Search & Rescue: How Saving Innocence Advocates are Answering the Call
When we meet with clients, one of the first things we do is ask them to memorize our advocate's phone number. If they have it memorized, they can contact us when they need to.
On an early morning, one of our advocates got a panicked phone call from a client who was trapped in a motel room in south central Los Angeles. She didn’t know where she was, nor did she know the man who had brought her there. She was scared and asking for help.
Our advocate asked the client several identifying questions regarding her location, while simultaneously calling 911 and our law enforcement partners (LASD) on her personal cell phone. She couldn’t tell us where she was, but was able to tell the advocate what she saw out of her window.
Several times she would hang up, as the trafficker would return to the room and force her to go out on the street and work. She would call in between stints on the street, each time the advocate would try to gather more information to give to local law enforcement.
They were able to use her phone to ping her location, but by the time they were able to get the specific address, the trafficker had moved her. By 10 A.M., our advocate was in their headquarters helping law enforcement maintain contact with her to be able to recover her.
She was recovered at 3 P.M. at a nearby mall, where the trafficker was buying her ice cream and new clothes. When she arrived at the Sheriff’s station, she burst into tears upon seeing her advocate, a familiar face that followed through on her middle of the night cry for help.
We took her in for a medical exam and brought her back to her foster home to sleep safely. It was because of the relationships that existed between the minor and her advocate, that the advocate and the law enforcement partners were able to act on the crisis call.
We are partnering with Saving Innocence to fund an expansion to their case management services. This expansion will allow them to meet the growing demand for front-line services to youth survivors. In cases like this one, immediate support is needed to ensure that survivors are not re-trafficked. Your support is building capacity for these services.