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.
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.
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.

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

National Crime Victim’s Rights Week 2018

National Crime Victim’s Rights Week (NCVRW) 2018 is fast approaching, and so in honor of that, here are a few facts regarding Victim’s Rights history, both in Colorado and across the nation.

 

  • In 1975, the first “Victim’ Rights Week” was organized by the Philadelphia District Attorney.
  • The National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards is established in 1977 by the existing 22 state victim compensation programs to foster a nationwide network of compensation programs.
  • Programs including the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA), the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), and Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc. (POMC) were established in 1978.
  • In 1981, President Ronald Reagan proclaims the first national “Crime Victims’ Week” in April.
  • The Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 brings “fair treatment standards” to victims and witnesses in the federal criminal justice system.
  • In 1983, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is established by the U.S. Department of Justice within the Office of Justice Programs to implement recommendations from the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime. OVC establishes a national resource center, trains professionals, and develops model legislation to protect victims’ rights.
  • The passage of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) in 1984 established the Crime Victims Fund, made up of federal criminal fines, penalties, and bond forfeitures, to support state victim compensation and local victim assistance programs.
  • Also in 1984,  victim/witness notification system is established within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
  • By the end of 1986, 35 states have established victim compensation programs. 
  • In 1988, victims’ rights constitutional amendments are introduced in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina, and Washington. Florida’s amendment is placed on the November ballot, where it passes with 90 percent of the vote. Michigan’s amendment passes with more than 80 percent of the vote.
  • The Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 incorporates a Bill of Rights for federal crime victims and codifies services that should be available to victims of crime.
  • Colorado legislators introduce a victims’ rights constitutional amendment on the first day of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The bill is unanimously passed by both Houses to be placed on the ballot in 1992.
  • In 1992, five states—Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, and New Mexico—ratify victims’ rights constitutional amendments.
  • In 1996, six additional states pass victims’ rights constitutional amendments—the largest number ever in a single year—bringing the total number of states with amendments to 20. States with new amendments include Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Maryland, Ohio, and Utah. 
  • To fully recognize the sovereignty of Indian Nations, OVC for the first time provides victim assistance grants directly to tribes in Indian Country, in 1997.
  • Victimization rates reported in the National Crime Victimization Survey in 2000 are the lowest recorded since the survey’s creation in 1973.
  • By the end of 2002, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam have established crime victim compensation programs.
  • Congress passes and President Bush signs the Justice for All Act of 2004, which provides mechanisms at the federal level to enforce the rights of crime victims, giving victims and prosecutors legal standing to assert victims’ rights, authorizing the filing of writs of mandamus to assert a victim’s right, and requiring the U.S. Attorney General to establish a victims’ rights compliance program within the Department of Justice. 
  • In 2010, President Obama signs the Tribal Law and Order Act, designed to increase Tribal law enforcement agencies’ power to combat crime on reservations and to increase the accountability of federal agencies responsible for public safety in Indian Country. The Act requires federal prosecutors to keep data on criminal cases in Indian Country that they decline to prosecute, and to support prosecutions in Tribal court by sharing evidence.

If you have any questions regarding the Colorado Victims’ Rights Act (VRA), or if you are a victim of violent crime and are unsure of your rights, don’t hesitate to contact the Arkansas Valley Resource Center for info and support!

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.

 

 

domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Victim Service Agency, Violent Crime

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Violent Crime: The Lasting Impact

     It seems that Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is most generally discussed in association with the subject of sports injuries, particularly football. Having been repeatedly struck, innumerable times a year, it isn’t surprising that football players, either at the high school, college, or pro level experience more brain injuries than most other athletes. However, these athletes aren’t the only individuals who are at risk from TBI, though they may be the most commonly discussed.

     According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 10% of the brain injuries that are reported are the result of assault. At 17 million TBI’s reported annually in the US alone, this totals to approximately 8,500,000 brain injuries that were a result of violent crime within a 5-year period.  The CDC also cites that in 2013, assault was the most common cause of TBI-related deaths for children between 0-4 years old. It is also estimated that as many as 20 million survivors of domestic violence (DV), 6% of the US population, may be affected by TBI.

10% of reported TBI are a result of violent crime.

     TBI is the result of external physical force, which may cause a varying degree of injury to the brain. Such external force can include penetration of the skull by a foreign object, including stab wounds or gun shots to the head, closed head injuries due to strikes to the head or rigorous shaking, and cutting off oxygen to the brain such as can be caused by strangulation. For survivors of DV, they may have experienced multiple incidents wherein they were strangled, hit in the head, or slammed up against a wall, all of which could result in repeated cases of what is referred to as “mild brain injury”. In cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome, infants are injured due to violent and forceful shaking, with as many as 250-750 deaths annually as a result. For those who survive the preceding assault, they can face a veritable maze of immediate and/or potentially long term aftermath from their resulting TBI.

brain-injury-symptoms

     The side-effects of TBI can have a long-lasting and sometimes severe impact on the survivor, including physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and sensory problems. These symptoms can include, but aren’t limited to; headaches, dizziness, reduced memory and concentration capabilities, and changes in personality and sleeping patterns. Worse still, enduring symptoms can make any ongoing or future abuses that much more dangerous for a victim, as  it may be more difficult to leave an abusive situation.

     Identifying and addressing the symptoms of, or providing support for survivors with TBI is imperative. Depending upon the severity of the injury, it is potentially possible to recover from these far-reaching symptoms. The first step to recovery is seeking the right resources to help reach that goal. Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) is available to connect survivors with the appropriate resources to meet their needs, and assist in addressing new or ongoing abuses. Don’t hesitate to reach out and move forward!

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 and symptom chart provided by the Center for Disease Control. Additional information provided by Domestic Abuse and Brain Injury in Women, via the National Women’s Health Network (https://www.nwhn.org/domestic-abuse-brain-injury-women/).

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

domestic violence, Non-Profit Agency, Sexual Assualt, Victim Service Agency

AVRC Services Spotlight: Peer & Group Counseling

The Arkansas Valley Resource Center (AVRC) recognizes that road to recovery for survivors of violent crime can be a long and trying one, and believes that one of the best tools for potentially reaching the end of that road may be counseling. AVRC offers peer and group counseling for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuses in Bent, Crowley, and Otero County. There is no charge for counseling, or any other service provided by AVRC, and it is not required for a victimization to be reported to Law Enforcement in order for a survivor to access counseling support.

Peer counseling, by definition, is counseling, support, and guidance provided by a trained peer professional. AVRC’s peer counseling is survivor-driven, with the goal of working toward recovery from past and/or potentially ongoing abuses. While in peer counseling, AVRC staff assist victims with resources, tools, and techniques to recognize unhealthy and abusive patterns, build self-esteem, and develop healthy coping skills.

Group counseling for sexual violence and domestic violence victims is conducted with the hope that survivors can build a support system within the group, and recognize that they are not alone in their experiences. As with individual peer counseling, AVRC staff can work with the group on recognizing the cycle of violence, establishing assertive communication skills, and setting healthy boundaries in their relationships.

Should it be determined that a survivor’s needs are not being met by peer or group counseling, or that they have concerns regarding their mental health, AVRC can provide appropriate referrals and resources to best meet those needs.

If you are interested in seeking peer or group counseling, or would like more information, AVRC is just a call away!

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.