The BCC Compass – Jan 2023
When you’re talking about something uncomfortable, you can often feel the discomfort present in the room. Human Trafficking as a subject is no exception, especially when one considers needing to navigate this conversation with young people who may have no idea they may be vulnerable but must be taught what the warning signals are just in case.
Through Board of Child Care’s Regional Navigator Program, we are engaging with our community to bring awareness. This year, as part of Human Trafficking Awareness month, BCC will be participating with the Anne Arundel County Human Trafficking Awareness Red Sand event and presenting about the work we do to combat trafficking and help survivors and suspected survivors of human trafficking.
Our CEO, LA Spagnola, recently gave a webinar to Pennsylvania State University attendees about human trafficking awareness and how BCC’s therapists and care team help program participants move forward in their lives from the trauma they experienced from trafficking.
BCC sent out information to its staff during Human Trafficking Month so that we can educate and make our talent aware of the signs of trafficking. Here is what was shared:
Highlights of some of BCC’s important work to combat human trafficking and empower survivors:
- BCC’s Regional Navigator Program (RNP) has provided community-based support to survivors of human trafficking in Anne Arundel County, Maryland since 2021.
- Our RNP is kicking off 2024 with exciting growth: our staff will double thanks to expanded funding! This comes as Maryland has recently expanded Regional Navigator Programs to now cover 22 of 24 jurisdictions in the state.
- BCC’s Lotus Program has provided specialized residential care in Maryland for female survivors and suspected survivors of sex trafficking since 2018.
- The Lotus Program gained national recognition in 2023 at the Association of Children’s Residential & Community Services (ACRC) Annual Conference in Minneapolis. Some of BCC’s directors presented on their application of harm reduction concepts in residential care for survivors of sex trafficking.
- In 2023, BCC worked to help pass legislation in Maryland that protects the rights of survivors via the Safe Harbor Act and secures ongoing funding for victim services programs. In Maryland’s 2024 legislative session, BCC plans to support the efforts of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force to pass new legislation to codify protections for labor trafficking survivors and expand the impact of Regional Navigator Programs statewide.
Many thanks to our Lotus and RNP teams for the impact they have on our youth, families, and communities each and every day! Throughout this month BCC will be promoting human trafficking awareness via our social media platforms – please follow and share to help spread the word.
Here are links to statewide efforts to combat human trafficking in our primary service areas:
- Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force
- West Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force
- Pennsylvania Clearinghouse On Human Trafficking
- D.C. Human Trafficking Task Force
What can others do to help? Start with not being afraid to talk about the hard stuff.