January is National Stalking Awareness Month and National Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will. Situations of minors engaging in commercial sex, despite the presence of force, fraud or coercion, are considered human trafficking. Every year, human traffickers generate billions of dollars in profits by victimizing millions of people in the United States and around the world.
Information obtained from www.traffickingresourcecenter.org/type-trafficking/human-trafficking
In 2011, Minnesota added the definition of sexually exploited youth (SEY) into child protection codes, increased the penalties against commercial sex abusers or purchasers, and directed the Commissioner of Public Safety to work with stakeholders to create a victim-centered, statewide response for sexually exploited youth.
If youth engage in conduct that relates to being hired, offering to be hired or agreeing to be hired by another individual to engage in sexual conduct, they will no longer be charged with a crime for this act. In addition, Minnesota is in the process of implementing a state service model called “No Wrong Door”, which makes resources and services available for SEY, including regional navigators, housing and shelter, comprehensive services, and training and protocol development.
In February 2015, Someplace Safe added a full-time Regional Youth Advocate (with grant funding through the Minnesota Department of Health for Safe Harbor Supportive Services), dedicated solely to identifying and working with both sexually exploited youth and youth at risk of exploitation and/or trafficking, throughout the region. This highly-trained position has not only enabled Someplace Safe to offer specialized direct services for SEY, it has increased the organization’s capacity to focus on creating coordinated, trauma-informed systems to assist youth, and to work more effectively to identify and help coordinate services to youth and families in need. Someplace Safe’s Regional Youth Advocate coordinates intakes and referrals in regards to sexually exploited and/or trafficked youth, in addition to providing direct services to SEY ages 17 and under in Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Otter Tail, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, Wadena and Wilkin Counties in West Central Minnesota.
If you or someone you know is experiencing human trafficking, please contact your local Someplace Safe office, or call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-974-3359. For more information and resources on human trafficking, visit: www.traffickingresourcecenter.org
January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Stalking can be very dangerous. A stalkers’ behaviors can escalate over time, and become more and more dangerous for the victim. It is important for the victim to know that he/she is not to blame for the stalker’s behavior.
Some things stalkers do: (information obtained from www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-information)
- Follow you and show up wherever you are.
- Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails.
- Damage your home, car, or other property.
- Monitor your phone calls or computer use.
- Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
- Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
- Find out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.
- Posting information or spreading rumors about you on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
- Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.
Staking Statistics: (information obtained from www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-information)
- 7.5 million people are stalked in one year in the United States.
- Over 85% of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
- 61% of female victims and 44% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
- 25% of female victims and 32% of make victims of stalking are stalked by an acquaintance.
- About 1 in 5 of stalking victims are stalked by a stranger.
- Persons aged 18-24 years experience the highest rate of stalking.
- 11% of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more.
- 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.
Stalking Safety Tips: (information obtained from https://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/help-for-victims/stalking-safety-planning)
If you require emergency assistance, call 911 immediately!
- If possible, have a phone nearby at all times, preferably one which the stalker has never had access. Memorize emergency numbers, and make sure that 911 and helpful family or friends are on speed dial.
- Treat all threats, direct and indirect, as legitimate and inform law enforcement immediately.
- Vary routines, including changing routes to work, school, the grocery store, and other places regularly frequented. Limit time spent alone and try to shop at different stores and visit different bank branches.
- When out of the house or work environment, try not to travel alone and try to stay in public areas.
- Get a new, unlisted phone number. Leave the old number active and connected to an answering machine or voicemail. Have a friend, advocate, or law enforcement screen the calls, and save any messages from the stalker. The messages, particularly those that are explicitly abusive or threatening, can be critical evidence for law enforcement to build a stalking case against the offender.
- Do not interact with the person stalking or harassing you. Responding to stalker’s actions may reinforce their behavior.
- Consider obtaining a protective order against the stalker.
- Trust your instincts. If you’re somewhere that doesn’t feel safe, either find ways to make is safer, or leave.
If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, please contact your local Someplace Safe office, or call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-974-3359. For more information and resources on stalking, visit: www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center.
Thanks to you, our generous donors and supporters, Someplace Safe provided services to this survivor of crime, as well as over 4,500 other individuals in the past year, creating a lasting positive impact in our communities. In the past year, Someplace staff and volunteers also:
• Answered over 2,500 calls on the after-hours crisis line from victims of domestic violence, sexual violence and exploitation, human trafficking, and other crimes.
• Completed 3,000 personalized safety plans with adults and children who experienced violence, abuse, or unhealthy relationships. These safety plans include what precautions may be taken by victims at home, work, school, and public places in order to help keep them safer from their abuser.
• Assisted in filling out nearly 900 protective orders with victims of crime and attended over 1,700 criminal and civil hearings to provide support during court processes.
• Provided 184 men, women, and children with 1,083 nights of safety through the emergency safe housing program.
• Provided a safe and neutral space for 631 exchanges and supervised parenting times between 231 children and 293 parents at our Parenting Time Centers.
• Provided nearly 200 vouchers from Someplace Safe’s Thrift Stores in Alexandria and Morris, helping at least 460 individuals and victims of crime in our communities with clothing, household items and other necessities in their time of need.
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