"Sex Trafficking is a Human Rights Issue" - Our Dallas Morning News Op-Ed In Support of Resa Woodward

Resa Woodward is a victim of a crime.  A person is a victim of sex trafficking when another person, a pimp or trafficker, uses violence, threats, lies, or coercion to compel her into commercial sex acts against her will. A person forced to work in pornography falls into this victim category.

It took tremendous determination for Ms. Woodward to overcome trauma, become a teacher and improve her life.  She should be applauded for her courage, yet is being penalized for something she was forced into decades ago.  

Sadly, working with trafficking victims for 19 years, we hear this story often.  Victims are blamed for abuse and few are given the opportunities needed to rebuild their lives. We have seen personally at New Friends New Life that holistic services can help victims overcome trauma so they can achieve a second chance at life, which, like Ms. Woodward, they deeply deserve.

Sex trafficking is a horrific form of abuse that happens daily to women in our community. But it is not a women’s issue; it’s a human rights issue. We must treat victims of this crime with encouragement and dignity. They are not criminals; the ones who benefit from their abuse are.

Kelly Cruse, Executive Director of New Friends New Life

Chris Kleinert, Chair, Men’s Advocacy Group of New Friends New Life

 

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2017/02/25/sex-trafficking-energy-transfer-partners-dallas-pension-plan-h-r-mcmaster-fahrenheit-451

Ashton Kutcher to Headline 14th Annual New Friends New Life Luncheon!

KutcherA_CAA Speakers_Photo 1.jpg

New Friends New Life announces that Ashton Kutcher will headline its 14th Annual Luncheon on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 11:30 am. – 1p.m., at the OMNI Dallas Hotel, 555 S. Lamar Street. Luncheon Chairs are Lisa Cooley and Tanya Foster, and Honorary Chairs are Gail and Gerald Turner. Kutcher, a well-known actor currently starring in the Netflix original series The Ranch, which he also produces, uses his platform to speak out and take action against human trafficking.  He is the co-founder of Thorn, an organization that develops innovative technology solutions to fight the sexual exploitation of children.

“Technology has completely changed the landscape when it comes to the abuse and exploitation of children.  We created Thorn as a way to turn the tables and leverage technology to be a part of the solution, instead of a part of the problem,” Kutcher explained.

Spotlight, a trafficking investigations tool created by Thorn, has helped law enforcement identify and recover over 6,000 domestic human trafficking victims to date (with 474 of those victims being recovered in the state of Texas).

“Ashton Kutcher’s passion to end human trafficking directly aligns with the mission of New Friends New Life, making him an ideal and inspirational keynote speaker for this year’s luncheon,” said Lisa Cooley, luncheon co-chair. “His highly successful and innovative organization is turning the tables on human traffickers and a crime that enslaves young American girls at an average age of 13 – a crime happening in our own backyard.”

TIME Magazine has named Ashton Kutcher among their Top 100 Most Influential People, and Vanity Fair honored him in their New Establishment List, which identifies the top 50 of an innovative new breed of buccaneering visionaries, engineering prodigies and entrepreneurs.  Twice, Kutcher was named one of Forbes magazine’s “World’s Most Powerful Celebrities,” as well as one of Fast Company magazine’s “Most Creative People.” In addition to a successful career in acting, investing and producing, Kutcher is the husband of Mila Kunis and father of two young children.

“Ashton’s work impacts this crime at its core by recovering victims and bringing traffickers to justice,” said Kelly Cruse, executive director, New Friends New Life. “Without question, his involvement and his insight will help us engage the community and inspire cultural change.”

“In Dallas alone, sex trafficking is a $99 million dollar criminal enterprise,” said Tanya Foster, luncheon co- chair.  “Enlightened by so many staggering statistics and stories from survivors, Lisa and I are committed to rallying the support needed to bring an end to this injustice. There is much work to be done. By joining us on May 10, you can help us expand outreach to connect with the highest risk children in our city before local traffickers do.”

Past New Friends New Life luncheon speakers have included Amal Clooney, Kevin Costner, Sally Field, Barbara P. Bush, Nicholas Sparks, and Harriet Miers.

Sponsorships are available, ranging from $2,500 to $100,000. Individual tickets will be offered in March should space permit. Contact Jennifer Yarbrough, events@newfriendsnewlife.org, (214) 965-0935.

MAG Men Serve It Up Again!

The tradition continues! On February 1, MAG men delivered a unique night of celebration and fine dining to girls and women receiving aftercare services from New Friends New Life. Following Brett Pedigo’s (MAG Board ’15) inspirational words, 10 MAG men mobilized to serve a 3-course meal to over 40 women and teen girls. MAG men closed the event with a Valentine’s gift presentation and flowers for each attendee. It was MAG’s honor to serve and based on the response from our guests, our skills are getting sharp and the night was a huge success. Thank you to the MAG Men 10!  Special thanks to underwriters Mike Studer (MAG ’16) and Jim Barnett (MAG ’16).

CJ and Melissa Winslow of FoodTronix and MAG Men Bill Morse, Mike Studer, Phil Campbell, Bret Pedigo, Monty LEWIS, Colby Langford, Dr. Terrence Autry, Dr. George Ball, Stephen Pryor, Jim Barnett (not pictured)

CJ and Melissa Winslow of FoodTronix and MAG Men Bill Morse, Mike Studer, Phil Campbell, Bret Pedigo, Monty LEWIS, Colby Langford, Dr. Terrence Autry, Dr. George Ball, Stephen Pryor, Jim Barnett (not pictured)

manKINDness Project High School Curriculum Reaches Over 250 New Students

JJ Pearce and Richardson High Schools became the most recent schools to complete the manKINDness Project High School curriculum for boys. Representatives from the Department of Public Safety joined Bill Morse last week to engage 253 student-athletes in a positive prevention conversation about human trafficking. The dialogue helped each young man understand the power he possesses through his voice and thoughts that translate into words and attitudes toward girls and women. To date, 331 high school boys have completed the training.

Human Trafficking Prevention Month Updates

This month, New Friends New Life has been busy collaborating with the community to create solutions that support survivors and address the demand for this horrific crime. Below are a few highlights:   

  • Having successfully launched the New Friends New Life manKINDness® Project last fall at Parish Episcopal School and Hillcrest High School, New Friends New Life's Men’s Advocacy Group is gearing up to train hundreds of student athletes in the Richardson Independent School District starting this month.
  • New Friends New Life staff participated in the Denton County Human Trafficking Coalition Expo with other agencies, organizations, and ministries to spread awareness in the community about human trafficking.
  • In preparation for Texas’s 85th Legislative Session, New Friends New Life hosted meetings with Representative Tan Parker, law enforcement, SMU’s Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women, and district attorneys from across the state to discuss proposed legislation to better support survivors and prosecute traffickers and buyers.
  • New Friends New Life co-sponsored Human Trafficking Advocacy Day on January 25 to thank legislators for their dedication to the cause, and urge them to make human trafficking a priority issue during the 85th Legislative Session. 

 

MAG Men Set to Continue manKINDness® Service

MAG men designed this first of its kind dinner program for the women attending New Friends New Life’s Wednesday Night Program. MAG will host four themed dinners in 2017 with the first being February 1. Up to 10 men can participate on the night of the event from 5:15PM to 7:15PM. Can’t attend this time? No problem! We are also seeking volunteers to help underwrite a small gift for the 40 New Friends New Life members to be served on February 1. Contact Bill Morse (214-965-0935 or bmorse@newfriendsnewlife.org) and be a part of this special night of manKINDness®.  

Speakers’ Bureau Seeking Opportunities

The MAG Speakers Bureau is designed to go most any place at most any time to bring sex trafficking and exploitation related education and awareness to our community. You can help make this happen by taking just a few minutes. Call or send your leads and contacts to Bill Morse at 214-965-0935 or bmorse@newfriendsnewlife.org.  Here are just a few examples of venues that we hope to reach:

Churches
Schools
Social Clubs & Groups
Corporate Events
Conventions/Special Functions
Hospitals
Law Enforcement
Board Meetings

manKINDness® Education Curriculum Slated for All RISD High Schools

With direct participation and support from Dr. Clayton Oliphint (MAGBOD ’15), MAG was able to secure a late November agreement with the Richardson Independent School District to present the manKINDness® Education Curriculum at each of its four high school campuses: Berkner, Lake Highlands, Pearce and Richardson. Dates are set. Training begins in January. Several hundred male student-student athletes from the football teams will participate. Some coaches are interested in expanding participation to all male athletic activities.

The success of this outreach was not possible without the kindness of a No Harm Network member who introduced Bill to Leslie Slovak, RISD’s athletic director. Ms. Slovak embraced the idea, gained coaches’ support and later secured approval from RISD administration. However, the extra point on this score came at the hands of Dr. Oliphint who arranged and attended a meeting with Pearce’s first-year Head Football Coach David Collins who was representing fellow District coaches. Dr. Oliphint and Bill discussed program details and possibilities with Coach Collins as well as addressed his and other RISD football coaches’ questions. Following a district coaches meeting, Berkner High School Head Football Coach, Jim Ledford wrote: “we are in total agreement with the direction you are going with this presentation.”

 

Click http://www.risd.org/group/schools/schools_main.html to learn more about the Richardson Independent School District schools and the men (head football coaches) who are committed to being more than a coach to our future’s men. To paraphrase Coach Collins: “as football coaches in North Texas, we take very seriously the influential position we’re in. We have chosen to be a positive instrument in our boys’ lives which naturally entails helping to build character on and off the field. This program fits well within that scope.”

Twelve MAG Members Preparing to Help Share the New Friends New Life Message

The purpose of the training course is to equip attendees with the information and tools necessary to make informed public presentations on behalf of New Friends New Life and MAG. The course is designed for new members involved with the newly formed MAG Speakers’ Bureau. While any MAG member is welcome to participate, December training sessions are full. The class will be offered periodically throughout the coming year.  Know a venue to take our message? Church? Social club? School or Team?  Contact Bill at MAG@newfriendsnewlife.org or by calling 214.796.0935 x307. 

No Harm Network Membership Drive Planned for National Human Trafficking Prevention Month

In November, the MAG Board endorsed an enhanced membership/enrollment strategy aimed at accelerating the growth of No Harm Network membership in 2017.  The No Harm Network exists to increase awareness in the business community about human trafficking and the role that business policies and culture can serve in protecting teen girls and women from the harm of sex trafficking and exploitation.

The enhanced approach seeks to increase businesses’ awareness and education about sex trafficking and exploitation within the organization as a requisite for membership. The enhanced membership parameters require organizations to allow MAG to provide employee education/awareness training about sex trafficking and exploitation, and how everyday business practices can be part of the solution. Organizations must also display the No Harm Network emblem on the company website. 

While the original Network membership requirements obligated organizations to pledge adherence to specific policies and practices that did no harm to victims of sex trafficking, the new strategy includes educating organizations about said policies and practices.

Despite changes to our membership strategy, the key to growing the Network continues to be active involvement from our MAG members.  Members can help in numerous ways including personally recruiting organizations for membership, introducing organizational decision makers to MAG contacts, promoting the Network among colleagues, and so on. In coming weeks, MAG members will receive an updated No Harm Network packet with talking points, key information, and a new video short to facilitate MAG members’ support of the campaign. If each MAG member delivered just one (1) Network candidate, we could raise an incredible and indelible voice within the Dallas business community.

Already have business candidates for outreach? Got other ideas? Contact Bill at MAG@newfriendsnewlife.org or 214.965.0935 x307.

 

Chronology of the Men's Advocacy Group

Below is a brief overview of the Men's Advocacy Group history as of November 18, 2016: 

2014

•    New Friends New Life’s Board of Directors approves launching a  Men’s Initiative
•    Executive in Action consulting team’s organization, design and deployment recommendations for men’s group endorsed by Board of Directors (Sep) 
•    Chris Kleinert named founding Chairman of unnamed men’s Board (Dec)

2015

•    New Friends New Life hires first male staff in its then 18-year history (Jan)
•    Seven-member Executive Committee for men’s group board formed to create men’s group mission and recruit men’s Board directors (Feb)
•    MAG accepts new role of announcing ProtectHer Award recipients annually (Mar)
•    Chairman Kleinert announces founding 20 members of men’s board (May)
•     Inaugural men’s Board of Directors meeting held (Jun)
•    Men’s board adopts “Men’s Advocacy Group,” a.k.a. MAG, as group name (Aug)
•    MAG Board concludes extensive foundational education process on sexual exploitation and sex trafficking which featured professionally-guided tours through high trafficking areas in the Metroplex (Aug)
•    MAG Board formally adopts mission statement that focuses on advocacy, legislation and corporate engagement (Nov)

2016

•    No Harm Network Campaign begins; first member enrolled (Apr) 
•    MAG Membership Campaign begins (May)
•    Inaugural Onboarding Training of new Members held (Aug)
•    MAG starts 60-day pilot of manKINDness® High School Education curriculum (Aug)
•    First new Members Meeting (Conference) held (Sep)
•    MAG featured in its first onsite organization training event at DART (Sep)
•    MAG conducts first man manKINDness® High School Education program at Parish Episcopal School in Dallas (Sep)
•    MAG Board strikes accord with Boy Scouts of America to create and pilot a first of its kind education program for boys and girls of BSA (Oct) 
•    New Members engage in first group event by hosting a “dinner experience” for New Friends New Life survivors (Nov)
•    MAG conducts first awareness presentation at a middle school (Nov)

 

manKINDness® Education Curriculum Continues to Make Inroads

Bill Morse didn’t know what to expect after he accepted the challenge of facing two dozen young teens alone at DISD’s Raul Quintanilla Sr. Middle School on November 17, 2016, a day he will not soon forget. Bill and 24 boys and girls gathered together to have an open conversation about the importance of respecting themselves and others. The interactive experience broached topics related to the community, volunteerism, and human trafficking. Students learned that human trafficking is a worldwide crisis and that it exists here in Dallas. The predominantly male classroom heard about the power that young men have in being a part of solutions to stop trafficking and the role that New Friends New Life and the Men’s Advocacy Group plays in the fight.  Click here to learn more about Quintanilla Middle School (http://www.dallasisd.org/quintanilla)

Speakers' Training for New MAG Members Now Available

MAG members can now enroll in a two-hour training course to learn more about Sex Trafficking, Sexual Exploitation, New Friends New Life, and the mission of the MAG. The purpose of the training course is to equip attendees with the information and tools necessary to make informed public presentations on behalf of New Friends New Life and MAG. While the course is designed for new members involved with the newly formed MAG Speakers’ Bureau, any MAG member is welcome to participate. The class will be offered periodically throughout the coming year, but you don’t have to wait. Training sessions scheduled for December are listed below. If one of the dates fits your schedule, contact Bill Morse to sign up.

Session 1: Tuesday, December 13 (2:30pm - 4:30pm)
Session 2: Wednesday, December 14 (8:00am - 10:00am)
Session 3: Wednesday, December 14 (2:30pm - 4:30pm)
Session 4: Thursday, December 15 (8:00am - 10:00am)

 

 

manKINDness High School Pilot a Success Across All Measures

MAG’s high school education and awareness pilot concluded in October and was deemed a resounding success. Championed and developed by MAG with input from NFNL’s clinical and child development experts, the high school manKINDness® education and awareness curriculum is a 75-minute interactive learning experience tailored for young men in high school. The purpose of the curriculum is to create candid dialogue around valuing and respecting women, as well as educating young men on the relative harmful effects of derogatory language, disrespectful actions, and viewing pornography. All pilot goals were achieved.

After a pre-trial exercise to assess program content with boys at the Letot Center, the pilot officially moved into production. The curriculum was first piloted at the Parish Episcopal School (Head Coach Scott Nady, MAG ‘16) in September followed by Hillcrest High School (Head Coach Aaron Todd) in October. A total of 58 high school football players participated in the pilot program. Ninety-seven percent of the student-athletes recommend the program for boys at all high schools and 55 of 58 student-athletes acknowledged that the education impacted their attitudes toward women and will likely affect their behaviors toward girls in the future. 

How you can help?
•    Volunteer to recruit your child’s school or other schools around the Metroplex
•    Introduce Bill Morse to a potential lead or high school contact
•    Join the education effort and get trained to deliver the curriculum

To view Coach Scott Nady's interview, follow this link: http://www.wfaa.com/news/coach-impacts-players-beyond-football/323041536

 

Parish Episcopal Football Team manKINDness curriculum led by Coach Scott Nady, Major Jeoff Williams, and New Friends New Life's Bill Morse

Parish Episcopal Football Team manKINDness curriculum led by Coach Scott Nady, Major Jeoff Williams, and New Friends New Life's Bill Morse

manKINDness curriculum delivery at Hillcrest High School featured in Preston Hollow People

manKINDness curriculum delivery at Hillcrest High School featured in Preston Hollow People

MAG Contributes Significantly to NFNL Education Forum at SMU

MAG men were well-represented at NFNL’s Education Forum on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children at SMU on October 25. SMU President and MAG Executive Advisory Council member, Dr. R. Gerald Turner (MAG ‘15) opened the evening’s program. Texas Department of Public Safety Major and MAG Board member Jeoff Williams (MAG ‘15) and High School Head Coach and new MAG member Scott Nady (MAG ‘16) were two of four distinguished panelists, which also included New Friends New Life’s Clinical Director Dr. HaeSung Han and activist and TCU professor Dr. Vanessa Bouché. Panelist remarks ensured an engaged audience. Other MAG members contributed to the successful evening by prominently and cheerfully sporting MAG’s No Harm Network lapel pins while serving as greeters prior to the program’s start. Professional photography was benevolently provided by Holt Haynsworth (MAG ’16) of Haynsworth Photography.

MAG Men Deliver a Fine Dining Experience for Survivors

November 9th marked a new dining era for service delivery to the women who attend NFNL’s weekly Wednesday Night Program at the Preston Road Church of Christ. Eleven MAG men hosted the dinner event aimed at honoring NFNL’s women recovering from sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. The men provided a full service sit-down dinner themed “Celebrating You!” MAG men experienced joy and humility throughout the evening as they engaged the grateful and kind survivors. 

All of the MAG men delivered meals to the tables. Bill Morse (MAG ’15) opened the evening with a thank you to the survivors and a brief history of MAG. MAG Board Chairman Chris Kleinert (MAG ’15) shared powerful words of encouragement and support giving assurance that MAG will be an ongoing source of advocacy. David Ball (MAG ’15) blessed the meal and the 3-course dinner service followed. MAG adorned each table with black and white linens and a specially-made fresh floral centerpiece donated by attending member Matt Brady (MAG ’15). Each dinner table came with two assigned MAG waiters who saw to the dining needs of each survivor. Other MAG men including Phil Campbell, Chris Johnson, Colby Langford, Mark Negri, Jerry Weete, Alan Wood and Scott Wright – all class of 2015 – combined to man the kitchen, maintain food and beverage coverage, table service and clean-up detail. Every MAG man was a full and active participant to ensure the premium service that only MAG can deliver.

While the hosting MAG men noted a few modest opportunities for process and service enhancements, they are both humbled and inspired to reiterate words spoken to survivors last Wednesday night:  “we stand with you, for you and if necessary, in front of you.” MAG men were honored and moved by survivors’ appreciation. Two such examples are captured in Thank You cards to MAG: “A lot of thought… deserves much recognition. My heart is full” and “Feeling pretty blessed to be treated special tonight.”

In 2017, MAG men are scheduled to return and deliver more top notch culinary experiences on Feb 1, May 3, Aug 30, and Oct 25. 

How you can help?
•    If you are a MAG member, sign-up to serve on at least one of the four 2017 dates
•    Identify a benefactor donor willing to donate all or a portion of the dinner meal
•    Donate or arrange for a donor to underwrite small gifts for the survivors 

Men's Advocacy Group Members are Serving Everywhere

Men's Advocacy Group (MAG) men gave their time and support in a myriad of ways during the last 30 days. Here’s a snapshot of some of the men’s contributions. Nearly 65% of the MAG is represented in the following list:

•    (11) MAG men organized and served dinner to survivors on Nov 9. MAG’s manKINDness dinner was the first of its kind for the weekly Wednesday night program.
•     (2) MAG Board men joined Rep. Tan Parker along with ranking local and state government and law enforcement officials in a NFNL-sponsored round-table discussion to identify new measures that combat sex trafficking through legislative action. 
•    (21) MAG men attended the Education Forum on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children at SMU on Oct 25 and filled major program roles including master of ceremony, program panelists, greeters and event photographer.
•    (3) MAG men collaborated to host an interactive gathering of 15 young professionals at a MAG Board member's home to explore the ministry of giving and the fight against sex trafficking and exploitation. 
•    (1) MAG man expanded the growing MAG network by bringing a local business and MAG together. That business sponsored all food, beverages, and event ware at the Nov 9 Wednesday Dinner.
•    (2) MAG Board men “talked” with (32) local high school student-athletes about the impact of words and actions that objectify and marginalize women. 
•    (3) MAG men met with Boy Scouts of America (BSA) leaders to continue developing plans to create a joint education and awareness initiative for scout-age boys and girls in the BSA organization.
•    (2) MAG Board men met with Stemmons Corridor Business Association Board members to develop a concept around a 2017 event to bring together a large contingent of local businesses and marketing of MAG’s No Harm Network.
•    (2) MAG men conducted a series of meetings with Letot Center’s superintendent to complete a needs assessment and a scope of support that MAG may provide to the boys at the Center while teaching respect of self and others.
•    (2) MAG men partnered to complete a draft of the new Train-the-Trainer program for men who participate in the MAG Speakers’ Bureau.

 

How can I identify a victim of sex trafficking?

New Friends New Life receives this question often – how can I identify or spot a victim of sex trafficking? 

While there are various warning signs, each victim and each situation is different. Anyone, regardless of gender, race, age or socioeconomic status, can be a victim of sex trafficking. Below is a list of indicators that could be present if a person is being sexually trafficked: 

•    Physical abuse or malnutrition
•    Unexplained appearances of expensive gifts
•    Withdrawal from friends or family
•    Persistent absence from school or job
•    Unable to articulate a current address
•    High security measures in work or living conditions
•    Dialogue that signifies a controlling “boyfriend”
•    Tattoos such as bar codes, dollar bills, or a man’s name 

If you encounter a person that you suspect is being trafficked, the first thing to remember is to never try to rescue a suspected victim yourself. By trying to intervene, you could make the situation much worse. 

If you suspect something is wrong, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

If someone is in immediate danger, call 911. 

North Texas Giving Day is here!

Thursday, September 22nd is the day that North Texans get up to give and receive bonus funds to match donations! We're grateful for generous supporters, like you, who contribute to help advance the work we do. For the formerly trafficked teens and sexually exploited women that we serve, today is important. Not because it's North Texas Giving Day, but because it's another day of fighting to move beyond the past and courageously push forward into hope and restoration. It’s a day that may look something like this:

You’re a single mom who lacks marketable job skills. You’re ready to work hard to support your family, but the huge gap on your resume is hard to explain to local employers.

You’ve moved. A lot. And now you’re trying to find safe and affordable housing. You want to protect your children and put food on the table. But both require an income stream that you do not yet have.

A car payment is not in your budget right now and neither is car insurance, so you take public transportation. The bus schedule can be unreliable and the route reminds you of your past. You first met your trafficker at that exact bus stop when you were only 13 years old. His name is still emblazoned across your chest as a painful reminder of being branded as property.

You want to participate in therapy, in career development courses, in a Bible study. But those things require a bus pass and stable childcare. Things that aren’t readily available to you.

And maybe, just maybe, all of those things that were said to you for all of those years were actually true. Because making the decision to believe in yourself is hard. Believing that you have value and worth. Believing that you can step forward into a new, meaningful life with healthy relationships and a fulfilling career. It’s even harder when you lack a source of income.

So today, when you woke up, you weren’t thinking about North Texas Giving Day. 
You were deciding whether you could feed your children and push forward into recovery by leaning into New Friends New Life for support. And we’re so grateful that you chose New Friends New Life.

For the formerly trafficked teens and exploited women in our community, will you consider giving them one more day?
https://northtexasgivingday.org/npo/new-friends-new-life