“Know thyself; know thy enemy.” Sun Tzu from The Art of War.
In the fight against Human Trafficking, what Pope Francis calls an open wound on humanity, it would be sad indeed if all of our plans, all of our methods, were fashioned on assumptions that proved to be false or incomplete. Our good intentions notwithstanding, it would be like boxing shadows. How will we know if we are making progress? How will we know if the problem is growing larger or shrinking? How will we know if services are being delivered well or whether prevention efforts are being effective? The answer is, we can’t afford to guess – not when 12 year-old girls are being sold.
Last year we were tasked by the Economic Opportunities Commission’s Central Valley Against Human Trafficking Project in accordance with Fresno City Mayor’s Initiative to Combat Human Trafficking to design and coordinate an historic attempt at collecting data on all aspects of human trafficking in the valley, including the number of victims and the services delivered to them, children vulnerable to being trafficked, prevention efforts, data from law enforcement on the demand side. We coordinated a process by which the data instrument itself was formed with the collective wisdom and guidance of 23 separate agencies from Merced to Bakersfield. We delivered the first of these quarterly reports in October to agencies from Merced to Bakersfield who will use the data in improving their services. In January we will publish the first annual report. Jesus sides with those who are being used, those seen as objects, those who are invisible and suffering, and those in need of justice – in other words, the sinned against.
We have received more than 800 reports of all types, identifying 276 unique victims in the valley. It is our habit and honor to pray for each one individually, as well as each agency doing the reporting. May God help us to know the enemy, to know ourselves, and win the fight.
To read the full report click here.