President David opened the meeting at 12:30 pm and led in the Pledge of Allegiance. 
 
In Stefan Alber’s Words of Inspiration, he shared the essence of the 2014 book, Why Science Does not Disprove God, by science writer and researcher Amir Aczel.   Drawing on a wide range of interviews with Nobel prize winners and prominent scientists as well as spiritual leaders, Aczel makes his point:  For all we know about the Big Bang and evolution, for example, we still cannot explain life, intelligence and consciousness, or perfection in the universe. Faith and religion, despite all the flaws, remains the source of comfort and refuge as we humans transit through life.
 
Secretary Mike Carmichael mentioned he will be traveling until the March 2 meeting and in the meantime Past Secretary Haleh Vaziri will be acting in his place.  He mentioned last week's birth of Renner Salas, grandson of Max Salas. Then Mike welcomed the following guests:
Visitor
Host or Rotary Affiliation
Work
Scott Pool
Bryon, Texas Club
International Development
Adrien Lopez
Federal City Club
 
Jay Vilar
Abe Helal
VP, Delucchi Plus
Alexandra Ayeni
Terrance Lovelady
Children Advocacy Watch
Cinthia Fontes
Clara Montanez
 
Derrick Robinson
Terrance Lovelady
Partner, PAX Consulting
Jessica Crawford
Dan Mullen
Social Media Consultant
Deborah Sigmund
Lisa McCurdy
Innocents at Risk
Pat Taylor
Marjorie Scott & Sharon Taylor
 
Janette Bristol
Liz Salett
 
Ann Sarkes
Liz Salett
FBI (ret)
Firas Nasr
Liz Salett
Human Trafficking Search
Evelyn Boyer
Liz Salett
OLP
 
Sergeant-at-Arms Ken Kimbrough then announced the birthdays of those Rotarians celebrating this week:
  • Sam Holt - January 18. Sponsored by the late Peter Gilsey, Sam joined Rotary in 1992. His classification is Consulting:  Communications/Media.
  • Jerry Kohlenberger - January 23. Sponsored by Thomas Parr in 2005, Jerry's classification is Private Equity.  Jerry spends part of the year in Nevada, where he's celebrating this year.
  • Mark Wilson - January 23. Sponsored by Ralph Hanan in 2006, Mark's classification is Agriculture: International Rural Development.
 
President David made a pitch for support of our fundraiser, DC Duck Race (name changed from Duck Derby).
 
Shaun English reminded members of the current fund drive for the Rotary Foundation of Washington—our own foundation, and focused on a major recipient of our funds, the Boys and Girls Clubs of DC.  He talked of the B&G Clubs’ history and growth in impact.
 
President David reminded members the Community Service Grant Applications are due January 31.  More information is available on our website.
 
PROGRAM
 
Clara Montanez introduced the subject of Human Trafficking and, in turn, introduced each of three speakers.  Each spoke for about ten minutes.
 
First was Barbara Amaya, author of Nobody’s Child: A Memoir of Lost Innocence, Modern Day Slavery and Transformation, a book about her life as a victim of sex trafficking.  She said she has learned she is more than just her story.  Born in Alexandria Hospital and living in Fairfax, Va, she ran away to DC from an abusive family at the age of 12.  The average age of a child recruited into domestic minor sex trafficking is 12-14. Traffickers prey on the vulnerable.   They know if they tell a young girl she is pretty, a stable one will say, “thank you.”  A vulnerable one will look down.  In DC a young woman took Barbara to her home and groomed her for sex work.  Barbara spent the next decade trafficking in New York.  She was arrested, although a minor, while the customer went free.  The criminal record still remains.  She had been conditioned and trained to tell a lot of lies, and had said she was 21, even though it was evident she was 15.   She was placed in Rikers Island Prison.  Her life during the whole decade in New York was “beyond violent.” 
 
A social worker in the criminal justice system took extra time with her and became her hero.  She got Barbara out of New York when she was 22 and found her sister for her, in Philadelphia.  Ingrained in her was the rule that she should not tell anyone about that whole period of her life.  It was hard to explain why she did not know anything about normal life, like how to open a bank account. Her health was bad, having had no health care. She had left school in the sixth grade.  She was back in part of her dysfunctional family in 2012 when she saw a program on Fox News with Detective Bill Wolfgate telling of arresting a gang that was recruiting minor girls into the sex trade, and explained the process of exploitation. For Barbara, this was the first time she had identified herself as a victim, and she knew she had to do something about it.  Her grown daughter had moved on.  Barbara wanted to go on the streets of DC and volunteer to work with victims and contacted groups.  They instead asked her to come speak to them. That led to her being on Fox News and writing her book, which just won an award, and writing a graphic novel.  She said when you see a young girl on the street or selling herself on-line, there is an adult behind that someplace.  She also spoke of the Safe Harbor program, getting youth from the criminal justice system into care.
 
The second speaker was Kay Chernush, a photographer who had been on a 2005 State Department assignment to take pictures of victims of human trafficking. Sex clubs in Thailand and Mumbai, workers in fish processing plants, agriculture, mining, elder care, etc. , including work in the U.S.   The whole industry shocked her and led her to use art, and to recruit others to use art, to call attention to the problem in a way that is not titillating or inviting judgment.  She is the founder and president of Art Works for Freedom [www.artworksforfreedom.org].  
 
Using a Power Point presentation, she combined the art—often with subtle, yet powerful images—and statistics.   The annual profit from buying and selling slaves in the world is $150 billion, with the average cost of a sale of a person being $90. There are 21 million people enslaved today, tricked into slavery, burdened by false debt.  For example, a Nigerian woman was told she was going to do babysitting in Italy.  She went through a voodoo ceremony to help seal the deal in her mind. It Italy there was no job; she was pushed into the sex trade and had to pay €300 for the space on a corner where she would stand to sell herself. Then she was told she had a € 50,000 debt for her travel and other services.  When she was behind in payments, goons went to her village in Ethiopia and broke her father’s legs.
 
Kay and the other artists she has partnered with try to use art (graphic, film, dance, etc.) to show to others what they need to see, to amplify the voices of survivors in telling their stories. 
 
The third speaker was Greg Bristol, a former FBI agent and trooper who was involved in investigating and prosecuting many high-profile criminals before he wound up dealing with human trafficking cases.  Even then, a high-profile case would cause him to be pulled off the trafficking work and no one else was covering it.  He was a participant in the 2012 instructional film, Not My Life and founded Bristol Public Safety Consultants, which is now the Human Trafficking Training Institute. 
 
When he talks with officers who are his students, he asks how many have investigated human trafficking cases, and hardly anyone answers.  Then he asks how many have arrested minors in the sex trade, and maybe 25% of the hands go up.  His goal is to make officers sensitive to what is going on.  He showed a short video of the wrong and right way to handle a traffic stop where there is reason to suspect trafficking of a minor.  He noted there are all these groups of citizens who have made a difference through MADD and DARE.  There now needs to be an equivalent for trafficking. And no other group has the potential of doing something than the 700,000 police officers in this country.
 
Q&A:  There was no time for Q&A’s
 
President David presented each speaker with a certificate noting that in appreciation of their speaking today, we would plant a tree in honor of each of them.
 
In the raffle, the small pot of $61 was won by John Davies; he did not win the large pot of $1,046.
 
President David thanked Stu Shalloway and Balraj Gupta for staffing the Hospitality Desk; Davis Kennedy for conducting the raffle; and Secretary Mike Carmichael for writing today’s Meeting in Review.  He announced next week’s speaker will be Bob Doubek, on “Creating the Vietnam Veterans Memorial: The Inside Story.”
 
The meeting adjourned at 1:29 pm.