January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
On Thursday January 3, 2019, the North San Diego County Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting was held at the United Methodist Church in Vista hosted by Kaye Van Nevel and Karen Del Bene of Soroptimist Int’l of Vista & North County Inland (SIVNCI).
The North San Diego County Human Trafficking Collaborative is a diverse group of individuals and community organizations committed to eliminate human trafficking and modern day slavery. Their mission is to raise awareness of human trafficking, provide a platform to share information, improve services, educate ourselves and the public, and advocate for policy and legislation related to human trafficking
Twenty members attended the first meeting of 2019. They were honored to welcome new visitors, Victim Specialists for the FBI, Brady Finta, Le’Jeane’ Ellis, and guest speaker, Stephen Valdivia. Also, Yusef Miller, Mosques Against Trafficking, joined them. He will be honored as a Mission Hero at the STAT event listed below.* All of the attendees, whether interested individuals or representatives of specific organizations, strive to work toward the freedom of the enslaved victims of human trafficking. Victims voices are so important. Child advocacy centers have specially trained agents aiding in interviewing children in a way that will hold up in court.
The guest speaker, FBI Victim Specialist, Stephen Valdivia, works directly with victims identified on cases being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Diego County, including North County. Mr. Valdivia also provides victim assistance for FBI cases being investigated in Imperial County and in the FBI’s Honolulu Division which includes Hawaii, Guam, Saipan (CNMI) and American Samoa. Additionally, Victim Specialist Valdivia is a member of the FBI’s Victim Services Response Team where he, and other specially trained FBI personnel, are prepared to board a plane on a moment’s notice in order to respond to incidences of mass casualties such as the 2016 Orlando Pulse Night Club shooting and the recent 2018 Thousand Oaks shooting.
Victim Services Division (VSD)
• Funded by Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) – which comes from fines, assessments, forfeited bail, etc.
• Victims Specialist – 170 in US
• Terrorism & Special Jurisdiction Unit – Worldwide
• Victim Services Team
• Child Victim Services Unit
Kaye said, “We learned that the FBI has many faces, and is tasked with personal assistance above and beyond what most of us (me) had any idea. My congratulations to this team and the 170 other Victim Specialists in the United States.”
• Soroptimist Int’l Vista and North County Inland will sponsor their 13th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Event, January 12, Wave Water Park, Vista, 12:30-3:00. Presenters includes San Diego DA Summer Stephan; Saved In America, Joseph Travers; and Jaimee Johnson, Sisters of the Streets. Dress warmly, bring an umbrella and hope highly for sunshine.
• *Soroptimists Together Against Trafficking (STAT) Salutes our Mission Heroes, Friday, March 1, 6-8 p.m., Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, Roetter Hall, 4321 Eastgate Mall, UTC, San Diego. Register at bit.ly/heroes2019.
The North San Diego County Human Trafficking Collaborative is a diverse group of individuals and community organizations committed to eliminate human trafficking and modern day slavery. Our mission is to raise awareness of human trafficking, provide a platform to share information, improve services, educate ourselves and the public, and advocate for policy and legislation related to human trafficking.