SAN DIEGO, C.A., August 25, 2020 – On August 20, 2020, NBC San Diego debuted “STOLEN,” an expansive documentary series about the sex trafficking and exploitation of children in San Diego County.
Told from the perspective of survivors, advocates — even pimps, and sex buyers, “STOLEN” also celebrates the strength of survivors and their families, as they struggle to break the bonds of sex trafficking. The seven-episode documentary is the product of a year-long investigation by NBC San Diego Anchor/Reporter Monica Dean and Executive Investigative Producer Tom Jones.
“STOLEN” details how Dean and Jones uncovered previously sealed jailhouse recordings of a trafficker manipulating two teen girls into selling themselves online. The recordings led to an investigation of how a wealthy San Diego businessman received immunity from San Diego County prosecutors, despite his admission that he had paid teenage girls for sex.
The case highlights gaps in the state justice system. Among the problems: the reality that sex buyers are rarely arrested and charged for their crimes, and when they are, they typically receive only a misdemeanor citation that can be disposed of by paying a small fine.
“The way the law works in California, a person can buy sex with a minor, say they didn’t realize they were under the age of 18, and walk away with little punishment,” Jones said.
In addition, Dean and Jones report for the first time evidence of child sex trafficking occurring at nearly every school district in San Diego County, and how thousands of teenagers are vulnerable to exploiters through their social media profiles. “STOLEN” explains why the illicit child sex market thrives in San Diego County, and across the United States, despite the heroic efforts of survivors, their families, and advocates to break that destructive cycle and reclaim their stolen lives.
“I’m a journalist but I’m also a mother,” said NBC San Diego Anchor Monica Dean. “It was our mission to help people understand these young victims could be your child, sister, neighbor, or friend. The desire for love, validation, and acceptance is often what makes someone vulnerable to exploitation. But there is hope and there are solutions.”
“STOLEN” includes exclusive interviews with young women and men who were sexually exploited in San Diego County. Throughout the ground-breaking documentary, survivors share their personal stories and reveal the risk factors and warning signs every parent should know.
“In the #MeToo era, there’s an opportunity for a real conversation about the dangers of these kinds of exploitative relationships that often draw teen girls and boys into sex trafficking,” Dean said.
“STOLEN” is streaming now at www.nbc7.com/STOLEN
The documentary is accompanied by a multimedia platform of content and a companion podcast series that showcases the findings of the year-long investigation.
“It is a difficult and uncomfortable topic but a must-see for parents, educators, youth groups, and community leaders,” said Dean. “Experts say young people’s lives are at stake. In this digital age, they are more vulnerable than ever.”
Tom Jones, Executive Producer
NBC San Diego
(619) 618-9243 Cell Phone
“It is a difficult and uncomfortable topic but a must-see for parents, educators, youth groups, and community leaders. Experts say young people’s lives are at stake. In this digital age, they are more vulnerable than ever.” –Monica Dean
Club Installs Incoming Board at Outdoor Brunch
On Saturday, June 27 we held our 2020-2021 “Free to Sparkle” patriotically themed Installation of officers in Sherry’s backyard, which was perfect because there was lots of space to social distance. Kudos to Sherry Luz, Jennifer Luz-Olson, Lani Beltrano and Karen Del Bene and everyone else who helped make it possible. The food and decorations were superb. We all liked Dyana Preti’s “Five Affirmations for Soroptimists” so much that we are reprinting them below:
Five Affirmations for Soroptimists by Dyana Preti
- We are AMAZING! We do more, think more, say more, feel more, love more and we act on it.
- We can do ANYTHING! We have strong values about the role and rights of women and girls in this world. We have causes and projects that we champion with courage, compassion and conviction.
- We make the choice to be POSITIVE! Adversity is no match for us. Our hearts are big and we make a positive difference in this troubled world.
Each of us is a UNIQUE individual! Each brings her own personal skills, time and talents to our club and gives of herself in her own unique way. Each of us is valuable, needed and appreciated by her sisters here.
- We are EMPOWERED! Because of everything we are, everything we bring to this club, we are empowered and we empower each other as well. You’ve heard the saying, “As an individual you are but one drop of water.” But as Soroptimists working together we are a global ocean reaching out to women and girls on every continent. Our teamwork makes the dream work!
Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland
President: Assly Sayyar
President Elect: Cherie Wilson
Secretary: Kaye Van Nevel
Treasurer: Pat Origlieri
Assistant Treasurer: Aleta Dirdo
1. Membership: Lani Beltrano & Karen Del Bene
2. Programs: Elizabeth Freed
3. Fundraising: Runa Gunnars
4. Public Awareness: Jackie Huyck
President of the Club President: Assly Sayyar
2 year Delegate: Sherry Luz
2 year Alternate: Jennifer Luz-Olson
1 year Delegate: Nelly Jarrous
1 year Alternate: Runa Gunnars
FROM TOP: Jaimee Johnson, Rochelle Orozco Vargas, Guadalupe Martinez and Xochitl Dybbro are just four of the six deserving women who received this year’s Live Your Dream Award and check via mail — we hope to celebrate with them some time in the future, when it is safe to do so!
President’s Message May 2020
by Assly Sayyar, President, SI Vista NCI
Soroptimists Don’t Quit
It is our club’s tradition to celebrate our educational awardees every year with a big party. In past years there have been luncheons and dinners to give out thousands of dollars in Live Your Dream awards.
This year our club gave out awards totaling $18,000 to SIX amazing women. We would have loved to celebrate with them, meet their families and loved ones and recognize them publicly but we could not do that this year. Still, awards were mailed out and that money is making a difference in the lives of those women as they further their education and make their dreams reality.
It is also an annual event for our club to join with other Soroptimist Clubs in our Desert Coast Region and attend the DCR Spring Conference. At Spring Conference all the clubs in our region meet, share ideas, remember those who have passed away, learn of how to better our clubs and our projects, and gain a greater understanding of what our federation is doing to invest in the dreams of women and girls across the globe.
We also meet the women from other clubs who have advanced to receive additional educational grants from the Live Your Dream Award program.
|Thoralinda Soyland will be sworn in as Region Governor at Conference, which has been postponed to October 2020.|
This year we were especially looking forward to our very own Thora Soyland being sworn in as our Regional Governor. Sadly, the event has been postponed to October, 2020. But that does not mean we are cut off from our Region and our sister clubs. We stay in contact and in touch with their leadership and take part in creative fundraising that benefits all of our clubs and the women and girls in the Desert Coast Region.
This pandemic may change the way we do things but it won’t change what we do and what we are committed to: Investing in the dreams of women and girls.
Every two years, all clubs from the entire Soroptimist of the Americas (“SIA”) meet. Clubs from Asia, North America, and South America that are part of our federation were planning to meet in Washington State in July, 2020. During these bi-annual conventions, friendships are formed across borders and languages and cultures. Members meet with a common purpose. That event has been cancelled.
While we are not going to meet in person this year, we are still connected to those clubs and to our Federation. SIA remains in touch with us all, providing information and resources to help clubs working towards the mission during these very strange times.
So no, things are not the same. Plans have been disrupted. Parties and travel plans have been cancelled or postponed.
But we as a club and as Soroptimist members are more than the events we plan or the meetings we hold. We are part of every Live Your Dream recipient who receives a check from monies that we helped raise.
We play a part when every young girl thinks about her future and sets goals and dreams big while studying at home after taking part in our Dream It Be It program.
We are part of the solution when governments and communities build awareness and work to stop violence against women, domestic violence, and human trafficking. We continue to work towards our mission.
This pandemic may change the way we do things but it won’t change what we do and what we are committed to: Investing in the dreams of women and girls.
So, as we head into May and June, 2020, I invite you all as members and as our community partners to keep visiting our club’s website and reading our monthly newsletter to remember and keep in mind our mission.
Just like our Live Your Dream recipients, Soroptimists don’t quit.
MARCH 15, 2020–In response to community concerns and to support current California policies, we are POSTPONING our April 3rd Live Your Dream Awards Gala to a later date, to be determined. Please check back, more information is forthcoming. We will be contacting current ticket holders. Thank you for your understanding.
Our QuarterMania Fundraiser, originally scheduled for Sunday, September 27, 2020 has been POSTPONED due to Covid 19 concerns.
We hope to hold it at a future date to be determined. STAY TUNED! Those who attended last November’s Quartermania (see slide show below) had a great time! Check it out!
Guest Speaker at the March 5 North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative was Kathleen Thomas of North County Lifeline. As Clinical Training Coordinator for North County Lifeline’s Project LIFE, Kathleen provides trauma-reprocessing, intensive case management, victim advocacy, and psychotherapy to individuals who have experienced exploitation and trafficking in San Diego County.
Her presentation centered on two successful therapy modalities which are used to assist the clients at Project LIFE (Living in Freedom from sexual Exploitation). Both focus on the importance of recognizing the body’s sense of well-being and to learn how to reset the nervous system in response to trauma, large or small. The first, Trauma Resilience Model (TRM) uses 9 specific techniques and helps victims of major trauma, like sex trafficking, severe injury and PTSD. The second, Community Resilience Model (CRM)uses 6 of the techniques which apply to personal and relational situations for all of us. Both recognize the importance of recognizing triggers which always affect neuro-physical manifestations, and employs resilience to “get back in the zone.”
LUNAFEST: (Short) Films made by and for Women: Sunday, March 8, 2020 1:30 p.m.
Dove Library 1775 Dove Lane, Carlsbad, CA 92011
St. Thomas More and St. Francis parishes are hosting a meeting with Vista Council Member Corinna Contreras to discuss: 1) the cost of housing, and 2) the creation of a clean energy-focused non-profit electricity provider that would give Vista and Oceanside residents, businesses, and schools a choice rather than the current SDG&E monopoly. It will be on March 11th from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at St. Francis. All parishioners are invited. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Soroptimist LIVE YOUR DREAM AWARDS GALA: Education and Training Awards for Women: April 3, 5-8:30 p.m.
Shadowridge Golf Club, 1980 Gateway Drive, Vista Tickets: $50: RSVP March 26: Kaye Van Nevel
Three District Parent Night, Thursday, April 16th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Vista High School:
Human Trafficking Curriculum in our Schools: Coordinated by Michelle Walsh
Documentary Screening: Shattered Dreams: Sex Trafficking In America: Tuesday, April 28, 5:30-7:30
Dove Library Carlsbad, 1775 Dove Lane: Sponsored by: Soroptimist International Oceanside and Carlsbad
NEXT MEETING is May 7. Guest speaker tbd
Collaborative meetings are held every other month on the first Thursday of the month in United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall. All are welcome and there is no charge. Coffee, water and pastries are provided. Join us and find out what YOU can do to help fight Human Trafficking in our area!
“The best mead and cider this side of Valhalla!”
|It was unanimous! We had a great time playing games and socializing at the February 20 Evening Program meeting, which was a “Game Night” at Twisted Horn Mead & Cider in Vista. We had four non-member guests joining us, and one of them is going to become a member and another signed on as a Distinguished Soroptimist Sponsor! Twisted Horn & Mead is one of our Distinguished Soroptimist Sponsors so we love to frequent their establishment. If you haven’t checked out their tasting room yet, it is at 1042 La Mirada Court in Vista, open on Wednesday through Sunday in the afternoon (twistedhornmead.com). They had a food truck outside (Grumpy Bear BBQ) serving great barbecue, so we didn’t go hungry either!|
Soroptimist’s 14th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Walk on Saturday, January 11, 2020, sponsored by Tri-City Medical Center and hosted by the Vista Library, saw a record turnout of over 220 people and glorious weather. Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland and Soroptimist International of Oceanside-Carlsbad partnered to promote the event under the leadership of Kaye Van Nevel (SI Vista-NCI) and Terry Haskins (SI Oceanside-Carlsbad). After brief introductions by Van Nevel inside the Library’s Community Room, walkers equipped with “Honk to STOP Trafficking” signs walked through downtown Vista and back to the Library’s Community Room, where they heard guest speakers Don Stump of North County Lifeline, Jaimee Johnson of Sisters of the Street, and Michelle Walsh from the Vista Unified School District.
Information tables from other organizations fighting human trafficking included Operation Hope (homeless shelter), Alabaster Jar, YMCA’s Homeless Youth Outreach, and others.
THANK YOU to Tri-City Medical Center for sponsoring this year’s event! And thanks to the City of Vista and the Vista Library for providing the space!
November 24, 2019–Tables were full for Soroptimist’s Quartermania! Fundraiser held on Saturday, November 24 at the Vista Optimist Club. The $25 per plate fundraiser was a joint effort of the Soroptimist of Vista and North County Inland and Soroptimist Oceanside-Carlsbad. Pat Origlieri chaired the event. Lunch, beverages and dessert were provided by the Optimist Club members and each guest got a bidding paddle with a numbered chip. A great time was had by all. In addition to bidding on the items put up for auction, guests were able to browse and buy from the various vendor tables, which included:
Nice & Bella Jewelry, Pampered Chef, Party Lite Candles, Home Décor, Tastefully Simple, Tupperware
Baked Goods, Scentsy and Simply Scarves
Proceeds will go to support women and girls education and empowerment and trafficking awareness.
By Assly Sayyar, SI Vista NCI President 2019-2020
Our program speaker in January (a lunch meeting at Wildwood Crossing) is tentatively scheduled to be industry expert in corporate leadership, international speaker and author Sylvia Becker-Hill. She was originally scheduled to speak in September but a death in her family forced her to reschedule
Sylvia has worked for over 20 years in business as a corporate change agent, leadership trainer and c-suite executive coach with Fortune 500 clients around the world. She is also the creator of the Becker-Hill Women’s Empowerment School, a real world and online school that helps women unlearn the patriarchal “Super Woman” rules that have been strangling our true success and show us how to master all areas of our lives by simply being–women.
Sylvia will be speaking to us on how to grow our membership by helping us overcome our own resistance when we have trouble meeting new people and making new connections.
Meeting Location and Time: Wildwood Crossing, 116 Civic Center Drive, Vista, 12 noon.