Opportunity to Join the Crime Victim Services Advisory Board
The Crime Victim Services (CVS) Advisory Board is looking to add two new members to the CVS board. They are seeking a representative from a tribal government as well as a representative from an under-served population (i.e. populations who face barriers in accessing and using victim services). Interested applicants can learn more by visiting the CVS Board web page.
Emergency Fund for Crime Victims Webinar
As a result of the statewide needs assessment conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), emergency funds for victims of crime was identified as a Special Project for the use of Victims of Crime Act (VOCA funds). DCJ’s Office for Victims Programs is working collaboratively with the Colorado Organization for Victims Assistance (COVA) and other stakeholders to address this need through the establishment of the Emergency Fund Program.
To learn more about how victim service organizations can access financial support for crime victims join the webinar being hosted on January 11th from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. Register for the webinar here. If you have any questions regarding this webinar contact Ashley Riley Lopes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the Date – Human Trafficking Legislative Day
February 16th: The Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado will be hosting its annual Human Trafficking Legislative Day at the West Foyer of the Colorado State Capitol. This year’s event will focus on law enforcement. The State Calendar will be updated when we receive more information about the event.
We are excited to announce that the Colorado Department of Public Safety (CDPS) is hiring a Training Specialist for the Division of Criminal Justice’s Human Trafficking Program. This position is an exempt, part-time position with an end date of 12/31/2017. If you are interested in joining a new and dynamic team working to combat human trafficking in our state this may be the job for you.
The announcement closes on January 6, 2017. To learn more about this position, visit the state’s official job board. Here
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays
As America balances on the head of the pin of the future, two camps firmly believe in polar opposite scenarios. And each camp is entrenched in a siloed world view, and the silos must be broken. Over the past year nationalism has vilified terrified Syrians running for their lives and made them virtual human punching bags with a tiny chance of fleeing to the United States. So little truth is known, but red-Americans firmly believe that the United States’ interests are served by shutting out the terrified refugees. Helping refugees and ensuring education and safety is the better path. Beth Klein Boulder’s suggestions on how to get into action instead of just believing are at the bottom of this essay.
About 5 million Syrians have fled since the war began in 2011. The U.S., which took in only about 2,000 refugees in the first several years of the war, has increased the number to about 12,000 this year. The federal resettlement program is administered via nine agencies that depend on the work of volunteers.
More than 4.5 million refugees from Syria are in just five countries Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt:
Turkey hosts 2.5 million refugees from Syria, more than any other country worldwide
Lebanon hosts approximately 1.1 million refugees from Syria which amounts to around one in five people in the country
Jordan hosts approximately 635,324 refugees from Syria, which amounts to about 10% of the population
Iraq where 3.9 million people are already internally displaced hosts 245,022 refugees from Syria
Egypt hosts 117,658 refugees from Syria
The UN’s 2015 humanitarian appeal for Syrian refugees was just 61% funded by the end of the year. Funding shortages mean that the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in Lebanon receive just $21.60 per person month or around US$0.70 cent a day for food assistance, well below the UN’s poverty line of $1.90. 86% of Syrian refugees in urban areas in Jordan are living below the local poverty line.
Selfish memes garner electronic blue thumbs up on Facebook. Then sorrowful memes of pictures of dead children – how did we stand by and watch this happen? Neither are useful to middle class people reduced to nothing and starving. Action matters.
How can we, the privileged and “exceptional”, be debating hope in the face of Aleppo and the Syrian diaspora. How can kind people become so fearful, that they turn away from kindness? When kindness turns away, a violence becomes a reality. Violence becomes the norm birthed from fear and horror.
Sunday, 47 children inside the orphanage near the front line in eastern Aleppo some in “critical condition from injuries and dehydration” were bused out of hell There are many other “vulnerable children” among untold thousands of people still inside eastern Aleppo, according to estimates from the U.N. and humanitarian agencies.
France’s U.N. ambassador , Francois Delattre, urged immediate deployment of U.N. monitors to former rebel-held eastern Aleppo to avoid new atrocities. The goal of the French-Russian compromise resolution adopted Monday is to avoid a repetition of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslims – “to avoid new mass atrocities by the forces on the ground and the militias in particular.”
On Monday buses drove residents toward the western countryside, where aid workers greeted them. Many were exhausted and distressed after a nightmarish journey from an area that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has described as a “synonym for hell. About 5,000 people have been bused out since midnight, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, bringing the total number of evacuees to 15,000. Buses are expected to run through the night.
Despite what is said by France, the Russian Federation denies and questions reports of “mass atrocities every day.” But today, solitary men on shoestring budgets can bring superpowers to the knee for a time – with violence and horror.
The UN human rights office said it had reliable evidence that up to 82 civilians were shot on the spot by government and allied forces who entered their homes, or at gunpoint in the streets, over the past few hours.
“The reports that civilians – including children – are being massacred in cold blood in their homes by Syrian government forces are deeply shocking but not unexpected given their conduct to date. Such extrajudicial executions would amount to war crimes,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional office.
“Throughout the conflict Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, have repeatedly displayed a callous disregard for international humanitarian law and utter disdain for the fate of civilians. In fact, they have regularly targeted civilians as a strategy, both during military operations and through the mass-scale use of arbitrary detention, disappearances and torture and other ill-treatment. As government forces gain full control of eastern Aleppo the risk that they will commit further atrocities raises grave fears for thousands of civilians still trapped.
Donate or Volunteer With the International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee works globally and has been providing critical humanitarian aid to Syrians since 2012. They provide services from cash vouchers for Syrians to purchase food, legal assistance, employment, and education.
The IRC will be providing $100 to 500 of the most vulnerable families fleeing the current situation in Aleppo. While supporting 12 health facilities in Idleb governorate and five schools providing an education for 4,000 children.
In the United States, you can sign up to volunteer at a local resettlement office.
North East Colorado Coalition Against Trafficking
In the final month of 2016, we spotlight the North East Colorado Coalition Against Trafficking (NECCAT). NECCAT was founded by a group of committed members of the Zonta Club-Greeley chapter in January of 2015. Zonta Vice President, Diana Laws, was a driving force in getting the group off the ground. As she explained it, Zonta’s mission is to empower women through service and advocacy. The Greeley Zonta membership recognized that there were already several organizations addressing a variety of women’s issues. But, Zonta believed it could address a gap by elevating the issue of human trafficking and its intersection with violence against women in their local community.
In less than two years of operation, 26 agencies—including area law enforcement and social service agencies—have joined the group. NECCAT sees its role as a convener of key stakeholders who have the experience and expertise to respond to cases of human trafficking. NECCAT also serves as a central repository for education and resources in the area. The group receives multiple requests for training on human trafficking and is able to enlist members to carry out education and outreach events based on their areas of specialization. Likewise, NECCAT has partnered with Zonta to raise funds to support human trafficking survivors. It has dedicated a portion of those funds to make survivor kits that include such things as basic toiletries and handmade socks. The kits benefit survivors immediately and support local law enforcement in their efforts to build rapport and a sense of safety among those they identify as potential trafficking victims. For more information about NECCAT, please contact Diana Laws.
In the News
Shared Hope International recently released its 2016 state report cards regarding their response to domestic minor sex trafficking, especially each state’s legal response. Colorado earned a “B” grade. You can read Colorado’s report card here.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Magazine published an alternative business perspective on the topic of human trafficking in supply chains. Among other things, their article outlines ways that companies can comply with various national laws and directives from the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union.
A man was convicted in Greeley on 32 counts related to a sex trafficking operation and was sentenced to 248 years in prison in a Weld County District Court. This conviction represents the longest sentence to be handed down for human trafficking in the state’s history. The defendant was convicted after a 13-day trial. He was arrested in 2014 following an extensive investigation by the Greeley Police Department, FBI’s Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force, and Colorado State Patrol.
Another man was also found guilty of human trafficking in Weld County District Court early in November. The investigation began with a traffic stop in 2014, which led to a joint law enforcement investigation.The defendant was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Victim Services Study Launched
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) are launching a national data collection effort to better understand crime victims needs and the services available to them. This data collection effort will be conducted in two phases, phase one will involve the launching of the first-ever National Census of Victim Service Providers (NCVSP). Phase two will build off of the census by conducting the National Survey of Victim Services Providers, a longer survey aimed at reaching a representative sample of victim service providers.
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month (January)
To help you prepare for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January, OVC announced a series of resources to assist in raising public awareness on the issue. These resources include the Faces of Human Trafficking Resource Guide, as well as the Human Trafficking Task Force E-Guide. You can learn more by visiting OVC’s Human Trafficking website.
New Name for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center has changed its name to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. You can learn more about the change on their website.
Forecasted Grant Opportunity
The Administration for Children and Families and the Office for Trafficking in Persons have a forcasted funding opportunity, Look Beneath the Surface Regional Anti-Trafficking Program (LBS). The LBS Program will serve as a focal point in targeted geographic areas and focus on the identification and referral of foreign and domestic human trafficking victims. Learn more about this opportunity by visiting grants.gov and searching LBS. The estimated posting date for this opportunity is January 6, 2017.
Barbara Lavender in an internationally renowned attorney. As a strong advocate for human rights, Barb has increased social justice through landmark cases that she represented at the U.S. Supreme Court. Her local and global community service includes pro bono legal council for women seeking refuge in safe houses, juveniles considered delinquent, and for Native Americans and LGLB communities as well as international aid work with African orphans, Burmese refugees, and environmental activists. She deeply appreciates her global network of friends and her healthy, happy son and grandchildren. Despite the increasing physical limitations of adult-onset muscular dystrophy, Barb discovers new avenues to uplift the human spirit and mobilize her goodness to go. Currently, she’s writing a book for college programs focused on envisioning and creating purposeful life work and service. Klein Frank wanted to share her thoughts.
Recently, I was asked, “What made you so helpful?” The gentleman sitting near my wheelchair in remote Tanzania was about thirty years younger than I am. His question reignited an ongoing self-inquiry about what factors had inspired my lifelong commitment to pursuing a purposeful life. What contributed to my decisions and actions that have prioritized community service for over 50 years?
For me, “purposeful living” encompasses actions that are helpful to others, serving what can be called “the greater good.” I’m deeply grateful for the upbringing and education that I’ve had the good fortune to receive. When I was a little girl, my mother enlisted my help with a mailing campaign for a local charity. She took me with her to volunteer at an inner city orphanage, and invited deaf children from another orphanage to stay with us on weekends. Early In my life, my mother woke me up to the disadvantages many people live with, and, as my first role model, showed me how it was possible to help.
Later, my brother took me to participate in peace and civil rights marches. After medical school, Paul directed a relief team in Sudan for refugees, and volunteered in many other philanthropic activities. It was the late 1960’s and I embraced the social justice values inspiring the civil, environmental, and women’s rights movements of that era.
Participating within large communities of activists challenging cultural assumptions in effective ways inspired my spirit and fed my aspirations to live a helpful, purposeful life. Our voices, protests, and demonstrations eventually ended the Vietnam War as racial and gender equity began to increase across the nation. These successes were positive reinforcements for our activism that created momentum. I developed a hopeful worldview based on the trust that thoughtful, committed citizens could make real differences in the world. These experiences sustained subsequent social justice efforts, some of which took much longer to yield results.
In the 60’s and 70’s, our altruism was sustained by our willingness to enjoy life and have fun as well as strive sincerely in our meaningful work. There was no inconsistency between organizing a project by day and joyously dancing to our favorite music into the night. I was lucky to be born at a time when widespread, influential social movements fed my aspirations and personal philosophy that governs my work. I find that many young people engaged in international aid work today seem reluctant to shed some of their heavy burdens, engage in self-care, and have fun. As a result, they suffer from burnout more than my friends did.
There are two important lessons that I’ve learned from international volunteer work. One is that our educational opportunities have given us abilities that can uplift the human condition. The tools in our toolbox include problem solving and organizing skills as well as knowledge, appropriate technology, and financial resources. I ask people, “What do you want to accomplish and how can I help? Which tools in my toolbox do you need to accomplish your goal?” The second lesson is that it takes very little to make a difference and brings joy to the givers as much as the recipients. Happiness increases when we use our personal gifts and resources to benefit others.
Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force
Our November spotlight is on the Rocky Mountain Innocence Lost Task Force (RMILTF). Founded in 2012, the RMILTF is one of several law enforcement task forces across the country funded by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), including domestic minor sex trafficking. RMILTF represents a joint effort between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Task force members include representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the police departments of Denver and Aurora, the Colorado State Patrol, and the sheriff departments of both Arapahoe and Douglas County, along with an investigator with the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s office. Since its formation, RMILTF has recovered nearly 400 minors, arrested over 100 traffickers and trained over 20,000 individuals on how to identify and respond to potential CSEC and domestic minor sex trafficking situations.
RMILTF has routinely seen success during Operation Cross Country (OCC), the FBI’s annual nationwide law enforcement effort focused on recovering minors exploited through commercial sex. This year marked the 10th annual operation. Held over three days in October, this year’s regional OCC involved the collaborative efforts of over 280 law enforcement personnel, from 38 participating law enforcement agencies, who utilized a variety of methods to locate potentially exploited minors across Colorado and Wyoming. Of note during this year’s operation, RMILTF personnel worked to identify commercially sexually exploited youth via social media sites and dating applications. Over the last two years, RMILTF noted an increase in the use of such applications by traffickers and sex buyers alike to identify and exploit children. RMILTF ranked second in the nation for OCC child recoveries and in the number of traffickers arrested. Overall, 9 juveniles (5 females and 4 males) were recovered and 11 traffickers and 32 buyers of commercial sex were arrested. To learn how your law enforcement agency may become involved with RMILTF or to report a tip, please contact the FBI-Denver Office at (303) 629-7171.
The Empowerment Project is and Emmy nominated film that documents the incredible journey of a crew of female filmmakers driving across America to encourage, empower, and inspire the next generation of strong women to go after their career ambitions. Beth Klein Boulder Attorney was honored to be featured in this film.
Driving over 7,000 miles from Los Angeles to New York over the course of 30 days, the documentary spotlights 17 positive and powerful women leaders across a variety of lifestyles and industries.
In celebration of the all-female focus in front of and behind the camera, the filmmakers turned the cameras on themselves, capturing their transformational journey. The film challenges the audience to ask themselves, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?”
The Empowerment Project has screened in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, universities, organizations and corporations of all kinds with audiences as intimate as 10 and as grand as 1,000.
Take a look at how this documentary is impacting audiences around the United States by watching our tour video.
By hosting a screening, you are empowering the future generation of strong women and men, and truly empowering the world.
My name is Beth Klein. I am a human rights attorney. I was appointed by the Governor as a member of the Board of the Colorado Children’s Trust Fund – which was established to prevent the abuse and neglect of Colorado children before it occurs, and a former Trustee of Erie. I have advised over 30 states and multiple nations on effective human trafficking law. Today, I come before the Board in my individual capacity as a Mom, a resident of this Town and a co-founder of the Klein Frank Foundation.
We are here today because we want to end human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children known as C-SEC.
I became aware of serious child abuse cases in Erie that had the markers of CSEC. I have brought with me, Amber McDonald. Ms. McDonald is a director at Blue Sky Bridge, a facility which cares for children who have been victims. She is a forensic interviewer who has in depth knowledge of the cases and the issue. I have asked her to come and further inform you. When I called the members of the Board upon learning of this issue from Ms. McDonald, I was very pleased at the swiftness of your response.
Human trafficking takes many forms. One – is the prostitution of children by parents and care givers on line. Ms. McDonald can provide detail on the population of Erie’s children and risk for this exploitation.
I can advise you that as of 2011, the rate of substantiated child abuse and neglect in Colorado is 8.6 kids per 1000. This ranks Colorado 25 of 50 states. In Colorado rural counties have had sustained high levels child abuse and neglect. Five counties in the northeastern quadrant of the state, have had average rates of child abuse that are 2.5 to 3 times the state average since 2002.
We cannot continue business as usual.
If we are successful working together, we will not be able to see one child advertised on line, walking the street or waiting for a client in a hotel. We will be able to keep our kids safe and out of the life .
We must collaborate more, communicate better, and use our resources wisely and effectively throughout this state – leaving no community out. We must connect Erie law enforcement to the Innocence Lost Task Force, a joint effort between the DPD and the FBI. We need to ensure that all employees of this Town and school officials and teachers in this community are trained to recognize the signs and have the systems and the support to help these kids.
My Foundation is prepared to provide grants so that the trainings and the communication can begin. We want Erie to succeed and be an example to other towns and cities.
But, we need the support of this leadership to get this done.
I request that the Board consider a resolution that will set a goal of training all of Erie’s employees by a date certain. If the Town accomplishes this, it will be the first community in Colorado mobilize this way.
It’s no secret that we can’t continue business as usual. Every day, we lose a child. Every day more money fuels this crime. We have to act, we have to act now, and we have to come together as the Colorado team.
And today, I hope that we will be able to come together to do exactly that. I’d like to start right here and right now.
We offer cutting edge legal resources, highly skilled trial lawyers and technology to enable immediate and seamless identification of victims, to effectively requests for legal representation
Boulder Lawyer Beth Klein receives humanitarian award.
It’s tough to write about Beth Klein and what she has done to deserve the Georgia R. Imhoff Philanthropist & Community Volunteer Extraordinaire Award. The Boulder attorney is a world leader in the fight to stop human trafficking — especially that which involves children — and while what she does is extremely important, it’s not easy to hear about, read about or write about.
She has brought the depth and severity of the issue to the attention of those in high places, and people are not only listening, they’re acting. Traffickers are being arrested, brought to trial and punished. There’s still much to be done, but Klein and an ever-growing network of like-minded activists are determined to keep chipping away as momentum builds and the problem is better addressed.
In 2010, following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Klein was a key player in mobilizing an armada of volunteers to ensure that orphans whose adoptions were already finalized were transported off the island and into the arms of their forever families in the U.S.
Her work is recognized through magazine and newspaper articles, radio and television appearances, and by numerous invitations to speak at conferences and training sessions around the world.
On Tuesday night, she was given the second Georgia P. Imhoff Philanthropist & Community Volunteer Extraordinaire Award at a party marking the 10th anniversary of Blacktie-Colorado. Imhoff was Blacktie’s co-founder; she died from pancreatic cancer in 2009.
The award is given every other year.
Imhoff’s daughter, Stacy Ohlsson, and her widower, Walt Imhoff,described Georgia’s passion for philanthropy; in particular, her dedication to helping abused children. Ryta Sondergard, the award’s first recipient, made the actual presentation.
“There was fire, there was wind, there was water and now there is you,” Sondergard said as she handed the award to Klein.