Hears Presentation about North County Lifeline’s Fight Against Human Trafficking
TR Robertson — Vista, CA …On the first Thursday of every month, The Vista Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee hears presentations from a variety of community and governmental agencies discussing the latest issues these groups are dealing with. This month’s keynoters included information on political concerns the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is supporting and the on-going fight against human trafficking North County Lifeline faces every day.
Vartan Djihanian, Manager of the Western Regional Office of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the Chamber’s fight to support legislation and proposals that would assist small businesses throughout the United States. Djihanian said the Chamber supports legislation that tries to curb the mass of regulations that are not in the best interest of small business growth. He said there needs to be legal reform to curb frivolous lawsuits against businesses and the Chamber supports trade agreements rather than tariffs in an effort to work better with other countries in getting the goods necessary for businesses to function effectively. As a result of these, and other policies, the U.S. Chamber supports the stance and position and assistance Diane Harkey, running for the 49th Congressional seat, presents and they support her in the upcoming election.
Don Stump, from N.C. Lifeline/Project L.I.F.E., gave a detailed presentation of the horrible situation surrounding human trafficking as it relates to the San Diego County area. San Diego County is ranked as the 7th highest area of the nation dealing with the most people involved in the human trafficking “business”. Project L.I.F.E. began in 1969 and dealing with the area of human trafficking is one of their newest areas of concern. Project Lifeline assists in the areas of Juvenile Delinquency, Child Abuse Prevention, Domestic Violence Prevention, Teen Suicide Prevention, Assistance with Homeless Families, Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Anti-Human Trafficking Services. Over the years they have had a 70-85% success rate in reunifying families. They service the entire North County area. Project Lifeline works with the area high schools educating students about the dangers of the various areas they deal with. Last year, Project Lifeline worked with over 5,600 clients. Stump also said his their mission is to educate the population about a world people know very little about that surrounds them every minute of their lives. Some of the scary statistics he pointed out include the average age a person enters the sex trade is 16 and there is an estimated number of victims ranging from 3,400 to 8,100 every year. An estimated $810 million per year is spent on the sex trade in the United States. In San Diego alone, 110 gangs may be involved in some aspect of the sex and human trafficking trade.
The human trafficking problem is a fairly new venture for Project Lifeline, beginning in 2011. Last year they dealt with 111 clients involved in this area. They support prevention groups like My Life My Choice, Empowering Young Men, and Safe Dates. When a client enters the program they will enter into a safe housing program, a behavioral and health therapy program and a trauma treatment program. Safety of the individual is of utmost importance to the Project Lifeline. They will work with a victim advocacy program and in collaboration with law enforcement as needed. Project Lifeline also offers forums and workshops for communities in the North County and beyond. As well as these programs, they work with the REACH Coalition and the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force. Project Lifeline does receive Federal grants, private assistance, monies from the Offices of Victims of Crime, but more assistance is needed. Especially important in the area of the fight against human trafficking is finding housing that will assist with the victims and survivors. Apartments and safe houses are always in need to protect the individuals entering the Project Lifeline programs.
Hot Line numbers for anyone seeking assistance or to identify a victim are 888-373-7888 or Text BEFREE (233 733). Soroptimist International of Vista member Kaye Van Nevel spoke about their assistance with this fight and the importance of the fight Project Lifeline wages. She also pointed out that on January 12th there will be a Human Trafficking Awareness Walk, beginning at the Wave Water Park, for anyone interested.
Kevin Ham – City of Vista – 2 new restaurants up and running in downtown Vista – Dog Haus and Shak’s Mediterranean. Booze Brothers seeking a specialized use permit for a venue in Vista, Toolbox Brewery closed, Helia Brewery opened and Opportunity Zones will possibly be started in the South Santa Fe area.
Candyce from Supervisor Horn’s Office reported that 40 grants were recently distributed throughout the area including grants to the Vista Chamber of Commerce, Alabaster Jar and Vista Senior Center. There will be a Forum for veterans at the Veterans Center at North Inland Center in Escondido on November 9th. On Nov. 19th there will be a turkey give away at the Center. She also reported that on November 1st Cal Pacific Air will offer air service to San Jose and Reno and they will be adding Las Vegas, Oakland and Phoenix. The one way fare is priced at $99.
Michael Hadland of Assemblywoman Waldron’s office passed out a 3 page sheet listing a number of bills she is sponsoring and co-authoring. These bills range from mental health assistance to employment issues to housing issues to substance abuse issues and much more.
Nov. 14 – Business Expo – Civic Center – 4-7 pm
Dec. 1 – Christmas Parade – Downtown Vista – 1 pm
Dec. 2 – WinterFest – Cinepolis – 2 pm
Dec. 6 – Dec. Gov’t. Affairs Committee – Chamber Offices – 12 pm