Social Connectedness / 2013

Making LA TraffickFree: ending trafficking 1 COMMUNITY at a time

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Oasis USA

We want to see human trafficking end in Los Angeles and throughout the United States. We believe it is possible to end human trafficking 1 COMMUNITY at a time using a multi-sectored approach that mobilizes and empowers individuals from within the community to address vulnerabilities for trafficking in their own local area. Oasis has developed the TraffickFree Community (TFC) model to mobilize and equip citizens to lead local, grassroots action by working with 8 key stakeholders with the collective power to end slavery. To initiate this kind of change in LA, Oasis would like to start 10 new TFCs by the end of 2013. Human Trafficking is a global problem with a local face that will only be effectively addressed as local communities take responsibility for responding to specific issues in their area. Oasis was founded in the 1980s in London with a vision for community transformation; it’s now grown to 10 countries across the world, each fighting human trafficking by empowering local communities. In the US, the secret to success is the TFC model of local ownership by citizen leaders who leverage their social capital for cooperative change that benefits the whole community. Oasis provides the necessary training and support to build skills and opportunities that foster mutual trust and constructive social interaction. Oasis has identified 8 key community stakeholders that could potentially engage with the life of someone who has been trafficked – schools, local business, consumers, media, faith communities/NGOs, first responders, law enforcement and local legislatures. When working together, using their collective power for the benefit of the vulnerable and marginalized, these stakeholders strengthen the community to function as a whole – a place where everyone is included, making a contribution and reaching their ultimate potential. Communities should be healthy, inclusive, integrated, empowering and supportive, where every citizen can experience wholeness and fullness of life. Trafficking is not able to exist or flourish here. The uniqueness of the TFC model is its ability to replicate anti-trafficking campaigns and activities in a variety of contexts, regardless of social, racial, ethnic, socio-economic or other demographic factors. Each TFC looks different because each community is different. Therefore, it is essential that local citizen leaders from within the community drive the vision, strategy and activities of a TFC. TFCs are catalysts that motivate, encourage and lead by example, united by a common ideology that trafficking has no place in our communities – in LA or globally. 10 new TFCs will be strategically established throughout LA using the following criteria: • proximity to known trafficking routes; • committed and engaged citizen leaders; • existing anti-trafficking networks and momentum. In addition to receiving training on the global and local dynamics of trafficking, new TFC participants will be trained in research design to discover the vulnerabilities and issues specific to their community. They will learn how to engage the 8 stakeholders, first focusing on existing networks and those that influence the most significant vulnerabilities in their communities. Empowered with information and strategies for engaging the resources and networks necessary for bringing about change, Oasis will continue to develop, resource and support these citizen leaders to act - creating stronger more connected communities. Additionally, these new TFCs will have the opportunity to engage and learn from one another and existing TFCs - sharing best practices, team and community building techniques, advocacy tools, challenges and stories. Furthermore, Oasis will equip these civic leaders to be creative catalysts empowered to educate, organize, train and lead others. In addition to creating 10 new TFCs, Oasis will sponsor and facilitate no less than 10 additional community engagement events. These events will provide models for awareness and outreach events, while resourcing new TFCs with a solid foundation on which they can build their networks and implement strategies specific to the needs of their communities. Such events could include general human trafficking awareness and education for Angelinos, specialized stakeholder trainings, leadership and community building workshops, and strategic listening groups between stakeholders (e.g. police and youth; police and first responders; teachers, parents and students; businesses and consumers).. Effective collaboration and partnership between and amongst TFCs requires efficient and user friendly communication tools and platforms. Part of this project will invest in communication tools, training curriculum, campaign promotional materials, marketing and/or other resources for training and supporting TFCs as they work to educate, engage and unite their community in the fight against slavery.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

After several years of testing and developing the model, there are now 14 TFCs in various stages of development in California, Colorado, Ohio and Florida. Through training and support provided by Oasis, TFCs:

• Participated as a leading member of the Raise the Bar! campaign on a multi-year national campaign to petition Hershey to use fair trade chocolate; in late 2012 Hershey announced specific plans to head in that direction; • Provide ongoing support and assistance to a young woman trafficked into the USA who then identified herself as a victim to a local LA TFC; • Resourced the FBI, local law enforcement and direct service providers with more than 60 freedom bags for trafficking victims rescued in a LA sting operation this year; more than 100 freedom bags have been provided in the last year; • Worked with the LA Metro Anti-TraffickingTask Force to implement a city-wide anti-trafficking bus bench campaign in 2012; • Provided education and awareness to over 1200 new activists in 2011-12; • Mentor survivors of trafficking in partnership with direct service providers, while also providing ESL, cooking and baking classes; • Created an anti-trafficking awareness campaign with funding from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refuge and Resettlement that reached over 8,000 people face-to-face with awareness information; we worked with Chinese media outlets to publish ten newspaper articles, televise multiple interviews, produce a public service announcement aired on three different Chinese channels, and carry out a public awareness campaign using the LA metro transport system; • Share valuable information and research gathered on trafficking hotspots and vulnerabilities with local officials, most recently a local LA County mayor who was unaware of the issues facing his community; • Served as a sub-grantee in partnership with the Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking on a Department of Justice grant; through more than 60 outreach and training events, Oasis provided training to more than 5,000 individuals in the LA area;
• Celebrated several years of grass roots community organizing and advocacy in partnership with Fair Trade Town USA in seeing Pasadena declared the second Fair Trade Town in California;
• Partnered with Pasadena Unified School District enabling more than 250 high school students to receive anti-trafficking awareness and education through its ‘Summer Skillz’ program; this curriculum, currently being adapted for use by public schools in Florida, can also be adapted for younger students and is available upon request.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

While drawing on the knowledge, resources, networks and tools of the Oasis global family and the 14 TFCs already in development around the U.S., this project will primarily capitalize on our local partnerships. The new TFCs will greatly benefit from our networks and resources as a founding member of the L.A. Anti-Trafficking Task Force, and our close relationships with two leading LA NGOs - the Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking and Saving Innocence. These partners, including local and federal law enforcement, city/county agencies, political officials, NGOs, and direct service providers can contribute their expertise and field experience through training, networking, workshop participation and city-wide event promotion.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

Indicators for the success of our project will be: • Individuals are aware of vulnerabilities in their communities and actively engaged in prevention • Participation and inclusion from diverse representatives within the community • Ownership and leadership of the community process and engagement • Stakeholder engagement around anti-trafficking strategies and interventions • Investment in new and ongoing resources and networks.

We will quantify these indicators bi-annually by measuring the following items, using a newly developed open-source database program now available for all Oasis countries: o Do the TFCs meet together consistently with representation and participation from diverse populations within the city? o Have the TFCs undertaken the research and discovery process to identify the particular vulnerabilities for trafficking in their community? o Based upon the research and discovery process, has the TFC identified one or two key stakeholders with whom to deepen their engagement? o How many community stakeholder meetings take place between two or more stakeholders? o How many community engagement events (awareness/outreach, workshops, listening groups, campaigns, etc.) have been hosted and facilitated by the TFCs? o Do the city’s residents know where and how to access resources and tools related to trafficking, including the toll free hotline number? o Are more citizens of LA able to identify the risks and definition of human trafficking? o Are TFCs able to refer and support survivors in restoration and community? o Are stakeholders implementing strategies designed to mitigate the vulnerabilities of trafficking, raise awareness on trafficking issues and promote and make resources available to resources? o Are the TFC leaders participating in ongoing leadership development training and activities offered through Oasis? o Have police, prosecutors, judges and first responders been trained in fighting/identifying trafficking and its victims? o Have resources been identified that can provide for the physical, psychological, spiritual and social recovery of victims, such as housing and counseling, in a language victims understand?

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

LA will benefit from the trust, mutual support and unity established as all of its citizens are invited to participate in the creation of 10 new TFCs. These TFCs will bring citizens from diverse racial, ethnic, language, socio-economic and educational groups to learn from one another and then develop and lead coordinated and comprehensive strategies that will strengthen the city. Empowered with the knowledge and skills they receive from Oasis USA and its partners, LA’s citizens will be equipped to leverage their resources and networks to engage key stakeholders to use their collective power to build and shape LA. Moreover, building the capacity of LA’s citizens through participating in TFCs can be further utilized in grass roots efforts focused on other key areas of community development.

TFCs will host and facilitate numerous trainings, awareness and outreach events, listening groups, workshops, and other community engagement strategies, while also developing and sharing prevention and education campaigns and tools for various sectors of the LA community. These resources will inform and educate a significant number of LA’s citizens on the dangers of trafficking and enable them to identify the warning signs of trafficking. For example, as a result of TFC community engagement strategies, local law enforcement officials will better understand and implement the laws and practices regarding how to serve trafficking victims, identify perpetrators, and manage trafficking investigations. These strategies will also ensure victims of trafficking know what resources are available to them and how to access such resources. As trust and cooperation are built between law enforcement and the citizens of LA, there will be a greater flow and exchange of information and transparency between these two groups regarding victim resources, perpetrator profiles, trafficking routes and hotspots. Greater community awareness, as well as the trust established and mutual support built through shared learning, communication and strengthened relationships will promote safer and healthier choices. When local individuals are empowered with knowledge and resources, recognizing they are not isolated from their peers and community structures but rather connected to supportive and caring networks, it becomes much more difficult for traffickers to operate there. Even more, traffickers will recognize that it is simply not profitable for them to do business within LA.

Trust, communication, mutuality and connectedness can be extended to each of the eight stakeholders critical to affecting change for those experiencing isolation and at risk for trafficking within the city of LA. We envision the citizens of LA developing creative solutions that combat trafficking, reduce the demand for slaves, educate and protect those are at risk, and restore those who have been victimized with the full support and resources of this community.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

In 2050, the citizens of LA will enjoy trusting, mutually supportive, constructive and nurturing relationships with those in their families, workplaces, neighborhoods and throughout the city. These relationships and connections provide emotional support, while also supporting overall health and well-being. Research has shown that higher levels of perceived social connectedness are associated with lower blood pressure, better immune responses, and lower levels of stress hormones - all of which contribute to the prevention of chronic disease.

After working as catalysts for change - raising awareness, mobilizing their social capital, intervening and ensuring restoration - Los Angeles is now a safer, healthier and inclusive society where people are connected, informed and supported. Most of all, communities are free of trafficking. Their grassroots action, combined with the collect power of stakeholder action, has ensured LA enjoys: • the most informed, educated and resourced residents on trafficking issues; • the most coordinated and cohesive intervention and restoration services; • comprehensive laws and ordinances enforced throughout the city; • being the first major US city to end human trafficking.

A few examples of change brought about by the coordinated and cohesive interventions of the stakeholders would include: o Comprehensive anti-trafficking campaigns and programming within LA schools that empower parents, teachers, administratora, and students to define human trafficking and its risks, confidently identify and work with the relevant authorities in situations where trafficking is happening, or may be occurring, and know where and how to access resources; o Law enforcement and first responders are trusted resources able to identify and respond to trafficking appropriately, compassionately and with the full support of the justice system; o Local legislatures have examined their laws relating to trafficking, closed the loopholes that once allow trafficking to persist, and demonstrate their commitment to justice through the allocation of resources and services to victims and tough criminal and financial penalties for perpetrators; o Local businesses are trained on trafficking and employment regulations, able to map their supply chains, stock a full range of fair trade, slave free products; o Consumers have wide access to and take advantage of fair trade, slave free products in all parts of the city; o The media uses its voice to promote justice, ensuring a platform for the positive, civic engagement of LA citizens around issues of trafficking, while also committing to ending their participation in the solicitation of human beings; o Faith communities are a place of inclusion and reintegration where faith is demonstrated while caring, nurturing and supporting those who were marginalized and excluded – they serve as linkages to information and resources for housing, employment, social support, and spiritual well being.