Thursday, January 30, 2014

Vista, California

Saturday we are leaving,  moving our rig from the rv park in Vista where we have been sitting since November.  We will certainly miss the many sunny days we had here.  And John has remarked that this area in Vista has been the prettiest site for us, in comparison to the other places in California where we have parked in previous years.  We have not had to walk or drive any distance before seeing hills or canyons.
This picture was taken up the hill from where we are parked.  The owner of the house on the left took advantage of the scenery by constructing a patio on top of his garage.
John is pictured above working with children and another volunteer at Operation Hope, a homeless shelter in Vista.  There have been no community activities in the place where we have been parked (as we had experienced last year in Texas), so it has been great to be able to put in a couple of shifts a week with this center.  The shelter has 12 rooms for families or single women.  It has funding only to be open from December through March, and hopefully by the end of that time the residents have found housing and jobs.  There are social workers at the shelter who are available to assist them in that regard.  John and I have enjoyed working there and becoming acquainted with both the staff and the residents.  Almost half of the residents are young children and teens, and that brings me to another subject which I feel is important to mention here.
This past Sunday John and I attended a human trafficking workshop.  A brief talk was first given  regarding human slavery world wide, and it was noted that there are 27 million slaves in the world today.  The other  speakers were a detective from San Diego and a social worker who works primarily in north San Diego County.  San Diego is one of 13 United States cities which has a highest incidence of child prostitution.  Quite often the children caught up in this slavery are "throw away children", children who have no record  of being reported missing.  They make be foster children or children coming from homes where they have been abused.  The youngest one found by police was 11 years of age, she had been transported here from the east coast.  Once picked up by a prostitution ring, or street gangs, they become slaves and are dehumanized.  Some have a bar code tattooed on their arms.  They may turn an average of 25 tricks an evening, at $100.00 for each one.  So, as you may see, there is big money in this business.  Crystal Anthony, the social worker who spoke in the workshop,  becomes involved with these victims when they are picked up by the police.  The foundation which employs her (Lifeline) provides her with the funds to help the individuals gain a life of freedom with no exploitation.   They are viewed by the police as victims, not prostitutes.  Anthony ask those of us at the workshop to get the word out to at least five people regarding this story of human trafficking in the United States.  Hence I decided to include that topic in my last posting from California.  Young children and women who accept gifts from strangers need to be made aware of the fact that those gifts may have a horrific price tag attached to them.

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