SW MI Human Trafficking Task Force Year End Wrap Up 2015

Highlights of 2015: (It was a very good year)


We became a non-profit with articles of corporation, charitable solicitation license, and recognized by the state as a 501(c)3 with our own EIN# Thanks to
Score, Jeanne and Jennifer.

: Held a community event with survivors, community resources, warning signs, and free trade vendors with over +100 in attendance.

Survivor Tour:
Co-Hosted with Sen. Emmons, the Survivor Forum Tour, held in Van Buren. Survivors/authors shared their real life stories.

Law Enforcement Training:
Held in Van Buren and trained 30 more LE/Victim Service Providers. Co-sponsored by WGVU, ITVS, Planting Hope, MHTTF, and us.

Patty and family received the MHTTF first annual award at the state’s meeting. Well deserved. The award is named in honor of their efforts, THE PLANTING
HOPE AWARD. Also, Planting Hope held a fundraising event at Fernwood and Vites Nursery.

Warning Signs:
Warning signs for law enforcement, hospitality, schools, healthcare, & general public were developed and disseminated at many events and online. Thanks
to Teresa for all her hard work on these and to Maria for transcribing in Spanish.

Banner Program/Retractable Banner
: Cont. to place our banner around town. It was evident during the Blossomtime Parade, the 4th of July Motocross, the Holidays, and other high
traffic(k) periods. Thank you to all the businesses/churches that participated. Due to a generous grant from Saron Lutheran, we were able to purchase a
retractable banner that is useful in presentations.

Webpage launched:
Woohoo. Thank you, Sheila.

Bravelet Page
: Officially launched our own Bravelet page. We receive $10.00 from every Bravelet bracelet purchased under our link.

: In conjunction with the MI Women’s Commission, I presented information to the MI Lodging and Tourism Association about SAP, which is a specialized
hospitality training program to help staff properly recognize warning signs and report potential sex & labor trafficking. They unanimously accepted our
proposal to train Michigan properties using this program. Berrien was the pilot program.

Shine A Light 5K Glow Walk/Run:
Successfully held our first 5K teaming with SWMIRacers. Held at Harbor Shores & netting a profit of over 2900. Glow in the dark shoelaces were provided
instead of T’s and a big hit.

Jacqueline Baerwald, one of our task force members had a HT and youth display at Artprize in Grand Rapids and gained much exposure.

Bank Acct:
Due to the fact that we finally have some money and we are a non-profit, we opened an account. It is at Honor Credit Union.

: Voted to launch a new program and deposited a small amount in a savings account in case a victim/survivor comes forth and would like to have the
dehumanizing brandings/tats redone or removed.

We had an interactive map designed that includes the logos of other task forces from around the state. By clicking on their logo, it will take you to their
website if they have one. No one else had done this yet.

We have connected with Amazon & their A.S. program. For every purchase someone makes on Amazon Smile (which is free and adds no additional cost to your
purchase) under our SWMI HUMAN TRAFFICKING TASK FORCE name, we will receive .5% back. This is private and we do not see your purchases. Please sign up.

: Victim Service Training in Kalamazoo, LE Training, State Conf. on HT, Healthcare Seminars, etc.

Presentations Included
: Michigan Health Coordinator, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Homeless Connect, numerous clubs, numerous churches, State of Michigan Special Populations Conf,
Saugatuck High School, MI Women’s Commission and more.

: Cont. our participation in Diva Days with trade free chocolate from Bound for Freedom along with a card from our task force. This is for awareness.

Increased our online presence by over 400 likes, but substantially more views/reaches. Up to 10,000 per week. That’s great exposure to the truth of HT.

Have a link on our webpage for people to donate directly to us.

: Thanks to Debopama, we now have a blog.

Jar Collection:
We placed jars around town and at our event to raise funds. Simple/low tech way to raise funds/awareness.

Last but certainly not least: VICTIM/SURVIVOR CONTACT:

We received contacts via email, text, phone calls or Facebook almost monthly by a trafficked victim, survivor, or concerned citizen seeking our help. This
was a totally new area for us. In all cases we were able to provide additional information, not that they always took it.

I wish to thank all of the task force members for making this a fabulous year and for all of the support. I apologize if I have omitted an activity. It’s
been a busy year.

Respectfully submitted,

Cathy Knauf, Founder

SW MI Human Trafficking Task Force Year End Wrap Up 2014

Highlights of 2014:

Our SW MI HT Bill Board on I-94

This billboard was viewed by heavily traveled I_94 Eastbound traffic. No telling how far reaching and long lasting this message was received. The billboard was up for over 5 months. Thank you to CBS Outdoor Signs.

Legislative support

We actively supported in Lansing and throughout the year, the passing of the 21 bills on human trafficking, of which 18 have become effective this past week. Having non-partisan support of the bills from a regional task force was recognized & sought. Michigan had one of the worst records on file to one of the best for laws for victims and their rights. Still not perfect by any means, but it’s a far cry better than a year ago. Our own Sen. John Proos was instrumental in 3 of those laws.

Box Factory for the Arts:

Jacqueline Baerwald presented her MELONDY adolescence art series, which touched on human trafficking and incorporated a HT awareness night, during the month and ½ long show.
Emphathize pilot program in the schools. We were part of the national program out of Denver being piloted thru December. St. Joseph High School, The Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor and The Bridge Academy powered by Kinexus. Nationally normed statistical data will be sent to us in the near future.

Health Care Emphasis Training:

We partnered with Mi. Women’s Commission and Mary Whiteford and Genesee Co. to bring top notch HT health care training all across the state. Additionally, we provided online courses on our Facebook page. Developed a plan to bring Dr. Jordan Greenbaum to Michigan for major training in 2015.


Partnering with WGVU and a few others from this side of the state, we applied and received a grant through ITVS to support community screening of the documentary A Path Appears, which uncovers the adversities faced every day by millions of women and girls, while also presenting glimmers of hope and change.


To date, partnering with Planting Hope, we have provided all the funds for ALL the law enforcement HT training in the state of Michigan. Approx. 25% of the law enforcement has been trained thus far.

Diva Days

Provided trade free chocolate and our logo with the saying “A trafficked victim never gets the chance to be a Diva.

Partnering with local stores:

Bound for Freedom and Perennial Accents. Bound for Freedom actually sells our Bravelets and Glow bracelets and Perennial Accents donates 3% of sales requested to SWMHTTF. These funds have contributed to ensure local law enforcement receive FREE HT training.
Glow Bracelet Sales: Over $1000.00 in sales raised from the initial sales that both St. Joseph and Lakeshore Key Clubs help sell at the rival football game. Again, a portion of this money went to fund law enforcement training. A surplus of glow bracelets is left for a future sale.

Hospitality Training

of the SW MI Tourist Council and the Shoreline Hotel/Motel Association just prior to the SPGA to share Red Flags of the Hospitality Industry.

Banner Share Program

We added 2 additional banners to our task force this year and began the banner share program where every few weeks we move the banner to another location. So far it has been at Saron Lutheran Church, the Pilgrim Church, The Renaissance Athletic Center, and is due to go to the Niles Library & Bound for Freedom in the immediate future.

Tuition Free College Program:

Dialog has occurred with a local college about survivors receiving free tuition. This would be a first in the state, possibly nation. This dialog will continue into 2015.


From lonely beginnings we have managed to hit the 400 mark. Which may not sound that impressive, but the fact that this last week we reached over 2,500 people is great. If you haven’t, please “Like US”, at: SW Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force

Hot Spot Map:

A map of “Hotspots of Potential Trafficking” was developed for our 3 counties. It included massage parlors, casinos, truck stops and rest stops, all of which have the potential for a higher incidence of trafficking to occur.

Presentations to various groups

to raise awareness and education continued all year and included the Special Populations Conference for the Mi. Dept. of Education.

Media Coverage:

To our goal of raising awareness and education, we were able to get coverage through print, internet, billboard, radio and T.V. in 2014.

Web page:

Actual headway was made on this and through Don Ricker’s help, students from SW MI College are developing it.

501(c)3 status:

Paper work is nearly completed for this.

Official Mailbox:

Just recently, we rented BOX 404 at the ST. Joseph Post Office.


$600.00 to the Mi. State Human Trafficking Task Force for law enforcement training which will take place later this month.

Camp 911:

Coordinated with St. Joseph Public Safety to work with 4th & 5th graders on “walking away” from anyone who made them feel uncomfortable & did this thru a craft project.
Reconfirmed our goal was to educate and bring awareness and agreed to stick with the name.

Held regular meetings

Not bad for just 2 years old & on a budget of 0. Thank you all for your support and efforts in helping to make this task force, one of just six in the state. Other areas, including Lansing and Grand Rapids, have sought our advice in developing their task force, because ours now, has a reputation of getting things done.