Churches

Post image for Survivor Carissa Phelps is one of the featured speakers at Trinity Church program on human trafficking

When she was 12 years old, Carissa Phelps was trafficked. She tells that story in her book Runaway Girl. Today, armed with a PhD and MBA from UCLA, she works to provide career development and employment opportunities for runaways and former runaways through the organization of the same name.

On November 1st,  she will bring her story to raise awareness — and, she hopes, prompt action — to a morning conference at Trinity Church entitled Hearts For Justice: Coming Together to Confront Violence Against Womenwhich is free and open to the public.

“It is much easier to criminalize the behavior than to deal with the more difficult issue — that we’ve made it okay to purchase sex with children,” she said in a telephone interview. “If we do nothing, it’s accepting the status quo. Once we realize there is an actual impact in our community, we can start down the path. It’s a difficult road, but it’s very inspiring when you realize there are solutions.”

The California Legislature defined human trafficking as “all acts involved in the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer, sale or receipt of persons, within national or across international borders, through force, coercion, fraud or deception, to place persons in situations of slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services, such as forced prostitution or sexual services, domestic servitude, bonded sweatshop labor, or other debt bondage.”

“I think people know it’s happening in communities like Menlo Park,” said Carissa. “Wherever there is money, there is demand.

“But it’s not just the money, it’s the fact that there is an international workforce [in the Bay Area] that may not understand that it’s not okay to purchase sex with a child.”

In the years since she formed Runaway Girl, Carissa has seen progress. “Awareness has increased. When a runaway is picked up in the middle of the night or on the weekend, we need to respond as professionals. We need to work to get people where they are needed to be with the victims as soon as possible.

“We’re working to train people to be more skilled in how they respond to survivors of both sex and labor trafficking.

“Each one of us can make an impact, no matter what skill set a person brings. If a person has a heart for this issue, they can make a difference. That’s the message we want to underscore at the Trinity event.”

Hearts for Justice will take place from 10:00 am to noon on the Trinity campus at 330 Ravenswood in Menlo Park. Also speaking will be David Batstone, co-founder and president of the global abolitionist organization, Not for Sale, and The Rev. Becca Stevens, the founder of Magdalene, residential communities of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction and also Thistle Farms, a social enterprise that is run by the women of Magdalene.

The morning will also feature a Shared Trade Marketplace of global handmade and quality home and body products from Shared Trade: A Fair Share for Women. Local Bay Area organizations that work in prevention and with survivors will  be on site so that attendees can all learn more about local efforts to fight trafficking.

The program is in partnership with Kepler’s which will have representatives on hand with the presenters’ books. Space is limited, registration is available online.

Photo courtesy of Carissa Phelps

{ Be the first to comment }

St. Bede’s Church presents Albany Consort’s Big Band Bash on Oct. 19

Thumbnail image for St. Bede’s Church presents Albany Consort’s Big Band Bash on Oct. 19

This fall marks 40 years of continuous music making for the Albany Consort. St. Bede’s Episcopal Church celebrates with a big band program involving 30 musicians, which include singers, a chorus, and an orchestra with recorders, flutes, oboes, trumpets, timpani and strings. Selections include Vivaldi’s Autumn, a Bach Birthday Cantata, and a Bach Harpsichord Concerto. The concert […]

Click to read more →

Trinity Church members pedal bike ambulance on Peninsula to raise awareness about GAIA

Thumbnail image for Trinity Church members pedal bike ambulance on Peninsula to raise awareness about GAIA

Trinity Church members Steve Andrew (center), Kathy Engelmann (right) and Katie Behroozi could be spotted around the mid-Peninsula today as they took turns pedaling a GAIA bike ambulance, a replica of similar bikes used every day in rural Africa to transport critically ill patients across dirt roads to the nearest clinic or hospital. Their goal was to […]

Click to read more →

Summer adventure: Walking the Camino de Santiago with Trinity Church group

Thumbnail image for Summer adventure: Walking the Camino de Santiago with Trinity Church group

In the post and photos below, M-A grad Annalise Deal, who heads for Boston College this fall, talks about her summer experience walking the Camino de Santiago. We’d like to hear how other Menlo Park and Atherton residents spent their summer vacation. Send stories/photos to tips@inmenlo.com. “The Camino has been a gift, pay it forward.” I read […]

Click to read more →

Spotted: Beautiful rose in the garden at Trinity Church in Menlo Park

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Beautiful rose in the garden at Trinity Church in Menlo Park

We guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the well-tended rose garden at Trinity Church in Menlo Park would yield such a beautiful rose. But we think photographer Gillian Bostock captured it perfectly.

Click to read more →

Charity rummage sale at St. Bede’s in Menlo Park on June 28 will benefit GAIA

Thumbnail image for Charity rummage sale at St. Bede’s in Menlo Park on June 28 will benefit GAIA

St. Bede’s semi-annual rummage sale offers clothes, shoes, books, CDs, household items, toys, knickknacks, craft items and more — you never know what treasures you’ll find — plus free refreshments. The church promises prices that are famously low and friendly volunteers to help you find what you are looking for. The sale takes place in Lehman Hall, the […]

Click to read more →

Barbara Wilcox hopes to go on MPPC mission trip using unique fundraising approach

Thumbnail image for Barbara Wilcox hopes to go on MPPC mission trip using unique fundraising approach

Barbara Wilcox is a relatively new resident of Menlo Park, but the street she lives on has historical roots. It was once the site of Camp Fremont’s bakery. Barbara knows little nuggets of facts like this because the World War I training camp is the subject of her Master’s thesis at Stanford. A former journalist, […]

Click to read more →

Trinity Church kids put Easter baskets together for shelter kids

Thumbnail image for Trinity Church kids put Easter baskets together for shelter kids

Parishioner Holly Tambling orchestrated another beautiful building of Easter baskets at Trinity Church this morning. About 300 baskets with books,  stuffed animals, toys, candy and more were built and will beBe delivered to local shelters.

Click to read more →

Broader community invited to participate in MPPC’s Compassion Weekend – March 29-30

Thumbnail image for Broader community invited to participate in MPPC’s Compassion Weekend – March 29-30

With the goal of making service simple, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and its Open Door Church campuses invite the public to join in serving on 33 projects on Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30 — its ninth annual Compassion Weekend. This year, there are opportunities for 4,500 volunteers to participate. To sign up, visit http://cw2014.org. […]

Click to read more →

Photographer Scott R. Kline goes annually on a mission trip to Juarez, a time that stays with him heart and mind

Thumbnail image for Photographer Scott R. Kline goes annually on a mission trip to Juarez, a time that stays with him heart and mind

“You are going to Juarez? Why? Isn’t it dangerous?” This is a typical response every year when we prepare to head to Ciudad Juarez Mexico to build houses, treat sick people, and work with our sponsored students. I can’t really blame people. One doesn’t hear much positive about Juarez. But it is a great experience […]

Click to read more →

As practitioner and church leader, Elizabeth Schwartz anchors her life through Christian Science

Thumbnail image for As practitioner and church leader, Elizabeth Schwartz anchors her life through Christian Science

Vocation and avocation converge in the life of Menlo Park resident Elizabeth Schwartz in her dual roles as Christian Science practitioner and First Reader at her local church. While she was raised a Christian Scientist, she acknowledges that she “made my faith my own while in college.” “It was then that I recognized that it […]

Click to read more →