fbpx

All Posts in USA

March 11, 2019 - No Comments!

Longing for Home

ZOE International
By Lori-Ann Tsang

I’ve been contemplating the concept of “home” lately. What are ways we try to make a place feel more like home? In thinking about the structure and physical building itself, unless you are an architect or a builder, your first chance at this happens after the structure has been built and is completed. We bring in furniture, plants, rugs, shelves, and other personal belongings to help us feel at home.  

Long before any plans were drawn up or the first brick was laid for our ZOE home in Thailand, our leaders, planning team, and architects began thinking about this concept of “home.” They knew the building itself would need to be unique and special because of its purpose. It would be place where children rescued from human trafficking could feel safe, secure, and loved…a place they could call home.

The inside is beautiful and very livable!! I love the layout and the building very much. I want a house like this of my own, someday!"

~ Recently rescued youth about ZOE Thailand’s Child Rescue Center

So much planning, prayer, and preparation goes into the building of every structure on each ZOE campus. It is done with love and care, knowing that it will have a far-reaching impact on the precious children who come through the doors.

This reminds me that we have a perfect home being prepared for us. One that is beyond our wildest dreams. “... looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10, NIV).

Find out more about our newest HOME being built in LA: https://gozoe.org/our-work/los-angeles/

February 27, 2019 - No Comments!

Journeys Reclaimed

ZOE USA
By Marji Iacovetti

ZOE was privileged to support a Human Trafficking Symposium at Camp Scott on January 29th. The theme of this beautiful event was Reclaiming My Journey. The symposium equipped youth at the juvenile detention camp with knowledge about tactics traffickers use to lure and exploit young people.

Trafficking survivor, Tika Thorton, spoke with youth about her experiences. Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean attended the event along with other community leaders. Zonta Club of Santa Clarita provided special food. Angelica Gomez from Journey Out and Dr. Jason Plunkett, ZOE’s Western USA Regional Director, led a training for parents of youth in the camp.

Though human trafficking is a weighty topic, the day was uplifting. Young people were honored at the symposium and the event helped empower them to stay safe. It was a truly inspiring day.

 

February 27, 2019 - No Comments!

ZOE Trains Hilton Hotel Employees

ZOE USA
By Ester Yu

In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that requires human trafficking awareness training in industries where workers are likely to encounter human trafficking victims, including hotel and motel workers. By January 1, 2020, employers must provide at least 20 minutes of training to employees in these industries.

In a national study of more than 1,400 cases of sex traffickers of minors between 2010 and 2015, the most common venue where children were trafficked were from hotel rooms (56.6%).

Hilton Hotel in Universal City invited ZOE Los Angeles to provide human trafficking awareness training to more than 120 of their employees, from housekeepers to the General Manager, sharing about how to identify signs of human trafficking in a hotel setting. We were excited to be able to provide one session in Spanish.

Our team was so encouraged by the Training Manager who worked hard to coordinate this training after she first heard about human trafficking over a year ago. Participants were engaged, asked great questions, and shared what they learned in the training.

Our message to the employees was that this is happening in our communities and that each of us can do our part to look out for one another's children, sisters, and friends.

To help ZOE continue to provide these free trainings to your communities, visit gozoe.org/donate.

December 13, 2018 - No Comments!

From Short Term Missions to ZOE Walk

By Lori-Ann Tsang

In August and January of each year, ZOE Thailand has the privilege of hosting our joint short-term teams. Each team arrives after months of training and planning for their 10-day short-term trip.

They spend time alongside our staff, ministry school students, and missionaries in different settings.  They are given opportunities to serve and get a glimpse of what we do at ZOE.

It is a trip unlike any other they have experienced.  Many of them are forever impacted and changed by their time with us.

This summer one team was so impacted and inspired that they went back home with such a fire and passion to see human trafficking stopped.  They worked with our team in Los Angeles and ran the first ever ZOE Rescue Walk in Hawaii. They were one of three other satellite walks around the country all spearheaded by previous short-term team members. In Hawaii alone, there were 200 walkers and over $3,700 raised.

Gail Nitta, short-term teamer and our on-the-ground coordinator for Hawaii’s ZOE Rescue Walk says,  “This mission trip opened my eyes about child trafficking. I was infected with the amazing work the long term missionaries are doing in Thailand. I believe God told me take it back to Hawaii and help spread the awareness of child trafficking. But most importantly spread His gospel to the people.”

Check out the link to a video created recapping that day.
https://youtu.be/Wg9O8DfksU4

Isn’t it amazing what listening to God and being obedient can do?  

Together you helped us raise over $67,000 with funds still coming in. Thank you for partnering with us.  

December 6, 2018 - No Comments!

What’s In a Diagnosis?

By Jessicah Ray, PA-C

Why is a diagnosis of human trafficking important?
Human trafficking is internationally recognized as a public health problem with over 40.3 million victims identified, and with one-quarter of those being children. (Dovydaitis, 2010, Fink-Samnick, 2018).

In response to this global epidemic, hospitals and clinics are joining the mission to end human trafficking as the intercessors and advocates of the most vulnerable by improving diagnostic skills (Andrews, 2018). Because 86% of human trafficking victims are in contact with health care providers during the time of exploitation, multiple health initiatives are being launched to train providers how to identify human trafficking patients, safely report the abuse, and who to contact for intervention resources. (Dovydaitis, 2010). Health care providers have the critical opportunity to intervene by identifying the cause of the abuse with the correct diagnosis, treating the acute medical conditions, and developing a treatment plan with a specialty team. (Dovydaitis, 2010).

An unexpected tool of medical coding (ICD-10 codes) is now aiding the effort to combat these crimes against humanity. To better identify human trafficking victims, specific ICD-10 T codes have been produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and released in October of 2018 (American Hospital Association, 2018; Fink-Samnick, 2018) to enhance the accurate identification and diagnosis of human trafficking, and to distinguish from other diagnoses such as domestic violence, prostitution, or child abuse.

Why is the correct medical code (ICD-10) important?
1)    Special care: Human trafficking victims are at increased risk of chronic injuries, complex psychological health problems, and social/legal considerations that warrant long-term multidisciplinary care and comprehensive resources. With the proper diagnosis, those care options are more readily available through established response protocols and automated referral systems.

2)    Informing Policy: Human trafficking statistics are notoriously underestimated due to underreporting, misdiagnosis, and the victim’s inaccessibility to health care. Medical codes are used to quantify and validate the needs of patients to better inform health policy where and how funds should be allocated. Data from these codes drives the financing for the needed prevention, rescue, and restoration resources.

Where should you go?
The American Hospital Association (2018) provides a complete list and guide for the new ICD-10 T codes:

What else can I do?
Multiple resources are available for multidisciplinary professionals to learn about human trafficking and improve identification, treatment, and response protocols in their hospitals and clinics. Consider joining an anti-trafficking organization or committee such as with Health, Education, Advocacy, and Linkage (HEAL) Trafficking: https://healtrafficking.org/.

References
American Hospital Association. (2018). ICD-10-CM coding for human trafficking. Retrieved from https://www.aha.org/icd-10-cm-coding-human-trafficking-resource

Andrews, M. (2018, July 24). Hospitals gear up for new diagnosis: Human trafficking.National Public Radio. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/07/24/631517533/hospitals-gear-up-for-new-diagnosis-human-trafficking

Dovydaitis, T. (2010). Human trafficking: The role of the health care provider. Journal of midwifery & women's health55(5), 462-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmwh.2009.12.017

Fink-Samnick, E. (2018, September 24). Human trafficking: New ICD-10 codes empower efforts to identify and aid victims. ICD10monitor. Retrieved from https://www.icd10monitor.com/human-trafficking-new-icd-10-codes-empower-efforts-to-identify-and-aid-victims

Heal Trafficking. (2018). Homepage. Retrieved from https://healtrafficking.org/

November 28, 2018 - No Comments!

Popular Video Game Used To Lure Child Victims

by Abigail Carcich

Fortnite, a wildly popular online video game about survival, was first released in early 2017 by Epic Games. Its second mode, Fortnite Battle Royale, released only a couple of months later, surged in popularity nearly overnight to over 10 million users. Currently, the free-to-play game has an estimated player base of over 100 million.

Players can play solo, or in a groups with friends. The game drops you into an environment where you and your team fight others (up to 100 people total) to be the last man standing, Hunger Games style.

Parents report enjoying the game for the camaraderie it gives them with their children. Kids report loving the game for the epic tales of adventure, survival, and demise.

However, predators are also using Fortnite to gain access to potential victims of sexual crimes. 

Many video games include a chat function, in which you can chat with other members of your team, or with other players in your same game. Some video games have built-in functions for live streaming of your game, allowing the general public to view your game on the internet as you play it, and comment or send you private messages.

Predators will chat with their potential victims, and look for vulnerable young people with whom to connect. After a series of messages, predators may request sexual/nude photographs, or send graphic images of their own. They also may request to meet their victims in person, with the intent of engaging in a sexual encounter.

Fortnite is one of the most popular online platforms currently, but it is by no means the only one that contains opportunities for predators. Recently, a sting operation in New Jersey resulted in the arrest of 24 men, all of whom used various online platforms to connect with their victims. These other platforms included chatting app Kik and social media apps Scout and Whisper.

Parents should be aware of which games and apps their children interact with, and should frequently discuss with their children the dangers of talking with strangers online. Good internet practices and rules should be established, such as do not share personal information with someone you meet online, never send personal images, and never agree to meet someone that you do not already know.

Parents should also familiarize themselves with the different apps and games that their children interact with, as well as their security settings, and should ask their children questions about their online or gaming friends, investigating any odd or secretive behavior.

Fortnite -- and video games in general -- is likely to continue being popular with young and old alike. Staying connected to your child and educating them is the best way to guard against online predators.

For more tips about internet safety, view ZOE's Parent Guide to Internet Safety http://gozoe.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/A-parent-guide-to-internet-safety.pdf).

October 23, 2018 - No Comments!

ZOE Rescue Walk Comes to Hawaii

Contact: Gaile Nitta - ZOE Rescue Walk Hawaii Coordinator
808 542-0850
gailenitta@gmail.com

ZOE International (www.goZOE.org), a non-profit organization that rescues and cares for child victims of human trafficking, is pleased to announce Hawaii’s first-ever ZOE Rescue Walk.

Begun six years ago in Los Angeles, this year’s annual ZOE Rescue Walk will also see participants in Hawaii and Tennessee walking to raise awareness and funds for human trafficking prevention, rescue, and restoration for children in the U.S. and Southeast Asia.

The walk takes place on Saturday, November 3 from 7-9 a.m. at the Mililani High School Track, located at 95-1200 Meheula Parkway in Mililani. This is a non-competitive, family-friendly, all-ages, at-your-own-pace, FUN event! The walk is just under 2 miles. All walkers who register by October 29 will receive a ZOE Walk t-shirt, a hand-crafted ZOE “Hope” bracelet, and a ZOE sticker. Registration is $25 (twenty-five dollars) for walkers 13 years and older. Walkers 12 and under are free, need not register, and will receive a free glow-in-the-dark rubber bracelet while supplies last. (A limited number of youth size t-shirts will also be available on walk day for $5.)

Advance online registration and more information is available at www.ZOERescueWalk.com. Same-day on-site registration is from 6-7 a.m. Be sure to sign up to walk with or support Team No Ka Oi Hawaii! (At this time, our Hawaii team is leading the way nationally in donations raised so far! https://give2.gozoe.org/event/zoe-rescue-walk-2018/e191953 Let’s show our Mainland cousins that Hawaii really is No Ka Oi!

Together, let’s be the UNSTOPPABLE HOPE to children waiting to be rescued from human trafficking and to bring full restoration and healing to those who have been rescued!

(ZOE is the Greek word for “life.”)

October 19, 2018 - No Comments!

Businesses That Care

By Karen Miyamoto

The 6th annual ZOE Rescue Walk is just a few weeks away.  This year's Walk theme is Unstoppable Hope...our hope is unstoppable as we strive to rescue every child and care for them with the love to Jesus!  The event will be on November 3rd, Saturday at LA Mission College/El Cariso Park Sylmar, CA.  Our goal this year is to raise $150,000 and to have 1000 people walking to join the fight against human trafficking.  It’s going to be an amazing day!

Don’t you love businesses that care?  Currently we have 5 Corporate Sponsors that have donated funds to support our Walk.  It’s a great way to show people that your business is doing something to make a difference.  It’s also a great opportunity to gain exposure while supporting a great cause.  Do you own a business or know someone that may want to help sponsor our event?

Sponsorship opportunities start at $250.00.  Below are the different sponsorship levels and benefits:

  • Bronze Level $250.00 – Mention of your business once a month on ZOE social media sites
  • Silver Level $500.00 – Mention of your business once a month on ZOE social media sites, your company logo on the ZOE Rescue Walk website
  • Gold Level $1,000.00 – Mention of your business once a month on ZOE social media sites, your company logo on the ZOE Rescue Walk website, signage at the Rescue Walk
  • Platinum Level $2,500.00+ – Mention of your business once a month on ZOE social media sites, your company logo on the ZOE Rescue Walk website, signage at the Rescue Walk and your company logo in Rescue Walk newsletter (post Walk)

It’s not too late to become a Corporate Sponsor.  We thank you in advance for your consideration!  Check out our Walk website for more info!

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.