JLOCC held its 4th Annual Human Trafficking Roundtable on Friday, July 28, 2017 at The Samueli Academy. It was a successful event filled with information and eagerness of community involvement in the Orange County community. This year’s theme was Education, a Toolkit for Action.
Attendees were given breakfast from Jay’s Catering as they walked into the Community Center at the Academy. Attendees chatted and introduced themselves amongst Junior League members, law enforcement, high school students, and members from the community. The panel for the Roundtable consisted of three community members: Brad Scheonleben, Cecilia Iglesia, and Polly Williams. Moderator and Manager of the Human Trafficking Education and Awareness Committee, Kathleen Neff led the discussion.
Brad Scheonleben, from the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) gave a unique perspective into educating attendees of the law and legislation surrounding law enforcement of sex trafficking in Orange County. Mr. Scheonleben is a part of the Human Exploitation And Trafficking (HEAT) unit at the OCDA’s Office.
Cecilia Iglesias, from the Santa Ana Unified School District provided information about how schools are in the beginning stages of educating awareness of human trafficking. As the Board of Education Clerk, Ms. Iglesias was able to provide insight into how school boards would start to implement policies to bring awareness to teachers, students, and parents of students.
Polly Williams, from The Lighthouse shared with attendees about what The Lighthouse provided for victims that need safe harbor, counseling, and other services. Ms. Williams is the Site Supervisor of The Lighthouse and shared with attendees the perspective of the victims and the social and psychological aspects of being able to assimilate back into what is “normal.”
Students from a local high school shared their struggles in trying to educate other young people, bringing up the taboo sex trafficking labels bring into the Orange County community. Although these brave young women were able to set up a school organization for awareness and charitable contributions, their efforts were often times a hardship in the beginning stages. They were successful and were able to donate over 70 bags of clothing to victims. Attendees of the Roundtable applauded their amazing achievements.
The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) also made an appearance through a couple of case workers and an investigator. OCHTTF was formed in 2004 and operates as the official conduit through multiple agencies and field with a common purpose to protect victims, prosecute offenders with the OCDA, and prevent further perpetration of the crime. The investigator was able to share how important it was to bring awareness and sex trafficking to light.
It was apparent that the discussions of the Roundtable sparked interest in the Attendees. There were several questions about legislation and how the community could be involved in making changes to the current laws in regards to traffickers and the people who seek services from the trafficked. Many people shared how they were surprised to hear about human, mainly sex trafficking in their own communities within Orange County.
JLOCC was also able to donate more than $400 in Target gift cards through the help of an organization to The Lighthouse victims. It was a sweet ending to the serious and somber event. The enthusiasm for the awareness and education of human trafficking was abuzz as the event ended. Business cards were shared in anticipation of disseminating information and reaching out to organizations for donations.
A great thank you to the 2017-2018 Manager of the Human Trafficking Education and Awareness Committee, Kathleen Neff for moderating a great and informational panel and for coordinating such an amazing event!