Posted by Annie Davidson on Sunday, June 14, 2020
Annie Davidson singing “Sweet Lord” at the rally
The Tahoe Activist Artists ran a campaign during the SuperBowl this year in South Lake Tahoe. SuperBowl Weekend is the highest volume time for Human Trafficking in our community. We posted these signs on the back of restroom doors throughout the casinos, sports bars, gas stations, and grocery stores throughout the town. We were sponsored by Tahoe Douglas Rotary Club and Whittel High School Interact Program.
What is human trafficking?
According to The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000:
Sex Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is indu- ced by force, fraud, or coercion. or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; and
Labor Trafficking: the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can be at risk. Mostly girls, but also boys. Traffickers are expert manipulators, and prey on vulnerable young people. Contrary to what you might assume, it isn’t just vulnerable homeless or addicted people who can be trapped into modern slavery.
One method traffickers use is to recruit attractive young men nicknamed ‘Romeos’ to seduce young girls. This seduction or ‘grooming’ can happen via social media, websites like Craigslist, at sports events, or anywhere teenagers hang out unsupervised. The perpetrators often romance their victims, making them feel like they are entering a relationship, making them feel loved. They make promises and buy expensive gifts.
At some point the money ‘runs out’ and the victim is asked to ‘earn’ the money back, perhaps by stripping or having sex with someone. They are trapped.
What can I do to protect myself, my friends or my children?
Learn the signs and educate yourself about human trafficking.
Some of the signs that a person is being trafficked:
- Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
- Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
- Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
- Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
- Avoids eye contact
- Appears malnourished
- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement
- Has few or no personal possessions
- Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
- Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves
- Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story
PROTECT – PRevention Organized To Educate Children on Trafficking
PROTECT is a human trafficking prevention education program that was developed in 2015 through a coalition of three nonprofits (3Strands Global Foundation, Love Never Fails, and Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives), in partnership with the Office of the Attorney General for the State of California, the California Department of Education, Cisco Systems, and the Institute for Social Research at Sacramento State University. Through this program, teachers and students are learning about red flags, protocols, and ways to prevent exploitation through an online curriculum that provides all classroom materials necessary.
To learn more, visit https://vimeo.com/protectnow/introvideo
3 Strands Global Foundation sponsored legislation which requires California public schools to teach California’s school-age population how to avoid becoming victims of exploitation, help them understand the problem of human exploitation and learn ways to address the problem through service initiatives.
In January 2018, The Human Trafficking Prevention Education and Training Act became law.
“In my 26 years of teaching, this is the first of its kind that I’ve ever encountered as an educator. I feel I’m now more empowered as an educator and a protector of children.”
– Ed M, Teacher, Vallejo City Unified School District
“When we moved from Las Vegas to a sleepy suburb of Sacramento, I never dreamed our family would be directly affected by this heinous crime. However, our 17-year-old was taken from the local grocery store, driven to a motel in the Bay Area, drugged and pimped out through ads on craigslist and repeatedly raped by men looking for sex with underage girls.”
– Vicki Mead, Co-Founder of 3Strands Global Foundation, Mother of a Survivor
Call the National Helpline number: 800-373-788 anonymously for help
“The use of ochre is particularly intensive: it is not unusual to find a layer of the cave floor impregnated with a purplish red to a depth of eight inches. The size of these ochre deposits raises a problem not yet solved. The colouring is so intense that practically all the loose ground seems to consist of ochre. One can imagine that the Aurignacians regularly painted their bodies red, dyed their animal skins, coated their weapons, and sprinkled the ground of their dwellings, and that a paste of ochre was used for decorative purposes in every phase of their domestic life. We must assume no less, if we are to account for the veritable mines of ochre on which some of them lived…”— Leroi-Gourhan, A. 1968. The Art of Prehistoric Man in Western Europe. London: Thames & Hudson, p. 40.
I was asked to paint a mural at my daughter’s school in 2015, on the theme of the decline of the pollinators. The school has a strong connection with nature, healthy living and science. They have growing domes on site, and use them to teach the kids about all aspects of the food chain. At a time when farming has become a highly mechanized, chemical agrobusiness, and many people have lost their connection with nature and where their food comes from, Sierra House’s program is a great example of how consciousness is shifting. The mural was funded by UC Davis CALFresh Program.
The painting features melting honeycombs to represent global warming, bats, mosquitoes, ladybugs, honey bees and monarch butterflies which are dying out because of neonicotinoid use in agriculture. I also added local medicinal plants, flowers and fruit. Portraits of actual kids from the school and staff felt like a great way to personalize the mural, and make it relatable for the kids.
I wanted the mural to be cautionary, but optimistic. It is, after all in a school full of very young children. However, I’m just starting work on what I regard as a ‘grown-up’ version of of the same theme, for a private client in Heavenly Village. It has been dubbed the ‘Monsanto Mural’, and will feature much stronger, darker visual language to protest the status quo in our food industry. We will be live streaming the creation of this mural starting early 2019, on a dedicated website. Follow our progress via my blog on this website, Instagram and Facebook Page.