WORD ON THE STREET
At the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, we are dedicated to stepping up our efforts to address this issue. Combating human trafficking is by no means an easy feat, but through cooperation and community engagement we believe we can facilitate progress in this area.
I thank the Anaheim Police Department greatly for saving my life. Police are what you make them out to be. They are a great help to society. I also want to thank my victim advocate who helped me in every way possible. Most of all, I want to thank law enforcement and victim advocates now for giving me the opportunity to come and speak about my story.
1st American human trafficking victim recovered in 2011.
This case and the lessons learned set the stage to how law enforcement did a paradigm shift in conducting human trafficking investigations and prosecutions with a now legally defined victim, as well as transitioning to build closer partnerships with victim advocates to assist the victims of this newly identified crime.
The hardest part was talking about what had happened. Also, it was hard trusting the police because I didn't know if it was actually the police or one of "them". They were dressed like the police. They were undercover. Since the people that did this to me told me they were watching me at all times, I thought maybe they were tricking me.
She is a success story that is no longer making excuses, not protecting her abuser…She has made a valid effort to change her life, not by talk, but by doing. She is the type of person that we, as that community that she has rejoined, should be helping out. We need to keep our words, our commitments to treat people (such as this survivor), with the respect that she has earned by choosing to do the right thing. We need to offer her the chance to take the next step to better herself and to obtain goals only dreamnt about in the past. We need to “Rise Above” any previously believed perceptions of who she was, instead we need to focus on what she can become…. When I speak to her these days, she is no longer the victim I helped almost two years ago, but a person to share stories with, challenges, jokes and losses. I hope that at the end of the road, where her goals lay, there awaits the ability to share a, "Congratulations, you did it."
Detective, Letter of Recommendation for the Rising Above Scholarship
I appreciate how humble and helpful you guys are. Your Task Force has done some phenomenal work. It's easy for many law enforcement agencies to become cocky and huddle their information, but you guys are willing to share your strategies to help other agencies.
I valued the Task Force instructor's humility. It put my mind at ease when he owned his mistakes and taught us the lessons learned. I valued his knowledge and openness to help.
At first. I didn't want help because I didn't trust the police. I wasn't sure if they were going to deport me and take away my kids. They said they wanted to help, but I thought maybe they just wanted information. When I arrived at the police station it was then when I started to trust them, but not completely since I still thought there was a chance they were going to send me back to my country.
As a volunteer with the OCHTTF, I have had the opportunity to both observe and work alongside law enforcement. I am not sure what I expected, but it has been a pleasant surprise. I truly appreciate what I have learned from them and about what they do. Respect goes both ways. I genuinely respect and admire the difficult job that they do and their dedication to it. They, in turn, have shown that they appreciate the part I play. And, of course, I can't imagine the OCHTTF functioning at nearly the level that it does without partnering with law enforcement.