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La Palma-Cerritos AAUW Hosts the ZOE Organization That Fights Human Trafficking

Pictured at the January 15, 2015 meeting of the La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the AAUW are left to right, Co-Program VP Nancy Kawamura, guest speaker Vickie McCoy, and 	President Barbara Atherton.  McCoy is General Manager of Aftercare-Los Angeles for 	ZOE Children’s Homes. Photo by Edna Ethington

Pictured at the January 15, 2015 meeting of the La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the AAUW are left to right, Co-Program VP Nancy Kawamura, guest speaker Vickie McCoy, and President Barbara Atherton. McCoy is General Manager of Aftercare-Los Angeles for ZOE Children’s Homes. Photo by Edna Ethington

By Edna Ethington

Members of the La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) learned about how ZOE works to stop Human Trafficking in Thailand and in Los Angeles County at their January 15, 2015 meeting at the Cerritos Library.  Guest speaker Vickie McCoy, General Manager of Aftercare-Los Angeles for ZOE International, explained that “ZOE” is a Greek word for “Life,” and ZOE Children’s Homes exists to end the human trafficking of children globally and give them a chance for a new life.

ZOE is an international Christian organization that rescues and cares for orphans in danger and children who have been sold or at risk of being sold into human trafficking—worldwide.  McCoy first showed a video of how a ZOE Rescue Team rescued orphan children and other children who were at high risk of being sold into sex slavery in Thailand.  They then provided the children with safe and loving homes.

In Thailand, ZOE has built a home for children and ZOE’s Rescue Teams collaborated with governmental and non-governmental agencies to prevent and intervene to stop child trafficking and provide aftercare for rescued children.  ZOE Homes cares for children from age 0 to 17 years of age.  They also provide continued support and care for ZOE children 18 years and older as they pursue higher education.

McCoy said that human trafficking also exists in Los Angeles County. She said that since January of 2013, over 300 children were rescued by Los Angeles and Antelope Valley Task Forces, and there are currently 69 children that have been identified in Los Angeles County as CSEC (Commercially Sexually Exploited Children).

McCoy then said that everyone should be aware of signs of potential human trafficking in their own cities and know who they can contact for help.  Some signs are running away from home, making frequent trips to other cities, having a boyfriend noticeably older, showing signs of drug addiction or abuse, changing in dress or behavior, having expensive gifts of shoes or other things.

If any of these signs of human trafficking are seen, McCoy urged people to contact the National Human Trafficking Hot Line at 1-888-373-7888 or call their local police department.  For more information about ZOE and their fight to end child trafficking, you can visit www.gozoe.org.

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