Human trafficking can occur anywhere, even in the North State. In late 2013, multiple Redding residents were shocked when they learned of a human trafficking situation in their own backyard. Tips to police led to the arrest, and eventual conviction, of Melvin Baldwin-Green and Tanishia Williams. This case, a first for the Shasta County area, was prosecuted and the pair were convicted of multiple sex-trafficking, pimping, kidnapping, and pandering charges and sentenced to multiple life terms.
Amidst such challenges, organizations like One SAFE Place (OSP) and Children's Legacy Center (CLC) play crucial roles in helping victims of trafficking. One SAFE Place offers comprehensive services for survivors of domestic and family violence, trauma, and abuse. Their support extends beyond shelter to include counseling, legal advocacy, and assistance in rebuilding lives.
Along with other youth-centric programs, Children's Legacy Center operates a Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP), specifically designed to address the needs of youth victims of trafficking, otherwise known as Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). This program provides a safe and supportive residential environment where youth can receive specialized care and therapy. The STRTP at CLC focuses on helping these young survivors heal from trauma through various therapeutic interventions, including counseling and play therapy.
As we recognize the importance of addressing human trafficking, it's noteworthy that January is Trafficking Awareness Month. This designated month serves as an opportunity for communities, organizations, and individuals to raise awareness about the prevalence of trafficking and educate others on how to identify, prevent, and combat this heinous crime.
Here are a few potential warning signs of human trafficking (from sharedhope.org):
Pimps/traffickers often exhibit the following behaviors or characteristics –
Pimps/traffickers often show signs of jealousy, control, and violence.
• They are usually significantly older than their female companions.
• Promising things that seem too good to be true is a common tactic.
• Victims may be encouraged to engage in illegal activities to achieve their goals.
• Expensive gifts and possessions are often used as manipulation tools.
• Pimps/traffickers may be vague about their profession.
• They tend to be pushy or demanding about sex.
• Inappropriate sexual behavior is often encouraged.
• Victims may feel responsible for the trafficker's financial stability.
• Pimps/traffickers are often very open about financial matters.
Warning signs that an individual may be being trafficked –
• Physical abuse, such as burn marks, bruises, or cuts
• Unexplained absences from class
• Sexualized behavior
• Excessive tiredness in class
• Withdrawn, depressed, distracted, or checked out
• Boasting about making or having lots of money
• Changes in attire, such as being less appropriately dressed or acquiring new expensive clothes, accessories, or shoes
• New tattoo (Tattoos are often used by pimps as a way to brand victims; tattoos of a name, symbol of money, or barcode could indicate trafficking)
• Having an older boyfriend or new friends with a different lifestyle
• Talking about wild parties or inviting other students to attend parties
• Showing signs of gang affiliation (colors, notebook doodles of gang symbols, etc.)
Learn more about the Melvin Baldwin-Green case by watching this video created by the Northern California Anti-Trafficking Coalition. During Trafficking Awareness Month, take the opportunity to stay well-informed and actively participate in the joint endeavor to combat human trafficking in our community.
Through our collective efforts and the dedicated work of OSP and CLC, we strive to change the trajectory for all victims of these crimes in our community. By raising awareness during Trafficking Awareness Month, understanding warning signs, and supporting organizations that provide crucial services, we contribute to a united front against human trafficking. Together, we aim to create a community that is informed, compassionate, and actively working to prevent and alleviate the impact of such crimes, offering a path toward recovery and a brighter future for survivors.
If you suspect human trafficking with the City of Redding, you can report it directly to Redding Police here: https://redding.rja.revize.com/forms/6813