Women Against Child Trafficking Darlene Tarnoski volunteers her service to youth in crisis ultimatley helping victims of child trafficking. Women Against Child Trafficking collects weekly donations to help youth shelters that house the young victims. She helps raise funds for Operation Safe House who shelter and feed rescued victims of human trafficking. WACT helps place victims in a safer environment and takes them out of harms way. On an on going basis they spread awareness speaking in front of the community -Female Networking Events, GFWC Menifee-Sun City Woman's Club, NAFE-National Association of Female Executives, Menifee Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Wildomar, Menifee Rotary, Soroptimist International Of The Americas Inc, Temecula and Lion's Clubs. WACT collaborates with the Sheriff's Department and FBI and is a committee member on RCAHT (Riverside County Against Human Trafficking). Human Trafficking is a modern form of slavery and needs more public awareness.
One Person Can Make A Difference. And now this Charity needs your help. By Robbie Motter
Did you know that per the US Department of Justice estimated that 14,500 to 17,500 children are trafficked every year? Human trafficking has grown from a $9 billion to a $33 billion a year industry. Riverside police Officer James Barrette said “It rivals drug and arms trafficking for the most profitable criminal enterprise”. If we can stop the people who are exploiting the children and raise awareness to young teens, we can make a big difference. The average age of a victim is 12-14 years old. Human trafficking is a growing problem in the Inland Empire. Young teens are being kidnapped weekly and then sold to human sex trafficking. The predators prey on teens on the internet, facebook and right outside of their school. They often prey upon children’s vulnerabilities.
One person can make a difference; Darlene Tarnoski in November 2010 was selling her jewelry and a local winery weekly craft fair when she met an FBI agent whose business was rescuing children. The agent described to Darlene how fatherly looking guys find young girls and offer them a place to stay giving the girls the impression that they would be safe. However, once in place, the girls would be sold for sex over and over again. The agent made rescuing those girls and getting them to a safe place his personal project.
As soon as Darlene heard there was little to no help for these young girls, she was filled with compassion. “What are your needs she asked?” His response was “they need dignity bags”. Darlene had no idea what he was talking about. The agent explained that when the children are found, they are taken to a hospital or safehouse. Everything they have or are wearing is taken for evidence at the FBI interrogation room. The dignity bags, are backpacks containing clothing, toiletries, water and snacks, help the rescued teens have something of their own as they move to the next place. Darlene immediately understood the need and decided if the FBI could not provide the dignity bags that she would find a way to do it.
Quickly Darlene was put in touch with Operation Safehouse a local 18 bed sanctuary for rescued girls who made available 7 beds for this project. Did you know that in the whole U.S. there are only 5 shelters for rescued child trafficking victims. There are none in this area other than Operation Safehouse who stepped to the plate seeing the need.
The scenario goes like this on a rescued victim: When the Sheriffs or FBI rescue a victim they call Darlene and request emergency shelter, and this could be at midnight which makes it too late to take to a shelter so this means that a temporary emergency shelter for the night is required, so is feeding them, providing them with a dignity bag until they can be placed.
The awareness on this project began with Darlene Networking and SHOWING UP everywhere to talk about what’s happening and what the needs were. She saw the need to also start a 501 c3 Women Against Child Trafficking which she has done, and now serves as the Program Director. She also started asking for donations of either money or supplies. She reached out for volunteers as she knew that more people helping her could spread the awareness quicker. She started speaking at groups and asking for help. Darlene and her volunteers assemble dignity bags and deliver them to the Safehouse. In addition to donations from others Darlene also began donating a portion of her jewelry sales to the charity. Some of the first heartfelt groups to step forward were the Murrieta For You/NAFE Network, the Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce, The GFWC Menifee Woman’s Club who has picked Women Against Child Trafficking as their Charity for this year, The Wildomar Rotary who is writing a grant for the project for her, La Cresta Neighborhood Watch, The Murrieta Lions Club and the Murrieta Rotary, as well as June Davidson of ASLA who donated funds for sweats, Robbie Motter, who showed Darlene how to get the information out and where to show up as well as helped to assemble volunteers. A big help also has been the local media who has helped to spread the word. Recently Boston Billie’s a restaurant in Menifee offered their banquet facility for Darlene to hold fundraising events the 2nd and 4th Friday nights of the month which she calls Karaoke and dancing night and two talented DJ’s generously offered their services Tom and Lindy of Abbondanza Entertainment Karaoke DJ.
If they rescue more than 5 youth victims in a night it is difficult to place them in a shelter immediately. What is much needed is a 72 hour emergency shelter until we can find placement for each child. What would be wonderful is if a major hotel chain would offer to donate a room for the first 48 hours until placement could be found.
Another great need of the shelter is for a Van to be able to take these youth to their doctors, counseling and court appointments, These two immediate needs are very important for Darlene to find and so she is reaching out to the community for help. In addition, there is always a need for food and teenager clothing. Call for drop off locations.
Go to www.WomenAgainstChildTrafficking.org where you will find a wish list of this 501 c3 non profit organization. Because of her hardwork Darlene already has received awards from the California US Senate and the California State Legislator, and the Victorious Woman Award. She serves also on the Riverside County Against Human Trafficking task force that was formed in March 2011. To Darlene it’s not about winning awards but in touching a life, something she does everyday.
What’s next: We need your help, either to contribute your time, or donate items that are listed on the wish list, make cash contributions which you can do right on the website. We are also in need of a used car or van to be donated. If you can help or want more information contact Darlene Tarnoski 951-440-6330 email firstname.lastname@example.org Darlene is also available to speak for groups relating to these topics to spread more awareness.