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The Cantinera Documentary’s First South Carolina Screening

Cantinera Documentary,Dottie Laster,ImaginePublicity

On Thursday, October 10, Coker College in Hartsville, SC will sponsor a FREE public screening of The Cantinera Documentary, produced and directed by film maker Ruth Villatoro of Toro Films, and featuring Dottie Laster and Cat French, an activist with Elijah Rising. Five years in the making, The Cantinera tells the story of girls who are forced to work in latin bars, or cantinas, throughout the United States, often forced to drink 20-40 beers a night, 7 days a week. It’s a story often overlooked when studying aspects of human trafficking and forced labor, yet it’s an account of thousands of women who are caught in its web with no way out.

The screening of The Cantinera is the prelude to the first South Carolina conference on human trafficking.

On Friday, October 11 Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina will host the first conference about human trafficking, “Combatting Human Trafficking in South Carolina: Implications for Social Work and Law Enforcement” offering the public information as well as workshops, training and speakers for the benefit of educating law enforcement, social workers, advocates, and other professionals who work in the arena of human trafficking.

Following the screening of The Cantinera Documentary in the Davidson Hall Auditorium, there will be a panel discussion and public question and answer period led by Dottie Laster.

Admission is FREE to the public.

To register for the conference, go to www.cokercollege.whindo.com. For additional information, contact McClerklin-Motley at 843-383-8084 or smotley@coker.edu .

Cantinera Documentary, ImaginePublicity

Through the story of three women, the film navigates through the virtually unheard of subject from the perspective of a cantinera, an advocate and a vigilante. Go first hand into the cantinas while rescuers search for victims and women take a stand against one of the most powerful crime organizations….Ruth Villatoro, Director Statement

For details on how to bring The Cantinera Documentary to your community and request a screening, please visit the website CantineraDocumentary.Com or contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-0859, email: contact@imaginepublicity.com

The Cantinera Documentary’s First South Carolina Screening

 

FIRST South Carolina Human Trafficking Conference Being Held at Coker College

 

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Human Trafficking Conference, Coker College, Dottie Laster, The Cantinera Documentary, ImaginePublicity

On Friday, October 11 Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina will host the first conference about human trafficking, “Combatting Human Trafficking in South Carolina: Implications for Social Work and Law Enforcement” offering the public information as well as workshops, training and speakers for the benefit of educating law enforcement, social workers, advocates, and other professionals who work in the arena of human trafficking.

To register for the conference, go to www.cokercollege.whindo.com. For additional information, contact McClerklin-Motley at 843-383-8084 or smotley@coker.edu .

Registration will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. in the Stein Gallery of the Performing Arts Center. 

 

 

Speakers at the conference include:

The Keynote Speaker for the event is Dottie Laster of Laster Global Consulting and the Bernardo Kohler Center. Dottie Laster, Laster Global Consulting,Human Trafficking,ImaginePublicity

  • Rep. Nelson Hardwick, South Carolina
  • Luke F. Davis, Special Agent, FBI
  • Pippin Whitaker, University of South Carolina
  • Laura Carter, Tapestri International
  • Carla Damron, executive director of the South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers
  •  Gloria Davis, family violence services coordinator for the Pee Dee Coalition
  • Anna Andoni, Human Trafficking Services case manager
  • Carmen Julius, executive director of the Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services
  • Patricia Ravenhorst, SCVIN
  • Professor Deb Breede, Coastal Carolina University
  • Betty Houbion, Advocate

Co-sponsors of the event include:

  • The South Carolina Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers
  • Pee Dee Coalition
  • Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services
  • Betty Houbion, anti-human trafficking advocate and pioneer of the South Carolina anti-trafficking legislation and law.  In January, 2013 South Carolina introduced a new law against human trafficking which seeks to better support victims of trafficking with needed resources, and increases penalties for those convicted of trafficking in humans, including asset forfeiture.

 

The Cantinera Documentary Screening FREE for Public Viewing

Cantinera Documentary,Dottie Laster,ImaginePublicityOn Thursday, October 10, prior to the conference, there will be a public screening of The Cantinera Documentary, produced and directed by film maker Ruth Villatoro of Toro Films, and featuringDottie Laster and Cat French, an activist with Elijah Rising. Five years in the making, The Cantinera tells the story of girls who are forced to work in latin bars, or cantinas, throughout the United States, often forced to drink 20-40 beers a night, 7 days a week. It’s a story often overlooked when studying aspects of human trafficking and forced labor, yet it’s an account of thousands of women who are caught in its web with no way out.

Through the story of three women, the film navigates through the virtually unheard of subject from the perspective of a cantinera, an advocate and a vigilante. Go first hand into the cantinas while rescuers search for victims and women take a stand against one of the most powerful crime organizations….Ruth Villatoro, Director Statement

Following the screening of The Cantinera Documentary in the Davidson Hall Auditorium, there will be a panel discussion and public question and answer period led by Dottie Laster. Admission is FREE to the public.

To register for the conference, go to www.cokercollege.whindo.com. For additional information, contact McClerklin-Motley at 843-383-8084 or smotley@coker.edu .

 FIRST South Carolina Human Trafficking Conference Being Held at Coker College

Let Freedom Ring! Human Trafficking Event in South Carolina

Human trafficking,

January 15 is the SC Human Trafficking Awareness & Slavery Prevention media event will seal the profound journey of the new law against human trafficking while setting South Carolina on a forward swath to end this most egregious crime against humanity. Survivors of trafficking in persons ,that is, of slavery and involuntary servitude, have a rallying cry:

Forever Free !  We can now make that happen. Please join us, at the State House on the first floor lobby. 

Many of you have already said you’ll be there — can hardly wait !  Please again ask everyone you know to ring bells at Noon, and let the media know about this event. I’ll send a notice again to my media list; and other news releases will be sent between now and the event.  We know Columbia media will be present. We would like the media from other areas of South Carolina to be there, or at least to know about it.
Now for the good news:  Governor Haley signed a Governor’s Proclamation yesterday on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and she proclaimed January 2013 as South Carolina Human Trafficking Awareness Month!
Double Good News:  Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell will open our event and will read the Proclamation. His deep sense of history and service to the people of South Carolina will bring a most profound meaning to event, as through this event, we raise public awareness about human trafficking and engage all South Carolinians in the drive to end it, and for all people to be forever free.
SC Human Trafficking Awareness & Slavery Prevention Media -Public Event
January 15, 11:30 Prompt, State House First Floor Lobby, Columbia, SC

11:25 AM     Patricia Ravenhorst, SCIVN                            Welcome

11:30 AM      Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell                       Opening Statement & Historical Milestone

Reading of the Governor’s Proclamation

AG Alan Wilson                                                          Significance of SC Act 258 – Human Trafficking

Rep. Nelson Hardwick – Sen. Bradley Hutto   Bill to Law: SC’s Stand & Citizens Politics

Congressman Robert Smalls (1865)                  Reading of the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution

Solicitor Duffie Stone                                              Closing Statement: Taking the High Road &    Citizen Engagement & Impact on SC Future

Congressman Robert Smalls                                Call to Ring the Bells: Forever Free

11:55 AM     Q & A

12:00 PM – 12:05 PM                   Ringing of the Bells & Honking Horns

Note 1:  Congressman Robert Smalls Profile
*From Wikipedia:
Robert Smalls (April 5, 1839 – February 23, 1915) was an enslaved African American who, during and after the American Civil War, became a ship’s pilot, sea captain, and politician. He freed himself, his crew and their families from slavery on May 13, 1862, by commandeering a Confederate transport ship, the CSSPlanter, in Charleston harbor, and sailing it to freedom beyond the Federal blockade. He was born in Beaufort, South Carolina. After the American Civil War, he became a politician, elected to the South Carolina State legislature and the United States House of Representatives. His example and persuasion helped convince President Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union Army. As a politician, Smalls authored state legislation providing for South Carolina to have the first free and compulsory public school system in the United States.
Note 2: Significance of the Bells 
Shaped by national and world events, the power of the 2,000-pound Liberty Bell’s message grows in strength: a wreath is laid beneath the bell to commemorate the Thirteenth Amendment, which made slavery illegal in the United States; a crowd gathers outside the Liberty Bell Pavilion for a candlelight vigil to exercise their First Amendment right to disagree with their government; and tourists from all over the world come to see this international symbol of freedom.
Ask me for Trade Fair mini-chocolates and the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number cards. I’ll have plenty on hand.
See you Tuesday,
Betty


Coastal Carolina Students Standing Against Human Trafficking

From WMBF:

CONWAY – Some Coastal Carolina University students aren’t just learning about human trafficking they’re taking a stand against it.

For some students the film Taken hit home.

“I saw the movie Taken but I always thought that human trafficking happened in third world countries,” said John Conner, Senior at CCU.

Conner and his classmates are learning more about human trafficking and that it does happen here.

“It could be you, it could be somebody you know, it could be your next door neighbor,” said Kassidi Efird, Senior at CCU.  “It’s so relevant and so proxemic to our area and our state our region, our country for that matter and people just aren’t aware that it’s around them.”

Their professor, Dr. Breede, is helping them to identify what trafficking is and who the victims are.

“A child cannot give consent for sexual activity and so if they are being prostituted, if they’re being pimped out, if they’re on the street working as a hustler or prostitute they’re being trafficked,” said Dr. Breede, Associate Professor of Communications.

Geared with this information, these seniors want to spread the word.

“The stories we hear happening around the state and here in Myrtle Beach, we all share with our friends because we were blown away by hearing them,” said Zach Deritis, Senior at CCU.

To get the community onboard with the cause, they are putting on a human trafficking event.

They hope to raise awareness and money.

“People are survivors and sometimes they don’t have anything after something like this happens to them.  They have nothing,” said Nicole Holley, Senior at CCU.

Stand for Something is the name of their human trafficking event.

It’s Thursday November 8th from 10:00am to 2:00pm at CCU.

There will be music and food.

The community is welcome.

It’s Time to Celebrate! South Carolina Now Has a NEW Law Against Human Trafficking!

From the Myrtle Beach Sun News:

Ever wonder what it takes to get a dream signed into state law? For those dedicated local folks who’ve been fighting the scourge of human trafficking, it took a little more than three years of pushing legislators, sending emails, holding rallies and doing everything they could to raise awareness of the repugnant activity. It’s been a hard row to hoe, but the volunteers have been tireless in their efforts. By their success they show that concerned citizens can make a real difference in the state if they have the will and determination to see their efforts through.

On Monday, the governor signed the law cracking down on human trafficking, a crime that has already taken place across the state in recent years and to which our area, with its high transient and visitor population, is especially vulnerable. The new law seeks to better support victims of trafficking with counseling and financial aid, and it increases penalties for those convicted of the loathsome act. Among the most important provisions are the addition of asset forfeiture to the consequences for trafficking – forcing traffickers to pay for the crime-fighting efforts that will catch the next trafficker – and the creation of a state trafficking task force, charged with both coordinating the state effort between law enforcement, government and nonprofits, and with creating public awareness campaigns to raise the profile of the issue.

Betty Houbion, one of the main forces behind the effort to pass the law, has dedicated the last three years of her life to the cause. She and fellow advocates first asked Rep. Nelson Hardwick to propose the law in 2009, and since then, she said, she has worked on the effort every day. What has that meant for her personally? A shakeup of how she prioritizes her time, for one thing.

“I put my business aside,” she said Wednesday. “I haven’t worked for two years. This is just more important, and I felt without legislation, state legislation, this just couldn’t be done.”

A former business and trade consultant with a master’s in business management, Houbion turned those skills instead to organizing the effort to end human trafficking. Over that time, she saw the effort grow from a core of “a very few people” a few years ago to about 50 who showed up for a Statehouse rally in January and from there to email contacts numbering in the thousands.

Along the way, Houbion and others picked up the support not only of Hardwick – though his efforts in the House can’t be underestimated – but of other legislators, advocates, news organizations and the state’s law enforcement community, which made the bill one of their legislative priorities this year.

“Law enforcement in this state is ready and willing to arrest and prosecute human-trafficking offenders,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson in January, “but there currently is no law on the books for them to use.”

That’s no longer the case.

The law goes into effect six months from now, a date Houbion finds significant, and for good reason. It seems proper that this new fight against slavery gets added help on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Houbion already has plans for the next phase of the effort, for training events, efforts to open new shelters and more advocacy for victims on every level. While the signing this week has been an important milestone to celebrate, it’s not the end of her efforts – or that of the other dedicated advocates Houbion repeatedly mentioned – by any means. And Houbion has no intention of calling it quits now.

“If we can’t end human trafficking in this country, I don’t know what we can do,” she said. “I guess I can’t go back to work yet.”

How to help

  • Houbion said Wednesday she’s been involved in giving a number of recent tips to local, state and federal authorities about suspecting trafficking. Some of those tips have already borne fruit.
  • “It shows that citizens can speak up and let law enforcement know what they see and what they know about human trafficking,” she said.
  • Think you see an instance of human trafficking? Call in tips to the national hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

Neet’s Sweets: Human trafficking survivor and Entrepreneur bakes to make a difference

WASHINGTON, DC, May 23, 2012 – Meet Antonia “Neet” Childs, Founder and Executive Director of Neet’s Sweets Incorporated in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Neet, a survivor of human trafficking, discusses the difficulties and rewards to being a young entrepreneur:

“[I thank] God for this day, as well as every day, that I can continue to keep fighting and pushing [for] my dream. As I embrace 27, I think about what it has [taken] for me to get to this point…I am not even supposed to be here.  Just being a young black woman starting a business is tough, so I am forever grateful that I am able to use my past as my strength to inspire others to use theirs, because that’s what it’s about.”

Neet says she dreamed of having her own bakery ever since she was a little girl.  Neet’s Aunt Koona owned a catering business and, as a child, Neet followed her around the kitchen.

“It fascinated me,” Neet said, “to see her so passionate about making dishes that left everyone smiling, including me.”

Neet says she was captivated not only by her aunt’s cooking and baking but also by the fact that she owned her own business.  Neet and her sister lived in upstate New York where their mother struggled to provide for them.

“My mom worked hard to take care of us,” Neet said, “and I always felt like I needed to help and support her.”

Living in a low-income, single-parent family, Neet was at-risk for exploitation and abuse. After moving to North Carolina as a teenager, Neet’s vulnerability was recognized by a 38-year-old man.  This man befriended Neet and began to shower her with gifts.  Having grown up without a father, Neet naturally craved the attention.  One day, the man asked Neet for a favor…a favor which eventually and ultimately led Neet to be recruited and trafficked through an escort service.  In a recent interview, Neet said she felt “controlled and trapped.”  Neet’s dreams of owning her own bakery began to fade away.

Read the complete story

Holly Smith
  Holly Austin Smith is a survivor advocate, author, and speaker.  She invites you to join her onFacebook or Twitter and to follow her personal blog.

Human trafficking along the Grand Strand

Trafficking on the Grand Strand,Myrtle Beach,Betty Houbion

MYRTLE BEACH — People buying and selling other people like commodities.  When you think of human trafficking, you might think of a foreign country but it happens along the Grand Strand andPee Dee.  Local experts reveal what really goes on.

“I was a typical American girl in a typical American neighborhood,” said Holly Smith, sex trafficking survivor.  “I was 14.”

Holly was at the mall with friends when she met a man who convinced her to runaway.

He then forced her into prostitution.

What happened to Holly is called human trafficking.

“Human trafficking, simply put, is modern slavery,” said Betty Houbion, human trafficking advocate.  “It’s the buying and selling of people.  It’s making money off of those sales.”

“Human trafficking is the second largest illegal criminal activity,” said Gloria Davis, Family Violence Services Coordinator, Pee Dee Coalition.

The Department of Justice estimates about 17,000 people are trafficked to theU.S.every year.

Holly was one of them and remembers one of the men her trafficker sold her to.

“He told me that I reminded him of his granddaughter,” she said.  “And so, after that point, a light just shut off and I turned into someone else who had to do what she had to do to survive.”

“Throughout the country, sex slavery, commercial sex is the number one form of human trafficking that we see here,” said Lieutenant Michael Hildebrad, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.  “It’s kind of specific to our area because of tourism.”

Captain David Knipes with the Myrtle Beach Police Department says there are certain questions you should ask if you think someone is a victim.

“Are they being forced into prostitution or forced into some sort of labor?” he said.  “Are they always being escorted by somebody?  Are they in an area where they’re very rarely allowed to leave or leave by themselves?”

It’s important to recognize victims becauseDavissays they don’t normally seek help.

“Their lives are being threatened,” she said.  “They’re being forced against their will.  Most of them don’t speak English.  So, it’s hard for them to get help.”

Even though it was hard, Holly decided she didn’t want to be a victim, she wanted to be a survivor.

“A police officer spotted me on the street,” she said.  “I knew if I didn’t call out right then and there something bad was going to happen.”

That’s when she asked the officer what would happen if she wasn’t of age.

He then handcuffed her and took her to the station.

Her parents then came to get her and her nightmare was over.

However, it continues for thousands more, right now.

“InSouth Carolinacurrently we do not keep track of active cases or cleared cases,” said Lt. Hildebrand.  “Over the last seven or eight years or so, we’ve seen a handful of cases here inSouth Carolina, maybe five or six.”

Holly made it her mission to help trafficking victims and show the world this really happens inAmerica.

“I started to keep a list of news reports about girls being trafficked underage and there are so many every week across the nation that I couldn’t keep up with it anymore,” she said.

“This is one of those topics a lot of people don’t like to talk about just because it is a dirty topic and it’s not pleasant,” said Lt. Hildebrand.  “But this is something that needs to be in the forefront of everybody’s mind.”

“I haven’t had a moment yet when it really hit me,” said Holly.  “I almost feel like I’m telling a different girl’s story.”

Right now,South Carolinalawmakers work to pass an updated human trafficking bill.

Supporters say it better protects victims and is less broad than current legislation.

By: WENDI REDMAN | SCNOW 
Published: May 01, 2012

 

H. 3757 Passes Unanimously in South Carolina House of Representatives, on to the Senate!

 

Hello Advocates !  Still riding the wave of the uanimous vote on Thursday?  One of our advocates sent a message this morning about seeing a WIS TV report yesterday, and not just once but at least twice. It’s a good report, and mentions how now passage of H.3757 rests on the Senate’s shoulders.  H.3757 has moved to the Senate, and is being linked with its twin bill S.1135.

To see the video or text report: CLICK HERE

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee will hold a hearing on S.1135 on Thursday, April 26, at 9:00 AM, in Gressette Room 209. Keep a watch on the Senate calendar and meetings, on www.scstatehouse.gov , to make sure that this meeting is still scheduled.

Rep. Nelson Hardwick

Be at the hearing if you can. Whether you can be there or not, pull out all stops. Send an email or letter or tweet or text or phone call, to the Judiciary Subcommittee and the Judiciary Committee members, to ask them if they will support this bill.  Thank the sponsors of S.1135 .  Send a big thank you note to Rep. Hardwick, and Rep. Bruce Bannister. He presented the bill, and really hit the points right on. My thanks goes out to you all over the past months.  Four years ago, Rep Hardwick was alone among his peers, and we were too. We got the word out. Our legislators heard.

I wish the news coverage had mentioned how much you, the citizens of this state, are behind this bill, and how you through all your initiatives have raised this importance of this bill in the eyes and minds of our legislators, and how you eased Rep. Nelson Hardwick’s hard-won fight to make sure this bill kept gaining solid support among his peers. We can never, never, never ! underestimate the power of citizens politics.

Now, onward to the Senate!

Betty

April Events!

Dear Advocates to End Human Trafficking:  I am honored to be one of the panelists on April 9.  I look forward to seeing you.  You have beomce my heroes, for all that you do, to restore victims back to some normalcy in their lives and to fight for legislation which will upend hidden trafficking situations and prevent trafficking in persons ever again.  I am privileged to know you.  Yours, Betty
Sign up today!
Caught in the Creative Act
Sponsored by University of South Carolina, Columbia College, and Marriott Hotel of Columbia
Monday April 9
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Columbia College
Colloquium featuring a number of prominent speakers discussing the empowerment of women at global, national, and local levels.
Wednesday April 11
6:00 – 7:00 pm
USC ~ Gambrell Hall
Sheryl WuDunn will be speaking with a book-signing to follow.
 
Sheryl WuDunn, the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize, is the author of Half the Sky, co-written with husband Nicholas Kristoff, a New York Times op-ed columnist.   Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, is a bestseller about the challenges facing women around the globe. It has been featured on Oprah WinfreyThe Colbert Report, and many other network television shows. Currently WuDunn is a senior managing director at Mid-Market Securities, an investment banking boutique serving growth companies in the middle market, including companies founded and run by women. She is also president of TripleEdge, a social investing consultancy, and a Senior Fellow at Yale University, co-teaching a course on global affairs.

H3757 The Next Step!

trafficking in south carolina
Dear Advocates,
Last Thursday went by so fast!  If any of you watched the proceedings in the House, you might have asked, as I did, “What happened?!”  Indeed, some of you called and sent emails asking that question.
Our bill’s champion, Rep. Nelson Hardwick, called during the proceedings, to let us know that the House applied the 24-hr Rule to HB 3757, and went on a two-week break, and that’s a good thing.
For you who have gone through the legislative process, you are shaking your heads with “right!”  Every step is a learning moment. Since Thursday, I’ve been inquiring about that rule, and how best we can use this time before the House reconvenes on Tuesday, April 17, at Noon. Rep. Hardwick is right. This action gives us time to educate and advocate, and to engage more citizens across this State.  You can find the bill listed on the House Calendar, for April 17, Page 10, on www.scstatehouse.gov   The session will start at Noon.
We have two weeks to engage our friends, neighbors, colleagues, local politicians (for example, City Council Presidents and City Mayors), Police Chiefs, Sheriffs, Firefighter Chiefs, and anyone we encounter, to call or visit their respective Representative in person.
What do we need to do?  We need at least one constituent from each district to talk with that district’s Representative directly, and to ask if he or she will support H.3757-Human Trafficking. These calls can be used not only for advocacy but also to continue to educate our legislators about human trafficking.
Call me or email me, if you need more information. The Lobby Day information is good to use for talking points. More will be forthcoming. Let me know if you have more ideas about how to reach the citizens of this state. As another advocate said:  “Emails, phone calls, petitions, victim stories, stats, blogs, tweets, news articles, letters to the Editor, Op Eds (especially by a Mayor or University President or Hospital President), Facebook…whatever people comfortable with …”
Some of our advocates are holding an all day Freedom Day event at College of Charleston on Saturday, April 14. Others are pulling together PSAs placed on YouTube. Others will be distributing flyers all over their counties. Others will hold film screenings at their university, such as Pee Dee Coalition & Francis Marion University on April 17.  I will be one of five panelists at a discussion on leadership, economic development and human trafficking at The Leadership Institute, Columbia College, on April 9, preceding the presentation by S. WuDunn, co-author of Half the Sky, at University of South Carolina, Grambrell Hall, on April 11.
Most important is the direct person-to-person talk with each SC Representative by a constituent. This is a time of renewal. Keep the faces and voices of victims of human trafficking in mind, so that no other person will ever experience this horrendous, egregious — I can’t find the word for it — crime ever, ever again. No more. No more buying and selling of people and no making money from the buying and selling of people – our daughters, sons, husbands, nieces, friends — boys, girls, women and men. No More.
Yours,
Betty
What is more just than the justice of freedom?
Betty J. Houbion
843.357.7010  [H]
847.373.4158  [C]
South Carolina
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