Friday, September 26, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

7th Annual Human Trafficking Symposium
Fighting Slavery: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Let’s Make it History

Colorado Springs, CO – The Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado is hosting an anti-human trafficking awareness and advocacy day at the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs (UCCS) on October 25th  8:00 – 3:00 in Berger Hall.  The Symposium will bring together groups and individuals interested in learning more about Modern Day Slavery in Colorado. The event is free and open to the public and lunch will be provided. (but registration required)
Media and the public are encouraged to attend all events.  

The day’s schedule is as follows:
•         0815                     Human Trafficking 101 with JoAnn O’Neil
•         0900                     Kick off and Welcome
•         0920- 0955          History – Slavery and Early Abolitionist  with Dr. Thomas Krannawitter
•         0955-1005           Current Abolitionist Movement
•         1005-1035           CSPD Law Enforcement Update
•         1035-1045           10 Minute Break
•         1045-1115           Colorado Today with AJ Alejano-Steele
•         1115-1145           Local Abolitionists Making A Difference – Panel Discussion
•         1145- 1230          Lunch
•         1230                     Special Video
•         1250 -110            Victim Advocates – A lens in our community with David Shaw
•         110- 130              Legislation Update with Dan O’Bryant
•         130- 150              United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – Iris Halpern
•         150 – 205             Break
•         205 – 230             Advocacy Action
•         230 – 300             Wrap Up /Actions

The mission of the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado is to build a collaboration of organizations and individuals to reduce human suffering caused by human trafficking, through advocacy, awareness, rehabilitation, and services for survivors.
We are excited to partner with our sponsors UCCS, Zonta Pikes Peak, Lexis Nexis, and Touching the World.

For more information on the task force, please visit

To register for the free event  Registration   


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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Insult" to all of Colorado

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Until it Hurts

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

August 6th - 3 Years Extortion 17

Monday, July 28, 2014

History in Five: Sally Ride, America's First Woman in Space

Sally Rid was America’s First Woman in Space.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Human Trafficking - Make it Personal

Thank you My Colorado View for sharing about the importance of trafficking - As citizens we must act  - It is our Communities, our Future.

There has been a tremendous amount of conversation in the media about Human Trafficking. The release of the State Department’s 2014Trafficking in Person’s Report and the FBI’s summary of Operation Cross County success has brought this to light and has been in the media during the last two weeks. To many people’s disbelief plenty of conversations are happening about the trafficking that is taking place here in Colorado. Yes, in Colorado. Recent arrests have taken place in Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Denver and Pueblo.
I often get the question about how I personally got involved in this issue. I give credit to my daughter Chelsea for enlightening me on the topic and revealing the horrors of trafficking after she attended a youth conference seven years ago. My first step was educating myself on the subject and then taking a stance that I had to do something, anything really. Shortly after my awakening to the issue, I began to meet like-minded concerned citizens and the Human Trafficking Task of Southern Colorado was formed and led by our fearless leader Betty Edwards.
What is Human Trafficking? You might see it referenced as Modern Day Slavery. That is true; some state the fact that there are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The US State Department states, “The United States government considers trafficking in persons to include all of the criminal conduct involved in forced labor and sex trafficking, essentially the conduct involved in reducing or holding someone in compelled service.”
What can you do today to make an impact?
Education: Become familiar with the facts about trafficking. I will warn you once you start pealing back the layers this is not a pretty subject, so prepare yourself. You will either be moved in one or two ways. Moved to take action or remain motionless in disbelief.
If you see something that looks suspicious the best thing you can do is report it. Give as much information as possible so law enforcement personnel and others can act upon it. Volunteers monitor the Colorado hotline 24/7. We often suggest that you keep the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking (CoNEHT) at 1-866-455-5075 stored in your phone and if you travel have the National Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 available. The National Hotline also has a text option; text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733). We often warn people not to put on their super woman capes and go in for the rescue, let the professionals take care of that. However, your eyes and ears in your community can make a difference. Use your intuition, if does not “look” right, it probably is not.
Be an ethical consumer and employer. Find out how your actions can contribute to or reduce the demand for human trafficking. There are wonderful businesses’ along the Front Range of Colorado that sell products made by survivors. Buy locally and support small businesses. This just makes good common sense and helps business entrepreneurs.
During the 2014 Legislation Season, Colorado House Bill 14-1273 was passed with cooperation and sponsorship from both sides of the aisle. Imagine that, successful bipartisan conversation. The new legislation allows Colorado to take a stronger stance on trafficking. The bill focused on adding relevant language for protecting victims, prevention and persecution.
Bottom line make it personal.

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Iraq - My View

Thank you My Colorado View for posting my blog about my thoughts on Iraq.

The Iraq situation worsens by the day and I find myself watching the media almost as much as I did from 2003-2005. This time my approach is a little different.  Instead of just tuning in to the nightly news, I follow journalists on the ground via twitter and receive fragments of information throughout the day.  The number of deaths in Iraq in June 2014 are staggering–2,417 people.  That is the size of the population of Telluride or Buena Vista, Colorado.
The other day a coworker casually said, “I am sorry about Iraq.” I know deep down what he meant, but it struck me strangely.  The Fourth of July has taken on new meaning to me since 2009. I was leaving Kuwait to fly into Al Taqaddum, which was primarily a Marine Base in Western Iraq, and then onward to Ramadi. Home of the Wild West and where the Anbar Awakening took place.  Only later, would I learn about all of the countless battles that were fought many years earlier in Fallujah and Ramadi and the painful sacrifices made by Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors.  I cannot even fathom how much brokenness that small piece of land holds and continues daily absorb.
My daughter was also in Army Basic Training. I had reached out to her Company Commander ahead of time via email letting him know that I would be pushing forward. He arranged for her to call me. Imagine me waiting in an airport in Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait when one the newest Army Privates calls me on the 4th of July. I remember it was a quick call but important to both of us. I was proud and she was relieved.
After nine months of living there I can say, I left part of my heart there.  I fell in love with the people and I came to respect the culture. I saw the hope in the eyes of Iraqi soldiers and the glimpse of promises in eyes of women and children. I walked away with the understanding that much like my desires; I want peace for my family, education, safety, and a future; they want the same. It might look different, but principally it is the same.
The steady decline of Iraq’s stability and security leaves me both sad and angry. Ultimately, it is the decision of the Iraqi people to decide its fate. But I am cheering for them, which equals nothing more than a silent cheer.
I am concerned for the future Iraqi women and children.  The status of women improves when their environments are stable and secure. When you are struggling to just feed your family and keep them safe, things like medical care and education become luxuries, not necessities. The rural women who take the brunt of the struggle are often neglected or abused.  The rural areas in the west were already filled with Syrian refugees and now the latest chaos within Iraq creates further confusion and steals hope from the most vulnerable people in the region.
What can I do?  I listen to some Arabic music and maybe make a cup of sweet Iraqi chai. I silently cheer, stay informed, educate others, and wait.

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