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Archives for September 2018

September 17, 2018 - No Comments!

Support for Parents of CSEC

by Marji Iacovetti

This summer, LA County launched a pilot program to support parents of Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC). ZOE was privileged to support the county’s efforts.

The weekly meetings were held at a church and were led by two experienced and caring clinicians – one from the Department of Mental Health and another from an organization called Saving Innocence. Members of the church demonstrated God’s love as they opened their hearts as well as their facilities. They greeted the women warmly, served them dinner, and provided childcare.

Eight mothers attended regularly. These precious moms wept for their children, bonded with each other, and learned valuable information. It was an honor to serve them. Human trafficking not only brutalizes the victims, but also violates their families. Please pray for mothers, fathers, other caregivers, and siblings whose hearts ache over the harm experienced by their loved ones.

Community partnerships are key to healing for survivors and their families. If your church has capacity to be a resource and partner in the fight against child trafficking, please email info@gozoe.org.

September 10, 2018 - No Comments!

Efforts in Los Angeles

by Ester Yu

In July, an undercover human trafficking operation in Compton recovered 2 girls from commercial sexual exploitation and arrested 36 adults. The 2 girls were 16 and 17 years old and identified as victims of sexual exploitation. One woman who was arrested is actually from Santa Clarita and was trying to recruit an undercover officer to work in commercial sexual exploitation. Read more here: https://ktla.com/2018/07/20/36-arrested-2-girls-rescued-in-human-trafficking-bust-in-compton-lasd

Compton is part of a larger Service Planning Area (SPA) identified by Los Angeles County as having the highest number of referrals for suspected cases of CSEC. (Source: http://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/bos/supdocs/121549.pdf) ZOE values our partnerships with community groups, organizations, and churches all over Los Angeles County, especially in the Compton area. By expanding our network, we are able to broaden resources for the youth we serve while also supporting our community partners who serve the most vulnerable children.

For the past several months, ZOE has assisted Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services and Department of Probations in their pilot Parent Empowerment Program by supporting a Compton church partner to provide a nurturing, safe meeting space, child care, and food for the County to teach and lead a support group for parents of children who are survivors of human trafficking.

Recently, ZOE attended the Compton Human Trafficking Task Force meeting with guest Dr. Brenda Ingram who taught about the Intersection of Risk Factors for Black Boys in Sex Trafficking. Boys are at risk to become victims and/or exploiters of human trafficking. It is vital for our communities to invest and pour into the lives of our young men so that they can become allies and protectors of our young women. ZOE's USA Regional Director Dr. Jason Plunkett and Assistant USA Regional Director Ester Yu participate in a workgroup led by Los Angeles County Department of Probations to develop a CSEC prevention/intervention curriculum for young men. While interviewing former exploiters in Chicago, researchers discovered that most of the men who were interviewed were abused and trafficked as children themselves before becoming exploiters. (Source: https://law.depaul.edu/about/centers-and-institutes/schiller-ducanto-fleck-family-law-center/Documents/interview_ex_pimps.pdf)

We know that all of our current efforts, research, and collaboration are equipping ZOE's Los Angeles team to best meet the needs of our youth in Los Angeles County. Please partner with us in our efforts in LA: https://give2.gozoe.org/give/90447/#!/donation/checkout.

September 4, 2018 - No Comments!

Understanding Your Child’s Apps

by ZOE Intern, Elizabeth Leathers

How Well Do You Understand the Apps on your Child’s Phone?

The popular app, LiveMe, is proving to be a breeding ground for the distribution of child pornography and grooming for future sexual exploitation. While LiveMe is marketed for ages thirteen and up, there are thousands of users who are younger than 13 using the app. A live-streaming platform, LiveMe allows users to broadcast and document their everyday lives and watch others nearby. Users can send gifts and virtual currency to other users. This article - https://denver.cbslocal.com/2017/07/03/thornton-live-me-app highlights the unforeseen dangers associated with this app by sharing chilling stories of children being exploited in the perceived safety of their rooms without their parents’ knowledge. Using every tool in their arsenal, exploiters utilize threats of violence, peer pressure, and deception to achieve their desired results. Exploiters post and profit from these videos on websites promoting commercial child exploitation.

The article highlights the importance of parents knowing and understanding the apps on their children’s phones in order to prevent child exploitation. Children are made more vulnerable by nature due to their desire to seek approval from others. When parents are vigilant and proactive in this area, they can help to keep their children safe. This could mean downloading the app and figuring out what safeguards are necessary to protect children or it could mean doing thorough research. If you are interested in more tips about internet safety, ZOE has an excellent resource for parents linked below.

http://gozoe.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/A-parent-guide-to-internet-safety.pdf

ZOE is addressing this crucial issue through our MyGenMyFight program by going into middle schools, high schools, universities, and churches to discuss internet safety. This includes conversations about strangers online, what not to post, and what respecting others online entails.