulare County DA’s Office and Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council on Facebook to be updated on education, resources, and opportunities throughout the month.

 

Child Victims of Domestic Violence Focus of CAPC Conference

Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council is focusing on the effects of domestic violence on children, and what can be done, at the 10th annual Cynthia Lockhart Mummery Conference, “Behind Closed Doors- The Hidden Victims of Domestic Violence”  on Thursday, October 29, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Holiday Inn in Visalia,  9000 West Airport Drive.  See CAPC’s event calendar

Cost is $50 with limited scholarships available for parents, foster parents, and students for $25. Lunch is provided. CEUs available (see below). View and download the registration and information form here.

“Behind Closed Doors- The Hidden Victims of Domestic Violence” starts with focus on the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study. It is the largest investigation into the connection between childhood trauma and health and well-being issues suffered later in life. The study supports the need to address and prevent child abuse.

With an understanding of the ACE study, the effect of domestic violence on children will be explored from all sides. The context is presented from the perspectives of academics,  law enforcement, a survivor herself, local responders, and community awareness workers.  Those attending will have the opportunity to express their own response to domestic violence as a form of child abuse and to decide how to respond.

Goals of the conference are:

  • To increase knowledge of the ACE study and the long term physical and mental effects of traumatic experiences
  • To increase awareness of the long term effects of children who witness domestic violence.
  • To Increase understanding of domestic violence as a form of child abuse from many perspectives.
  • To increase awareness of the Lisa Project as a tool to educate the community about child abuse and neglect, particularly from the perspective of a 6 year-old child’s 911 call.

Conference Speakers:

Carol Redding
Carol Redding

Carol Redding, MA worked with the ACE study as a CDC Fellow as has since focused on educating other about about ACE.  She is also a survivor who also presents from personal experience.

SS Gailerd
Gailerd Swisegood

Gailerd Swisegood, LCSW, is an instructor at COS in Social Services. He has extensive experience in the field as a Clinical Services Director at Family Services of Tulare County and other agencies.

Mike Boudreaux, Tulare County Sheriff's Office
Mike Boudreaux

Mike Boudreaux, Tulare County Sheriff, MA, Administration of Justice, has extensive education and experience in law enforcement. He is a graduate of LAPD’s West Point Leadership Academy and a graduate of the FBU National Academy.

Alma Borja, Family Services of Tulare County
Alma Borja

Alma Borja is director of Karen’s House, the local emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, a facility that is part of Family Services of Tulare County. Family Services of Tulare County has been a non-profit agency working with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and child abuse since 1983.

Gene Hardin, Project Creator and Director of the Lisa Project, San Joaquin County Child Abuse Prevention Council, has a background in theater and marketing, skills he used to create this experiential, walk-through exhibit that communicates, through stories and visual effects, what child abuse looks like.

Gene Hardin, Lisa Project
Gene Hardin, Lisa Project

CEUs are available through Brandman University, provider #PCE 1821 to MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and LCSWs. Cost is $45. See brochure for details. CEUs for RNs are provided for free by the Tulare County Public Health Department.

For more information,  contact CAPC Director Billie Shawl at 559-735-0456 or email billieshawl@sbcglobal.net

“The Trafficked Life” Screening and Panel in Visalia

The Trafficked Life

TCCAPC is excited to be partnering with the St. John and St. Paul’s Epicopal churches, the San Joaquin Diocese, Family Services of Tulare County, and Magdalene Hope in Bakersfield to present

Human Trafficking Forum
Featuring the Documentary Screening: The Trafficked Life
Monday, August 17, 6:30 p.m.
At Cafe 210, 210 W Center Ave, Visalia

The Trafficked Life is a documentary filmed in Bakersfield about the realities of sex and labor trafficking in the Valley, with stories and commentary by local survivors, law enforcement, and those from Magdalene Hope, an outreach and aftercare organization dedicated to reaching those in trafficking. The film is informative, vulnerable (The director of Magdalene Hope shares his story, which includes being a former buyer), yet sensitive. The film sheds light more comprehensively on local realities with a focus on the major voice being from those who have gone through it. It is also well produced. See the trailer here.

The Trafficked Life is useful for anyone wanting to better understand human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, in the Central Valley. Though not graphic, Magdalene Hope will have staff available to counsel those who may be strongly affected by the film.

The forum will include a panel discussion/ question and answer segment with filmmaker Michael Fagan, Magdalene Hope Director Doug Bennett, Magdalene Hope aftercare worker and survivor Angelica Lostanaua, and human trafficking experts from Family Services of Tulare County, Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, and Tulare County Child Abuse Prevention Council.

 Bishop David Rice will also be sharing about an exciting upcoming event in Visalia, Tulare, and other cities in the San Joaquin Valley: The Tour Against Trafficking.
Bishop Rice will be cycling from Bakersfield to Stockton to raise awareness of human trafficking and money for local efforts. He will be stopping at numerous cities in the San Joaquin Valley for awareness events.  (See the Tour Against Trafficking website for more information and to get involved!)

11392925_778782582241418_1986148821819009673_n

TCCAPC will have a resource packet available at the Human Trafficking Forum with free materials and information to take action to address human trafficking.

Please share this event with others! Share this page, use our Facebook event page, and/or download and share Rev. Ward’s invitation letter.

For more information, contact information Rev. Ward at sward1978@sbcglobal.net or 559-627-8265.

Fresno Men Plea Guilt of Minor Sex Trafficking

From the Fresno Bee, Thursday, May 7, 2015:

Two Fresno men pleaded guilty to sex trafficking charges in federal court Thursday after they were arrested in December 2013 for forcing two teenage girls to prostitute themselves, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said.

Michael Anthony Andrade, 34, and Javier Solis, 29, forced the two girls, 15 and 17, to perform sexual acts against their will in Fresno and San Luis Obispo in 2013, Wagner said. The men also forced the 15-year-old to tattoo their nicknames on her shoulders.

Wagner said that the 17-year-old, a runaway, was brought home by her parents in October 2013. She told Fresno police that the 15-year-old was still being held by Andrade and Solis in a hotel room in San Luis Obispo. Officers from the San Luis Obispo Police Department picked the 15-year-old up shortly after.

Andrade will be sentenced on Aug. 10, and Solis is scheduled for Aug. 17. Both face a penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.