crime victims rights, Human Trafficking, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Human Trafficking: The Modern Slave Trade

July 30th is World Day against Trafficking in Persons, and in acknowledgement of this, the following is a look at the crime of human trafficking, examined on a global, state, and local level. Human trafficking is not just something that happens “elsewhere” and to “other people”. It is a very real issue, not just globally, but in the state of Colorado and as close as Rocky Ford.

Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world. As of 2011, it is estimated that 10-30 million modern day slaves exist, of whom are victims of human trafficking. There are multiple types of trafficking, including forced labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Forced labor industries include agricultural, traveling sales crews, and health and beauty services; sex trafficking involves forced prostitution and sex slavery. Trafficking victims come from all walks of life, including men, women, and children, and can be just as likely to be US citizens as foreign nationals. 

In the state of Colorado, there have been several documented cases of both sex and labor trafficking ranging from as far north as Larimer County and Weld County, with the highest concentration of cases happening through the i-25 corridor. The state has also seen landmark cases, specifically a case wherein the offender received the highest recorded charge in relation to human trafficking in US history. Per the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking (CoNEHT), Otero County residents have made 3 calls to their hotline within 3 years; CoNEHT also documented 16 calls from Pueblo County and 149 from El Paso County within that same three-year time frame. The March 2018 Edition of the Colorado Anti-Trafficking Insider Newsletter details a case of labor trafficking that occurred in Rocky Ford, and highlights how isolated, manipulated, and scared victims of trafficking can feel.

Some of the red flags indicating human trafficking can include:

  • Unusual work or living conditions, such as being unpaid or severely underpaid for work, working in the commercial sex industry and having a pimp/manager, working excessively long and/or unusual hours, or high security measures in the work and/or living locations (e.g. opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.).
  • Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior, including fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid behaviors, and exhibiting unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Poor Physical Health, such as lack of medical care and/or being denied medical services by employer, appearing malnourished or showing signs of repeated exposure to harmful chemicals, and showing signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture.
  • Geographic Disorientation, such as making claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address, a lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or of what city he/she is in, and loss of sense of time.

Other patterns to be aware of are if the employer is withholding important documents from the victim (visas, ID’s, birth certificates, social security cards, passports, etc.), that the employer may have made threats of harm to the victim or their family and friends or threats of deportation, and if there is a forced debt to the employer that is not being paid off or is continuously being added to. These are all tactics to coerce and control the victim, making it harder to escape the situation.

HT Power and Control Wheel

If you suspect that you know someone who is a victim of human trafficking, there are multiple ways to report this:

  • Contact local law enforcement, or call 911 if there is an emergency.
  • Colorado Human Trafficking Hotline 1-866-455-5075
  • National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-3737-888 (Multi-Lingual)
     

If you want more information regarding human trafficking, feel free to contact AVRC Staff, who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24-hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

 

Video provided by Office for Victims of Crime
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrLWiVJn7Js&list=PLDuKXs-qp_GdY5fy1Yj0sPdLBRaGyRXkI
Statistics provided by the CoNEHT
https://combathumantrafficking.org/
1-866-455-5075
/ 303-295-0451
Red Flags of Human Trafficking information provided by
The National Human Trafficking Hotline
Call 1-888-373-7888 ( TTY: 711)|Text 233733
https://humantraffickinghotline.org/

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.
Abuse in Focus, domestic violence, Elder Abuse, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Abuse in Focus: Gaslighting

There are many types of abuse utilized to exert power over an individual in an effort to control them. These patterns can include physical, financial, emotional, and mental; gaslighting is a form of mental and emotional abuse.  

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This abusive behavior is one that has been used by family, friends, intimate partners, and in the workplace, and employs multiple tactics to achieve control. Some of these tactics are:

  1. Minimization: This is a downplaying of other abusive behaviors, to trivialize how the victim may feel or think. By the abuser claiming they were only joking, telling the victim they “take things too seriously”, or by calling the victim “overly sensitive”, the abuser can gain more power over their victim.
    i.e., “I am only joking, why are you taking this so seriously? Stop being so sensitive all the time.”
  2. Denial: An abuser may completely deny having said or done something, whether the victim has proof of the behavior or not. This is meant to make a victim question themselves on whether something did actually occur, and may lead the victim to think they are “going crazy”.
    i.e., “You are lying. I never said/did that. Quit making stuff up.”
  3. Discrediting: The abuser tells the victim, or other people, that the victim is crazy, irrational, unstable, or untrustworthy. This can isolate the victim, making it more difficult for them to leave an abusive situation.
  4. Countering: The abusive party repeatedly questions the victim’s memory, telling them they don’t remember things correctly. As with many other gaslighting patterns, this is designed to make the victim second guess themselves, to minimize past behaviors, or to outright deny something occurred.
    i.e., “That is not how that happened. You never remember anything right.”

Some indicators that you may be the victim of gaslighting can include:

  1. Second guessing your perceptions, thoughts, feelings, or memory.
  2. Feeling like you are overly sensitive, confused, or crazy.
  3. Frequently apologizing to your abuser.
  4. Feeling like you can’t do anything right.
  5. Struggling to make decisions.
  6. Having the sensation that something is wrong, or that you used to be a different person (more happy, confident, relaxed).

If you may believe that you or someone you know is a victim of gaslighting, or have further questions regarding this or other abusive behaviors, AVRC staff are available to assist!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

 

Facts provided by the National Domestic Violence Hotline
http://www.thehotline.org/what-is-gaslighting/

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.
domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Services Spotlight, Victim Service Agency

AVRC Services Spotlight: Children’s Counseling Program

     The Staff at the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) strive to provide the best services for all victims of violent crime. Navigating one’s thoughts and emotions in the wake of violent crime can be difficult, and for a child, it may be that much more of a challenge to understand what they are experiencing. With that in mind, AVRC offers a counseling program for children that focuses on various elements to help a child survivor potentially move forward in their recovery from their victimization.
      The AVRC Children’s Counseling Program is based on set curriculum that is divided in to age groups, starting at 5 years old. The curriculum focuses on various topics, including self esteem, choices, and anger, to help children better understand their situation. Counseling can be completed with an individual child, with a sibling group, or with groups of children from multiple families, depending on the circumstances and needs of each case. As with AVRC’s Peer and Group Counseling, or any other services AVRC offers, there is no charge for the Children’s Counseling Program. If the needs of an individual in counseling with AVRC are not being met, or if it is identified that there are mental health issues that may need to be addressed, AVRC Staff can provide appropriate referrals to potentially meet these needs.

If you, or someone you may know, is seeking more information on AVRC’s services, including the Children’s Counseling Program, feel free to contact AVRC Staff!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24-hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

 

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.
crime victims rights, domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Stalking, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Stalking: Get the Facts

     Stalking is often depicted in popular media by a hooded stranger creeping in the shadows, following their victims at a distance, always watching them. In reality, stalking takes on many forms, and sometimes occurs without the offender ever having to leave their home. With the rise in social media, methods of stalking have become even more advanced, and it is that much more important to understand the elements of stalking, and the potential lethality of the overall behavior.

Stalking Laws

  • Stalking is considered a felony upon first offense in the state of Colorado.
  • Colorado Law, or “Vonnie’s Law,” defines stalking as:
    1) a credible threat, and/or 
    2) repeated behavior, that reasonably causes someone to be afraid or suffer serious emotional distress.
  • “Vonnie’s Law” further states that stalking behaviors are identified as following, approaching, putting under surveillance, communicating with or making threats to or regarding the individual, friends or immediate family of the individual, and other repeated patterns or contacts that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person to suffer serious emotional distress.
  • All 50 states have laws against stalking, but less than 1/3 of the states classify stalking as a felony at first offense .
    stalker-stats-1-223x300

Stalking Statistics

  • 1 in every 6 women and 1 out of every 19 men in the United states have been stalked in their lifetime.
  • 3 out of 4 stalking victims know their stalkers, including family, current or former intimate partners, and acquaintances.
  • 66% of female stalking victims were stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
  • 76% of female homicide victims killed by a current of former intimate partner were stalked by their murderer prior to their death.
  • Of male stalking victims, 48% reported they were stalked by another male, and 45% by a female.
  • People aged 18-24 have the highest rates of stalking victimization.Privacy-Infographic-20151125-featured-image

Cyber-Stalking

  • Cyber-stalking is a form of stalking that utilizes technology to harass, threaten, or follow a person.
  • Cyber-stalking includes tracking or monitoring a victim’s whereabouts and actions using GPS on their phone or vehicle, and/or through social media; sending threatening messages and images by email, social media, or text; hacking a victim’s personal accounts (including email, social media, and phone) to monitor, harass, or discredit the victim; and posting personal information, such as date of birth, social security number, and phone number on the internet.

The Impact

  • Stalking victims suffer much higher rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and social dysfunction than the general population.
  • 1 in 4 stalking victims contemplated suicide.
  • 37% of stalking victims fulfill the diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • 86% of stalking victims surveyed reported that their personalities had changed as a result of being stalked.

If you, a friend, or loved one, are the victim of stalking, or would like to know more about the facts of stalking, please know that you aren’t alone, and that help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

 

Statistics provided by:
The Office for Victims of Crime
https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2017/images/en_artwork/Fact_Sheets/2017NCVRW_Stalking_508.pdf
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

https://ncadvvoices.org/2017/01/30/quick-guide-to-stalking-16-important-statistics-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.
Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

AVRC Services Spotlight: Civil Protection Order Advocacy

The Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) offers support services for clients with civil legal needs, including assisting a client in obtaining a Civil Protection Order (CPO). Seeking a CPO is a process open to any victim of violent crime with immediate safety needs. With some cases, either a client chooses not to report their immediate victimization because they don’t feel safe to do so, or law enforcement is unable to make an arrest in relation to the victimization. In such cases, the next best step to take may be seeking a CPO, which can potentially be made permanent. In the event that an arrest has been made in relation to a victimization, survivors are still able to potentially obtain a CPO, especially if they feel they need longer-term protection. AVRC Staff can aid the client in completing the initial CPO paperwork, go with the client to the hearings related to the CPO process for support, help the client prepare for these hearings, and assist the client in getting the CPO paperwork issued by the courts served on their offender.  It is important to understand that AVRC advocates provide advocacy and support during this process but not legal advice.  If a client requires legal advice over and above the advocacy and support our agency can provide, we will provide appropriate referrals to legal experts.

As with all of AVRC’s services, it is not required that a crime be reported to law enforcement, as we recognize a survivor may feel that is not the best choice for them at the time. A CPO in place does not guarantee that no new abuses will occur, but it may make it more likely that ongoing abuses are limited, or that an offender may be charged for these ongoing abuses, if reported. AVRC will encourage, support, and educate a survivor on the best practices and options for their situation, but it is ultimately the survivor’s choice on what steps are best for them, including whether or not to seek a CPO.

If you are in need of assistance in seeking a civil protection order for your safety, or would like more information on AVRC’s other services, you can speak to staff 24 hours a day!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

 

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

One in Three/One in Six

1 in 3.

1 in 6.

Do you know what those numbers mean? It means that you observe a group of 3 women or 6 men on the street, it is statistically likely that at least one of those women and one of those men have experienced sexual violence within their lifetime. It is also possible that neither of these survivors felt safe to report their victimization, as 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to law enforcement.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAPM) and the message for survivors of sexual violence in 2018 is Embrace Your Voice. One of the ways to show support for #SAAPM is to learn more about sexual violence, such as what is detailed in our previous post: Sexual Abuse and the Culture of SilenceOther ways to show support this month include wearing a teal ribbon, utilizing the #SAAMP hashtag, or following any of the other suggestions available via the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) website

Embrace your voice this April, and every day thereafter. If you are a survivor of sexual violence and you are seeking support to find and embrace your voice, resources are available to help.

National Sexual Assault Hotline:
1-800-656-HOPE(4673)
RAINN:
https://www.rainn.org/
National Sexual Violence Resource Center:
https://www.nsvrc.org/

Support through AVRC is available 24 hours a day!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

Statistics provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.

 

crime victims rights, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Expand the Circle, Reach All Victims

On April 2nd, 2018, the Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC), along with the Mayor & City Council of the city of La Junta, entered a proclamation recognizing April 8th through April 14th, 2018, as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW). The theme of this year’s NCVRW is: 

EXPAND THE CIRCLE. REACH ALL VICTIMS.

Since 1987, AVRC has endeavored to improve and expand our services for victim’s of violent crime in the Arkansas Valley. The best example of this is when, in 1996, AVRC extended their services from female victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuses to include services for all victims of violent crime, including child abuse, burglary, assault, and stalking. To further examine how agencies across the country are answering the call to Expand the Circle, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) released the following video regarding the 2018 NCVRW theme and the mission it stands for.

 

If you, or someone you know is a victim of violent crime, if you are interested about learning about AVRC’s services, or  want to know more about the Victim’s Rights Act for the state of the Colorado, feel free to contact AVRC staff!

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24 Hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation or economic condition.