By Judy McCarty
The thought of having to protect your family’s sons and daughters from sex-trafficking gang members in your own local school can put shivers down your back.
Runaway and missing children are at serious risk of being sex-trafficked, often within 48 hours, and over-extended police officers can’t always find teens who have voluntarily left home. Fortunately, a nonprofit organization made up of volunteer former law enforcement officers and Navy SEALs helps fill the gap by assisting law enforcement and parents locate their missing and runaway children.
This organization is called Saved In America (SIA) and in the 36 months it has existed, they have saved 57 children at no cost to parents.
This dedicated organization of licensed, insured private investigators will be the lead presentation at the Feb. 13 meeting of Navajo Canyon Republican Women at The Brigantine restaurant in La Mesa. Our speakers will be Kirby Horrell, former SEAL and SIA investigator, and Joseph Travers, SIA executive director, who will tell us how they are working to fill the gap and the cost to do so.
Check-in time for the 11 a.m. meeting is 10:30 a.m. A full-course luncheon will be served at noon followed by the program. Cost of the luncheon is $25; reservations are required. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org (put “luncheon RSVP” in the subject line) or call 619-990-2791.
The FBI has identified San Diego as a top child prostitution area, and a 2016 study found that sex trafficking was this county’s second largest underground economy after drugs. The gangs and pimps reap about $810 million a year from the “services” of these young victims who are lured or recruited into the underground world of prostitution and pornography.
Social media and drugs are the lure, which is why cutting off the flow of drugs from across the border is so crucial. The San Diego District Attorney’s office estimates there are 2,500 runaway minors at any time in the county. One hundred percent of the San Diego County schools that were studied found that trafficking recruitment was occurring in their schools. Interim District Attorney Summer Stephan has initiated a new program of billboards around the county to warn of technology’s reach to young people.
Saved In America runs on donations to buy equipment, cover travel costs and licensing fees. If you’d like to learn more or contribute, visit their website at savedinamerica.org.
Our Republican state Senator Joel Anderson has once again made us very proud. He has been honored by the USS Midway Museum’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee with its 2018 Bridge Builder Award at its annual Martin Luther King Day luncheon.
As a state legislator, Anderson passed a resolution in 2012 to rename a portion of Interstate 15 the “Tuskegee Airmen Highway” to honor African-American pilots in World War II and authored successful legislation in 2017 to assist non-citizen service members on their path to citizenship.
We’ll be doing our annual treat for veterans, too. In February, for Valentine’s Day, we’ll be handing out our Hearts for Heroes cards to all wounded and recuperating vets in San Diego. We like to share our gratitude.
For more information on all our plans and programs, visit us at navajocanyonrwf.org and check us out on Facebook.
— Judy McCarty is publicity chair for the Navajo Canyon Republican Women, Federated. Reach her at email@example.com.