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RESIDENT Magazine F A I T H F U L LY S E R V I N G T H E W E S L E Y C H A P E L / N E W TA M PA C O M M U N I T Y • JANUARY 2017

COUPONS

INSIDE!

YOGA; A NEW

YEAR

INTENTION INTENTION

YOUR LOCAL EVENTS SOURCE SKIP THE DRIVE DOWN I-275 - CHECK OUT OUR

BIG LIST OF

EVENTS

LITTLE

ARTISTS

ART WORK

...all in town

Christa Hernandez

SURVIVED Human Trafficking ...and sets the record straight


New Year,

New You!

Weight Loss That Works Location: 2304 Crestover Lane

Wesley Chapel, Fl. 33544

H

ow many times in the past have you made a New Year's Resolution to lose weight? Millions of people resolve to lose weight in January only to either give up several weeks in because it's not working, or gain all the weight back after a few months. NutriMost is a revolutionary weight loss program that not only works, but the majority of our clients are able to keep the weight off long term.

Weight gain actually has very little to do with the amount of calories you consume. Yes, that is a factor of course, but much more important than calorie consumption is actually what you are eating. I see clients all the time who tell me they only eat around 1200 calories per day, but they keep gaining weight. That's because they are eating the wrong things and they have imbalances in their body that are causing them to be in fat storage mode instead of fat burning mode.

The NutriMost program uses a highly sophisticated computer to assess your body. The assessment determines what protocol you need to follow to put your body in to fat burning mode. Most diet programs use the same protocol for every client. This is rarely effective because what works for one person may not work for another, and it does not address the root cause of the weight issue. The computer assessment is looking for whatever is keeping you out of fat burning mode, such as toxicity, hormone imbalance, thyroid imbalance, adrenal fatigue, blood sugar disregulation etc...

Our health coaches will work along side you on your journey back to good health, keeping you motivated, educated and on track throughout the entire program to assure you get the results you want. Your health, happiness and success is our passion at NutriMost of Wesley Chapel. If you would like to find out more information about this life

changing system and schedule a consultation, go to www.dropitin40.com and click on Schedule an Appointment, then select Initial Consultation. This will take you to our calendar where you can choose an available date and time that is convenient for you. A total body transformation can occur in just 40 short days! Make 2017 the year of your best health ever!

The average male client loses 40 to 45 pounds and the average female loses 27-32 pounds in just 40 days. The entire program is actually 65 days, due to a period of time after the 40 days of fat loss to stabilize the body in order to maintain the results long term. There are no pre-packaged meals, shakes or bars you have to eat. All of the food on the program is tested to your body for preference and effectiveness for fat loss, and you buy it at your local grocery store. In addition to massive fat loss, clients experience better sleep, diminished aches and pains, more energy, better moods, and we have many clients that are able to come off their Rx medications.

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January 2017 | Page 3


table of contents January 2017 5

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

6

TEAM BIOS

8

FINANCIAL ADVICE

10

UPCOMING EVENTS

12

LOCAL CLUB NEWS

13

CHAMBER RIBBON CUTTINGS

14

FEATURED STORY

24

THE YOGA CORNER

25

LEARN FROM YESTERDAY, LIVE FOR TODAY, HOPE FOR TOMORROW

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26 LITTLE ARTISTS ARTWORK COVER STORY: CHRISTA HERNANDEZ SURVIVED HUMAN TRAFFICKING ...AND SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT

30 PET OF THE MONTH & TOP BOOK READS 31

IT'S MOVIE TIME!

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LETTER FROM the editor

STEPHANIE COSTOLO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

H

appy New Year! Ba Da Boom, Ba Da Bing! Just like that, another year is in the books. Did you accomplish your goals for 2016? At the start of each New Year, I like to make a list of goals for the year. Of places I’d like to travel and experiences I’d like to have. Career and personal, family and fitness – they all go on my one big list. About 4 months into the year, I forget all about my list but somehow… at the end of each year when I pull it back out… I chuckle in amazement at how many things I actually accomplished. There’s something about simply writing down a goal that helps will it into life.

As I reflect back on the year, I’m amazed at how much has happened both in my personal life and in the world. We could certainly spend hours discussing all of those events that streamed across the bottom of our news channels and tablet screens, yet I choose not to. I choose not to live in the past. Instead, I choose to learn from the pain, from mistakes and missteps and to focus my energy by reflecting on all the positivity that flowed through 2016. With a little help from Huffi ngton Post, here are a few of the things we can be grateful for in 2016:

New chemotherapy breakthroughs have increased the 5-year survival for pancreatic cancer from 16% to 27% (and is getting better).

A new therapy developed in Israel could cure radiation sickness.

An Afghan teacher has been delivering books via bicycle to villages that lack schools.

Child mortality is down everywhere and it keeps going down.

200 strangers attended the funeral of a homeless WW2 veteran with no family.

Thanks to the ice bucket challenge the gene responsible for ALS has been found, meaning we are closer to an effective treatment. Let me rephrase that: we are close to getting a treatment for a very bad disease because a lot of people got wet.

The Cubs won the World Series after 108 years.

Tiger numbers are growing. And manatees. And pandas.

Pakistan has made strides toward outlawing honor killings.

Pokemon Go players went insane with placing lure modules near hospitals for sick kids.

Volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours.

World crime as a whole has drastically declined in the last few decades.

The ozone layer is repairing itself, and all the work we did to get rid of those aerosol chemicals was actually worth it.

RESIDENT Magazine

People beat cancer, people found love, they helped each other in a crisis. Warm hugs were extended and feuds were reconciled. Families grew and traditions were passed on. Choose gratitude for all of the silver linings in life; you’ve got nothing but unhappiness to lose. In this issue of Resident Magazine, we dive head fi rst into the world of human trafficking in Tampa Bay. The amazing story of Christa Hernandez will likely cause you to question some preconceptions you have about human trafficking, as it did for me. This broad and diverse social problem doesn’t necessarily look like a scene out of Taken. In fact, it’s going on right under our noses and on our social media accounts. Flip through to the feature story to hear Christa’s account, straight from a survivor.

Faithful member of the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce. Serving Wesley Chapel and New Tampa.

Residents are welcome to submit stories, articles, important information, new ideas & photos. SEND TO EDITORIAL@RESIDENTMAGAZINE.NET

© 2016 RESIDENT Magazine. All rights reserved. RESIDENT Magazine is currently published monthly, distributed by the U.S. Postal Service free to all residents and advertisers in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel area. Lists are for reference only and do not imply official sanction or recommendation by RESIDENT Magazine. Editorial submissions are welcome. Publisher reserves the right to reject or edit all submissions for length and clarity. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

For advertising information call: Stephanie Costolo 813-422-5551

Unless otherwise noted, the views, opinions and advertising presented in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the Publisher.

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January 2017 | Page 5


team bios STEPHANIE COSTOLO EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Driven and passionate, Stephanie’s strengths lie in marrying day-to-day strategies with the bigger picture. As a lover of both business and psychology, she weaves those worlds together naturally. She is an Air Force veteran, has a BS in Behavioral Science and a Masters Degree in Entrepreneurship in Applied Technologies from USF.

PATTI SMITH ADVISOR

Patti Smith brings over 24 years of experience in advertising and publishing. She contributes to the team her insight and knows how to think out of the box . When Patti isn't busy helping others, she spends time with her beautiful daughter Loryn.

DAVID HERRMANN ASSOCIATE

David has been helping local businesses grow for the last 5 years in the New Tampa and Wesley Chapel area. As a PGA Member for 18 years, he has done everything from playing professionally to running both semi and private golf courses. David and his wife Kelly are new parents to Axel Stone and their daughter Kendal Victoria.

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SUSAN GULASH ART DIRECTOR

Susan Gulash is a creative individual who loves the complete design process - from research to conception to completion. She has over 13 years experience in graphic/web design, and is the owner of Gulash Graphics. She attended and graduated from IRSC & USF. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two girls.

RANDI FREMUTH ASSISTANT EDITOR

Randi is experienced in teaching secondary English education and non-profit/outreach programming. She is an Illinois-native, but recently bought a farm in Michigan and has been trying her hand at homesteading with her wonderfully patient husband and two energetic daughters.

PAT GUSTAS ASSOCIATE

Pat, a native of Northwest Indiana calls Wesley Chapel her home for the past three years. She owned her own business for 35 years and was an Ad Junct teacher at the local community college. Pat and her husband now enjoy life and their four young grandchildren. As a Resident Magazine sales associate, Pat enjoys meeting local business people and helping them grow their successes.

BOB THOMPSON PHOTOGRAPHER

Bob is thrilled to bring his passion for photography to Resident Magazine. He shoots for magazines and corporations as well as local businesses. By last count he has photographed over 40,000 people in his 23 years as a photographer! He is a dad, husband, proud Rotarian, musician, emcee, and is excited to play a part in the growth of Wesley Chapel and New Tampa.

HEATHER MORALES EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Heather Morales grew up in Nevada but always promised herself she would live near the beach. A Florida resident of more than 10 years now, she still can’t get enough of the ocean and spends her free time on the water paddle boarding.

JOIN OUR TEAM We are growing! To inquire about joining the Resident Magazine team as a Sales Associate, please email your resume to stephanie@ residentmagazine.net.

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January 2017 | Page 7


FI NAN CIAL

ADVICE

mean investing tens of thousands of additional dollars over time to help secure your fi nancial future.

in place to prepare for unexpected events. 9. Get a handle on your taxes

6. Establish Roth savings if you qualify Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s allow you to build retirement savings with after-tax dollars where all distributions may qualify for tax-free treatment in the future. The potential for taxfree income in retirement can be an important benefit.

10 Financial Opportunities

to Consider in 2017

T

he start of a new year is a great time to take stock of your fi nancial life. Have you done all that you can to put yourself in the best possible position? Or, have you missed out on some important fi nancial opportunities? Take a look at where you stand and consider these key opportunities that could make a big difference in your fi nancial life in 2017 and beyond:

3. Save on interest payments

1. Revisit your fi nancial goals

4. Take advantage of your workplace retirement savings plan

You may have established fi nancial goals a year ago or maybe it has been several years. Either way, it makes sense to revisit your goals and make sure they are still consistent with the direction of your life and dreams for the future. Make adjustments if anything has changed. 2. Build a sufficient emergency fund One of the most fundamental forms of fi nancial security is having money set aside in a “rainy day” fund to meet any emergency needs. You don’t want an unexpected expense to result in a major fi nancial setback. It’s best to have a minimum of three to six months of expenses set aside, and up to a year if you can.

Page 8 | January 2017

First and foremost, if you have outstanding credit card debt, make it a priority to pay down this costly form of borrowing as fast as you can. Also, take a closer look at the interest rate on your home mortgage. If it’s notably higher than today’s market rates, look into refi nancing to reduce your monthly payment and put the money you save to better use.

If you participate in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan at work, make sure you are, at the very least, contributing enough into the plan to take full advantage of any employer match. It’s a “free money” opportunity and should not be overlooked. To the extent you can afford to do so, consider contributing more than the match amount to your plan.

7. Make sure you are comfortable with your portfolio Are you constantly worried what could happen to your portfolio in a market downturn because you’re taking on too much risk? On the fl ip side, do you think your portfolio needs to be more aggressive to keep up with your fi nancial goals (knowing that there’s always risk with reward)? If you come up short in either area, it may be time to revisit your investments and make appropriate changes. 8. Review your protection strategy across all aspects of your life Do you have sufficient life insurance in place to protect your loved ones? Is disability income coverage part of your mix? Are you protected against the risk of specialized care costs later in life? Are your home and personal possessions properly covered? Make sure you have a comprehensive protection strategy

Review past tax returns and your current fi nancial situation with a tax professional who can help you fi nd potential ways to reduce your tax liability. If charitable giving or volunteering is important to you, consider the tax implications of your donations. 10. Solidify your legacy plan Make sure your will, health care directives and trust documents reflect your current priorities. Review and if necessary, update beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, bank accounts and insurance policies. Take the time to review these tactics for your personal situation. Checking these items off your list can help you start 2017 on the right foot and may make a significant difference for your fi nancial future. Lauren Hopper is a Financial Advisor with Mclendon & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. She offers fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 16 years. You may contact her at lauren.s.hopper@ampf.com.

5. Capitalize on “catch-up” contribution rules If you are age 50 or older, you can boost contributions to your workplace savings plan and individual retirement account (IRA) by taking advantage of socalled “catch-up” rules. This can FOR RATES & INFO CALL: 813-422-5551 | WWW.RESIDENTMAGAZINE.NET


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January 2017 | Page 9


January

JANUARY (Every Tuesday and Thursday) TODDLER TIME AT LAND O LAKES REC Time: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:15am 12:15pm Location: Land O Lakes Rec Cost: Free

JANUARY 1 - 8 SYNTHETIC ICE SKATING AT WIREGRASS Time: Weekdays 12:00pm 9:00pm Location: The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Dr #100 Cost: $10

JANUARY 4 JANUARY (Every Wednesday) WIREGRASS MALL B CREATIVE PAINTING RANCHER KIDS CLUB STUDIO MOMMY & ME Time: 10:00am - 11:00am PAINT TIME Location: The Shops at Time: 12:00pm - 4:00pm Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Dr #100 Location: B Creative Painting Cost: Free Studio, 6013 Wesley Grove Blvd Ste. 103 Cost: Free Studio Fee w/ Paying Adult JANUARY 7 HOME DEPOT KIDS JANUARY (Every Saturday in WORKSHOP: BUILD A CRATE TOOLBOX January) Time: 9:00am - 12:00pm MICHAELS KIDS CLUB CRAFT Location: A Home Depot near Time: Every Saturday 10:00am you - 12:00pm Cost: Free Location: A Michaels near you Cost:$2 FRESH MARKET AT WIREGRASS JANUARY (Every Saturday in Time: 10:00am - 2:00pm January) Location: The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Dr #100 FREE STORY TIME AT BARNES & NOBLE Cost: Free Time: 11:00am Location: At a Barnes & Noble near you Cost: Free Page 10 | January 2017

DADE CITY CRUISE - IN CAR SHOW Time: 1:30pm - 5:30pm Location: Historic Courthouse in Downtown Dade City Cost: Free

JANUARY 10 GO CRAFT YOURSELF RIBBON CUTTING Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm Location: Go Craft Yourself, 10311 Cross Creek Blvd, Suite A Tampa, Florida 33647 Cost: Free WALKING AWAY FROM KNEE PAIN Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm Location: Health & Wellness Center Classroom, 2nd Floor at the Florida Hospital of Wesley Chapel Cost: Free JANUARY 10 - 24 PREPARED CHILDBIRTH CLASSES, 3-WEEK SERIES Time: 6:00pm - 8:30pm Location: Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, 2600 Bruce B Downs Blvd., 2nd Floor Classrooms, Wesley Chapel FL Cost: Fees Apply

JANUARY 12 SEVELIUS WEALTH MANAGEMENT OF RAYMOND JAMES RIBBON CUTTING Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm Location: Sevelius Wealth Management of Raymond James, 29145 Chapel Park Dr., Wesley Chapel, FL 33543 Cost: Free to attend JANUARY 14 RADIANT 5K AT PASCO HERNANDO STATE COLLEGE Time: 8:00am - 5:00pm Location: Pasco-Hernando State College, 2727 Mansfield Boulevard Cost: $25-$35 LIGHT UP THE NIGHT Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm Location: The Shops at Wiregrasss upper level parking structure Cost: Free concert event

RAISING CANE, A SWEET & SPICY EVENT AT PIONEER MUSEUM Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm Location: The Pioneer Florida Museum & Village, 15602 Pioneer Museum Road Cost: $5

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Includes information from the following:

JANUARY 15 LET'S HANG ON! Time: 2:00pm Location: Center of Arts, 30651 Wilthe Rd., Wesley Chapel, FL Cost: $20 per ticket JANUARY 17 WEIGHT LIFTING AND FAT LOSS Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm Location: Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, 2600 Bruce B Downs Blvd., 2nd Floor Classrooms, Wesley Chapel, FL Cost: Free

to attend, but register as space is limited at BusinessSuccessTraining.com

JANUARY 19 SEMINAR ON DEVELOPING AND INTERNSHIP PROGRAM THE ABLE TRUST Time: 8:30am - 11:30am Location: Pasco Hernando State College- Porter Campus, 2727 Mansfield Blvd, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543 Cost: Free to attend

MONTHLY COFFEE SOCIAL Time: 8:00am - 9:00am Location: Buttermilk Provisions, 2653 Bruce B Downs Blvd, Suite 117, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544 Cost: Visit wesleychapelchamber.com for further information

CHASE BANK RIBBON CUTTING Time: 9:00am - 11:00am Location: Chase Bank, 28470 State Rd. 54, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543 Cost: Free to attend

JANUARY 18 HOW TO HAVE YOUR BEST YEAR EVER IN 2017 WITH STEVE BLACK Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm Location: The Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce, Don Porter Boardroom, 6013 Wesley Grove Blvd., Suite 105, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544 Cost: This event is free

DEVOLDER LAW FIRM, PLLC RIBBON CUTTING Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm Location: Devolder Law Firm, PLLC, 8709 Hunters Green Drive, Suite 101, Tampa, FL 33647 Cost: Free to attend

JANUARY 21 - 22 ZEPHYRHILLS ANNUAL PIGZ IN Z'HILLS BBQ & BLUES Time: 10:00am - 6:00pm Location: Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, 5200 Airport Rd. Cost: Free 12TH ANNUAL SUNCOAST ARTS FESTIVAL AT WIREGRASS Time: 10:00am - 6:00pm on Jan. 21st and 11:00am - 6:00pm on Jan 22nd Location: The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Dr #100 Cost: Free JANUARY 22 PREPARED CHILDBIRTH, 1 DAY EXPRESS CLASS Time: 1:00pm - 5:00pm Location: Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, 2600 Bruce B Downs Blvd., 2nd Floor Classrooms, Wesley Chapel, FL Cost: Fees Apply JANUARY 24 WOMEN'S HEALTH Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm Location: Health & Wellness Center Classroom, 2nd Floor, Florida Wesley Chapel Hospital Cost: Free

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JANUARY 25 MEMBERSHIP ORIENTATION AT CHAMBER OFFICE Time: 9:00am - 9:30am Location: The Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce, Don Porter Boardroom, 6013 Wesley Grove Blvd., Wesley Chapel, FL 33544 Cost: Free JANUARY 27 - 28 TAMPA BAY TALENT AUDITIONS Time: January 27th 6:00pm 9:00pm, January 28th 9:00am - 3:00pm Location: Avalon Park West Cost: Free JANUARY 28 ANNUAL KUMQUAT FESTIVAL IN DADE CITY Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm Location: Dade City Downtown Cost: Free JANUARY 28 - March 18 "THE WAY WE WORKED" TRAVELING SMITHSONIAN EXHIBIT Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm Location: The Pioneer Florida Museum & Village, 15602 Pioneer Museum Road Cost: $8, $6 seniors, $4 age 6-18, 5 and younger free. January 2017 | Page 11


LOCAL CLUB NEWS

GFWC

woman's club gfwcwomansclubnewtampa.com November 16th was such a FUN and PRODUCTIVE meeting! Three NEW members were welcomed and pinned! Our club made a monetary donation to a village in San Nicolas, San Miguel, El Salvador where we have previously worked through our partnership with Peace Corps. One of our members and her daughter will be making this journey in December bringing Christmas to this village, providing toys, food and baby formula to families of need. Our members also generously donated food items for Heart FELT (Feeding.Empty. Little.Tummies) ministry which provides food for children who are ‘at risk’ for chronic hunger. Books were wrapped and candy bags filled to be given to these children as Christmas gifts. Our guest speaker from The Richard M. Schulze Foundation Hope Lodge Tampa shared with us how Hope Lodge offers respite to cancer patients offering short-term residential housing and support free of charge for those that travel to the Tampa Bay area for treatment. Our club also presented Hope Lodge with a monetary donation! We decorated Candy jars for the residents at The Legacy at Highwoods Preserve, an assisted senior living and memory care facility. We will be bringing these gifts in December when we join them for a fun evening of Christmas caroling and trivia games!

Page 12 | January 2017

GFWC

of new Tampa

New Tampa Junior

facebook.com/RotaryClubOfNewTampa/ Twitter@NewTampaRotary For more information, visit www.newtamparotary.org/

www.gfwcnewtampajuniors.org

newtamparotary.org

woman's club

Local Rotarians to Travel to India for Polio National Immunization Day 2016-2017 District 6890 Governor Joyce Ann Gunter will lead a group of three members of the Rotary Club of New Tampa on an international service project in India. January 29, 2017 is the next scheduled National Immunization Day (“NID”) in India. More than 170 million children under five years of age will be vaccinated with the polio vaccine. Joyce’s husband and Past District Governor (2014-2015) Gary Gunter, and Lesley Zajac, who is the immediate Past President of the Rotary Club of New Tampa (2015-2016) will accompany Joyce and also participate. They will administer the polio vaccine to children, participate in other service projects, and see several global grant and district grant projects. "It has been a longstanding dream of Rotarians to end polio, and it is thrilling to be a part of the final push to eliminate this dreaded disease from the face of the earth." Two teams will arrive in Delhi on January 19, 2017 and visit the Polio Plus office, the World Health Organization, and St. Stephen’s Hospital. The teams then will travel to different cities, staying with local Rotarians and working on service projects. Next the teams will return to Delhi and join together for the Polio NID and Mop Up Day. Before heading home on February 1, 2017, the Rotarians will travel to the Agra and take a sunrise tour of the majestic Taj Mahal.

The GFWC New Tampa Junior Woman's Club recently volunteered at Trinity Cafe in Tampa, helping to serve meals to the homeless and hungry in the area. Are you looking to give back to your community and meet other ladies who are working to make the world a better place through volunteer service? The GFWC New Tampa Junior Woman’s Club is made up of women in the community who meet monthly and work with numerous charitable organizations to better the lives of others. Our regular meetings are held the second Monday evening of the month and the majority of our volunteer events are held on the weekends. Please contact pr@gfwcnewtampajuniors.org or visit www.gfwcnewtampajuniors.org for more information.

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CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Welcome New Businesses!

December Ribbon Cuttings

HAPPY FEET PLUS

ESTHETICS813

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January 2017 | Page 13


Page 14 | January 2017

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Christa Hernandez

SURVIVED Human Trafficking ...and sets the record straight

S

BY STEPHANIE COSTOLO & RANDI REMUTH

he didn’t know she had been sex trafficked.

PHOTOS BY BOB THOMPSON, THOMPSON BRAND IMAGES

RM (Resident Magazine): Tell me a little about your childhood.

In a world where over 30 million people are enslaved today, and the average age of a girl entering the sex trade in the US is just 12 years old, you would think the rest of us would have a good idea of what that might look like. The movie Taken often comes to mind—a white uppermiddle class girl being kidnapped and used for sinister purposes, held captive by lock and key. While that scenario does happen, the most common type of trafficking we see in the US looks a lot different. Resident Magazine spoke with a survivor of human trafficking from right here in Tampa Bay. We also spoke with Corporal Alan Wilkett of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and Bill Cronin, President and CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council to understand more clearly what the issue of human trafficking looks like in Tampa Bay, how we can protect our kids and what we can do to end it.

CH (Christa Hernandez): I grew up in Lakeland, Florida, and my parents separated when I was 5 years old. My earliest childhood memories are of my father being abusive, verbally and physically, to my mom. When they separated, she pretty much was not around. He ended up getting custody of my two brothers and me, and life with my father was definitely not what it should have been for a child. He was a licensed hypnotist, and he would hypnotize my siblings and I and make us think that (the abuse) was a game, so there is so much that I have blocked out. Around 10 years old is when some of those memories started coming to me. He let me go stay with my mom for a short period of time. It was kind of like a game he would play like, ‘I'm going to let you go stay, and then I'm going to yank you back once you're comfortable.’ It was his mind game between my mother and me.

Christa Hernandez has a strong presence; she’s the kind of person you just know is nearby, even if you can’t see her. Seated at a conference table for our interview, she was poised, pensive and ready to share her story. She was ready to be vulnerable and share parts of her life with us. These parts of her life have caused her intense pain, have led her down paths she’d never imagined she’d go down and caused her to cross lines she never thought she’d cross.

In the sixth grade I was sexually molested by a summer recreation worker at an elementary school and myself and another girl came forward, and this guy ended up getting away with it. I was beginning to think that there was no safe place because nobody believed me, and nobody was there to protect me. The next house we lived in is where the abuse got really extreme. My father would use stun guns on us and he would just beat us to bloody pulps. He had a recorder that would go on the phone, so we couldn’t

call our mom or talk to anybody without him present. I wanted to talk to my mom, so I went in there one time and I tried to finagle with it. He knew because I didn't know what I was doing with it, so when he came I remember him slapping me so hard to the ground that I had bruising so badly on my face that he couldn't send me to school. It was just out of control there, but I believe that my mom at this point started realizing there was a lot going on. She called Child Protective Services, but my father would always show up before they would. He would let us know, ‘if you say anything, they're going to throw you in foster care, and they're going to separate all of you.’ At that point, we were all we had—my brothers, my sister and me. We always lied [to CPS] because we didn't want to get separated. I guess they weren't buying it this time; paperwork had been started to remove us from the house. My father found out and took us across state lines to South Carolina. Back then, [CPS] didn't cross state lines like they do now, so nobody knew where we were for 6 months. The abuse in South Carolina continued to get worse. He was verbally abusive and there was sexual abuse beginning to happen. He would chain my brothers to their bed to where they could only get to the bathroom. He was a raging alcoholic. It was really bad. I just knew he was going to kill me or hurt me very badly. When I was 16, I begged him to let me go live with my mom, so he had me load all my stuff up in garbage bags, and he had me go by train. When I arrived at the train

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station dragging my garbage bags, my mother wasn't there. He had never called her and never even told her that I was coming. Angels sent from God (an older couple) helped me and got me to my mom's house without an address. My mom lived out of guilt because she wasn't there a lot [growing up], so she tried to be more my friend than the nurturing mom that I needed. Coming from that strict environment, I went wild. I was very promiscuous; I was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong ways. I became very sexual, and I had already been sexually abused. You tend to [lose] value in yourself because of what's happened to you. I ended up leaving high school because she wasn't enforcing it and my father ended up moving back to Florida. When I was 18, my father had a connection to a bar that I could get a bartending job in, and I'll never forget him taking me shopping and saying, ‘the skimpier the better, Christa.’ The first night I went to work, he reached his hand down my chest and lifted everything up. [He said], ‘you'll make more money like this.’ That was my normal. When I was bartending, they had dancers that would come in one night a week. They were short a dancer, so they asked me if I would fill in. Next thing I know, I'm in pasties and a thong having to dance around tons of men. I hated the way they were groping me and touching me, and the looks they would give, but there was also a false sense of Continued on page 16

January 2017 | Page 15


SURVIVED Christa Hernandez Human Trafficking Continued from page 15

empowerment and a false sense of acceptance, and there was a lot of money that was made. That was the only night that I did that. [Soon after] I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, so I left that job and I moved to Clearwater with my mom.

CHRISTA AT AN AWARENESS EVENT

A GIFT FOR A LOCAL DANCER ON AN OUTREACH MISSION

CHRISTA WITH HER DAUGHTER, ALEXIS AND GRANDDAUGTHER BROOKLYNN Page 16 | January 2017

Shortly after I had my daughter, we got a phone call from the Sheriff that my siblings had told on my father for sexual abuse. He was in jail, and we had to go get my siblings. When I spoke to him, he told me, ‘if you don't get your siblings to recant, I'm going to hang myself, and it's going to be all your fault.’ So, I did get them to recant. I was dealing with [the fact that] these are my siblings and this was my father. At the same time, my mom wasn't very stable financially, so she would get evicted from place to place. I needed to provide for my daughter, and everything was spiraling out of control. At this point, I was extremely broken, and entered into entered into the strip club; I had to find a way to provide for my daughter and family. Shortly after working at the strip club, a girl befriended me and started giving me free drugs, which made what I was doing a whole lot easier. After some time of coercing and giving me the free drugs, she asked me, ‘hey, will you drive me places? I'll give you $50.’ In my mind, this was a great deal. I wouldn’t have to be in the back room doing private dances where I was being sexually assaulted; instead I could get out of here and make $50 quickly. I ended up driving her places for quite some time, and she would come out with tons of money. She told me she was just dancing for private parties or bachelor parties. She said, ‘You could do what I do, but you'll need to speak with my boss.’ Eventually, I took the bait. The boss said, ‘We’ll send you to a regular and see if you're capable of making the cut.’ You're asking someone who was broken and vulnerable if I was capable of making the cut. Well, I was up for the challenge

but at the same time had no idea what making the cut was. I was thinking that I was just going to go dance at a bachelor party. I can make that cut. I'll never forget walking into that regular. He was a short, bald-headed, used car salesman, and he handed me $250 and said, ‘You need to call the boss, and let them know you're here.’ I had money in hand, called the boss, let them know I was there, and they told me if I didn’t call them within 40 minutes, they would call me because then it was time to get ready and finish up. When I was supposed to meet them down the street and give them their part of the money. In that moment, I quickly realized there's a whole lot more that's expected of me to make the cut than just dancing. I started thinking, ‘how can I make the cut without having to do actual intercourse?’ I thought of ways that time, but unfortunately that wasn't always the case. I ended up meeting the boss right after that call and gave them their part of the money, which was usually half of the money. Right when I gave it to them, they said, ‘we have somewhere else for you to go now.’ It was as if there was no saying no. The next call they sent me on was to a popular golf resort. When I walked into that call, there were five guys. They had different rooms, and they were giggling and laughing as I came out of one room and was sent into another room. This night started the cycle of the boss sending me on up to ten calls a night sometimes. I wasn't huddled down and chained or anything. It was more coercion and praying on my vulnerability. After three years, I ended up pregnant with my son from my boyfriend at the time. He didn't know what I was doing. He thought I was only dancing. RM: Was there a certain point in which you realized you weren't necessarily in control of your own life and that the ‘boss’ or ‘manager’ was in control? Continued on page 17

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...and sets the record straight Continued from page 16

CH: When I was being sent out over and over again. When I would want to step away, they would say, 'We're going to blacklist you, tell your friends and family what you're doing,' because, of course, I wasn't telling them. I had a whole elaborate story of why I was gone all night. That was very early on, but then I lost myself in it. I became numb and had disassociated myself so much from it to basically survive.

was all she knew and the only option she felt she had. Christa spent the next twenty years of her life in the seedy back-room world of the commercial sex industry. The domination aspect of this world appealed to her, in part because she felt like she was in control of the situation and she felt like she was ‘getting back’ at men. During this period she regained custody of her two children. RM: When did life begin to shift for you?

CH: I went to one of my son's baseball games, and one of the moms asked me if I wanted to go to church. I thought, 'absolutely not. Jesus CH: My kids were with me for most wants nothing to do with me.’ But I of it, as well as another little sister my was very good at playing the part. I mom had from somebody else. She wanted to look like the good baseball came to live with me, so she would mom, so I said yes. When I walked watch my kids while I was being sent into that church, [Jesus] grabbed out. When I got a DUI and got into a hold of me right then and there. some trouble, my daughter went with There was no running from His her father, and I ended up losing presence. For two years, I was in the my son to his father's mom. My church holding onto this big dark kids were everything, and I wanted secret of still being in the industry to be with them. I knew I didn't while growing in my relationship want this life anymore. I wanted to with Christ, which became very change it. When I got out of jail and conflicting. I would be in my Bible went to my mom's, I begged to stay or listening to worship music, and there, and she said yes, but that I the phone would ring and I’d have had to get employment. I started to to instantly snap into this other go look for employment, and there character. was a phone place that was within walking distance from my mom's. I Through all that walked into it, and the first part of the interview was to listen to a phone conflicting guilt, call. It sounded like an [adult film], shame, and trying to and I was like, ‘what is this?’ In the work through it all, I second part of the interview, they attempted suicide. had you do different accents. I had walked right into a phone sex call It was getting to a point that was just center, and I didn't have any idea. I too hard. During that time, God thought I was out of [the industry started placing in my heart that I was life]. I thought I was going to get a going to go back and reach women regular job. Instead, I took the job, I where I was, once I was out, but I got an apartment and I was trying to didn't know how. do everything I needed to do. RM: Where are your kids at this point in time?

At this point in her life, Christa was working on getting her kids back, addicted to prescription drugs and was pulled back into the commercial sex industry by someone she met at the call center. Broken, with no value for herself or her body, no high school diploma, a criminal record and a need to provide for her family, the ‘industry’

One night, I did a Google search for ‘women who loved Jesus but worked in the sex industry support group’, and this organization popped up out of California called Treasures. I about fell over when I saw it. They sent me a free care package,

Continued on page 18

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January 2017 | Page 17


SURVIVED Christa Hernandez Human Trafficking Continued from page 17

which had Scars and Stilettos, a book by Harmony Dust. She founded Treasures, and it was about her getting out [of the sex industry].

Hope began to rise in me, and I thought, ‘Okay, someone has made it out of this.’ They set me up with a mentor and she was the first person I could really open up to about all the good, the bad, the ugly. For about a month, she encouraged me to go to one of my Pastors at church. When I finally went to him, I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect. I watched Joyce Meyer throughout my whole spiritual growth for those two years. I wrote my testimony out to her and when I went to see him, I asked, ‘can I please just read this to you,’ because I didn't even know how to say the words on my own. At the end, it was very emotional. He said, ‘we love you. Jesus loves you, and we're going to walk with you through this season of your life.’ My Pastor gave me the tools to Celebrate Recovery, job finders, and all kinds of resources but never once did he say, ‘leave. You need to leave this.’ He just let that be my choice. RM: Did you feel like you could trust the Church? CH: I didn't feel like I could trust them because I still had that shame and guilt on me, that I didn't belong. I felt that if they knew the real me, they would throw me out. My son was very involved in their youth group, and I thought they would throw him out. He loved it there. There were a lot of reasons why I didn't say anything for so long, but I finally did. I started attending all these different classes, and I knew that I was going to get out of the industry. About a month after I spoke with my Pastor, my mother and I volunteered at a Joyce Meyer Page 18 | January 2017

but I was still on prescription pills. December 6th, I felt like the Lord said to put that down, and I did. I came off everything cold turkey. On December 8th, I was going to the hospital in an ambulance, violently ill because I had been on a lot of medication. They tried to give me smaller doses, and I was like, ‘absolutely not. I'll get through this.’ I came home, and for weeks, I just laid in the bed. I would just say, ‘greater is He that's in me,’ or ‘I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.’ The Xanax withdrawal started getting really bad, which is a hallucinating withdrawal. I went to go see my primary care doctor, and they said, ‘we can't touch you, you're too far into your

conference. It was at her conference where she shared the story of The Prodigal Son, and

I could audibly hear God say, ‘come on, Christa, you can do this. I love you. That industry is not your provider, I am.’ I loved Christ, and I loved God, but it was at that moment that I had a revelation of His love for me. That was the game changer.

money more even though I was only making a small amount and I made it last. God just really worked out every detail. In 2012, Treasures was going to be in Miami with Strip Church. They were going to be doing training for women who wanted to go in and reach [other girls]. Strip Church is a network of women who have strip and have strip club ministries. Treasures and the strip club ministries partnered for their training in Miami, and I knew it was time for me to go. That's where Loving You Where You’re At was born.

The thing is, I didn't recognize myself as a trafficking victim or survivor of trafficking until sitting in that training. It's like that for many of the women that we see. They don't even identify that they are being trafficked. You don't even realize when you're in the midst of it, but that's what's happening to you. It took 20 years of that life, being out, and being in a training to recognize this is what happened to me.

I didn't choose to be a prostitute. STEPHANIE COSTOLO INTERVIEWING CHRISTA

I had $70 to my name, and I told my mom, ‘when I get home, I'm leaving this life.’ I came home and on the adult site that I worked off of, I put my real name, my story, and why I was leaving the industry. Instantly, I was getting messages from girls who were saying, ‘thank you so much! This has helped me. I'm leaving.’ Old customers said, ‘I've struggled with my faith and doing this for so long.’ I ended up ministering to these people who were my customers and other girls on the site and yet I had no idea what God was preparing me for during that time. I left the industry November 21st, 2010,

withdrawals. It could hurt you if we were to do anything. You need to go to a detox.’ I finally broke down and called the detox place. They told me the same thing. Within minutes, my phone rang and it was a lady from the church. She said, ‘I just feel like God wants me to tell you that you're coming through the wilderness into the Promised Land. He's your great physician, and He has His hand on you.’ I wasn't instantly better, but hope was rising. I slowly got better and I ended up getting a sales position, and I was really good at it. I appreciated

This is what happened. I was basically groomed for it my whole childhood. No little girl dreams of growing up and being sexually exploited. Something goes terribly wrong along the way. RM: Tell me about Loving You Where You're At. CH: We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization. We are faith-based support and outreach to women working in the commercial sex industry, as well as victims of sex trafficking. You can't very well go in to the strip club and love on those girls without running into victims

Continued on page 19

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...and sets the record straight Continued from page 18

of sex trafficking. Currently, we go into twelve strip clubs in Tampa and Pasco. We've also added 3 brothels out of Pasco that we go into; these are Asian massage parlors that are really brothels. We go every month, and we take in a little girly gift to brighten their night and a card that lets them know, ‘precious woman you are loved, valued, and purposed. Support is only a phone call away.’ If somebody would have come in when I was working in the club, hitting me over the head with a Bible, I think that I would have been offended by it and felt judged by it. We really just go in there and reach them by building intentional relationships, and I think that makes all the difference. We talk about life with them and we love them unconditionally. We want them to know that this is unconditional, no-strings-attached love. These girls aren't used to receiving a gift without

somebody expecting something in return. This is huge for them. It’s consistency; that's not something they're used to in that life. They don't trust easily. When they start seeing you coming on a regular basis and bringing them this fun little girly stuff, they start reaching out to us, and we start mentoring them. We never tell them to leave [the industry] because if you take away choice, you take away love, so we love them whether they stay in or whether they come out. RM: How can people support Loving You Where You Are At? CH: For the gift bags, we're always taking donations of anything that's fun and girly: make-up, jewelry or anything that would brighten a girl's day. We need volunteers - right now we're getting to a point where we need more administrative volunteers. If you are a licensed trauma therapist, we need your help. These women

that we're reaching need trauma therapy. If you have a detox place, and we haven't already connected, we need these kinds of connections. We definitely need funding from monthly partners. In addition to doing the clubs, we have a drop-in center in Pasco, and we have one in Tampa. These are places where the girls can come to us whether they’re having a good day or a bad day, or they can come to us for resources if they need help with something. We do survivor led support groups there. Our goal for the end of 2017 is to have a transitional home for the women, because we find that’s the biggest need. RM: Would you say that most of the girls in this business are on drugs of some kind? CH: Most of what we see, especially in Pasco, is that they're on drugs. It's just sad because many of them

are being trafficked solely to stay high. It doesn't look like what you might think it would look like. A lot of people don't envision someone being trafficked as having their own apartment, but really a lot of them do. These pimps and traffickers keep them by supplying their drugs, so the women are going in, dancing, and doing whatever in those back rooms to make money, and a lot of it’s going right back to the traffickers. The trafficker is getting to keep the majority of the money, and they just make sure the girls stay high. It’s a huge problem. Drugs definitely go hand-in-hand. They’ll usually get someone off the street—a runaway. Usually what it looks like is at 2 to 4 years old, the girl is sexually abused, or the boy because boys are trafficked too, and she's told, ‘you should be ashamed Continued on page 20

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January 2017 | Page 19


Christa Hernandez know, they're being flown to Vegas or Miami, and when they get there, they realize that it's not modeling; of yourself. This is all your fault. You better not tell anybody.’ Then at it's porn or they're being trafficked. A about 12 to 14 years old, she ends up lot of times, it's manipulation, lying, running away—that's the average age and making them think they look great, or they have 'the look'. They right now that they're taken. A lot think it's just modeling, and they're of time it's not a snatch you up type situation, like most people think. It's building their ego and using fraud to do it. Right now, media is making it more of an emotional pull, praying look so sexy to wear barely anything. on their vulnerabilities. Within 24 Then you've got this young girl, to 48 hours, usually the runaway is and she has a cute picture up, and approached by a trafficker, and he's somebody is approaching her that pretty much going to woo them she could have this modeling career, with, ‘what's wrong, baby girl? I and before you know it they take the can give you a place to stay and feed bait and they're gone. you.’ This girl is already looking for acceptance and love, and so he gets RM: If we were to speak to parents her. He swoons her and then all of right now of girls and boys who are a sudden, it's ‘time to pay me back,’ and they're either being sent into the on social media in the early teenage years, and they're approached by strip clubs, or they're being put on somebody saying they could be a Backpage. model, what would you suggest the parent do? RM: What common characteristics Continued from page 19

did you find in those being trafficked and doing the trafficking? CH: Usually there's been some sexual abuse, so they are very vulnerable. They come from foster care a lot of times. That's a huge target, the foster care system. I spoke to a group of girls that are castaways; they're in a group home where the foster system won't even take them, so they're just in this home. It was heart-wrenching when I shared my story with them, and I had all these young girls coming up to me telling me these scenarios they've been in where they're being approached by traffickers. They're broken. It's usually not a happy home life; something goes wrong to get them there. They've become very vulnerable and their self-esteem is low. The traffickers are professionals, these are mastermind criminals, so they know what to look for instantly. A big thing that's happening now is social media. We've got the girls, or boys, who are getting on there, and they're taking cute little pictures, and these traffickers are all over social media. They will message them and make them think that they could be this great model, and the girl or boy falls for it. The next thing they Page 20 | January 2017

CH: I would block that person, so they're not able to contact the child. I would write down the information, get the URL. I know early teenagers, or even younger, don't want a parent monitoring their social media, but I'm letting parents know that it is vital that their social media is watched over. This is one of the number one ways that the traffickers are getting our kids. I would watch what they're doing. Who are they communicating with? Are their behaviors changing? Are they starting to dress a different way? Are they starting to withdraw more? Are they withdrawing from their friends, spending more time on social media? They could be getting ready to leave with somebody, so just monitor their social media, and if you see it, report what you're seeing and block them from the child's social media. RM: What is a perception that people have that isn't accurate about the industry? CH: As far as the women who are in the strip clubs, a lot of people think they chose to be there. They Continued on page 21

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SURVIVED ...and sets the record straight

Human Trafficking Continued from page 20

stereotype these women and, in reality, nobody dreams of growing up and being sexually exploited. Something has gone wrong along the way. Then once they're there, it becomes a trap. People will ask all day long, ‘why don't they just leave?’ It's not that easy. You're in there, and you have to see and experience things, and you’ve crossed lines you never thought you’d have to cross. 89% of women said they wanted out, but they had no other means of survival. They become very drug addicted while they're in there, so you've got that whole other issue going on, or they are being trafficked. These girls don't want to be there. Over 90% of them were sexually abused as children. One of the things we ask the girls is, ‘what was your dream? Do you remember your dream as a little girl?’ Because if we can get them to remember their dreams and give them hope that it can still happen, that's huge. As far as trafficking, it's not always what you think it is—being tied up and caged up—that happens, but more so it's happening in your own backyard, in ways that you would never know is happening with your own children. We've run into situations were children still live at home, and they're being trafficked, sneaking out at night and doing things for their trafficker. The misconception is that a lot of people compare it to the movie Taken. That's not the case; that's 1% of cases. RM: What does it look like in town? What are some warning signs? CH: If you see something suspicious, look at him or her are they able to speak, or is somebody else speaking for them? Are they giving you eye contact, or are they holding their head down a lot? Do they have their own identification, or is somebody else holding their identification? For the younger kids, has there been a change in their behavior? Are there signs of physical

abuse, such as burn marks or bruises? Are they more withdrawn? Are there signs of over-sexualized behavior? Are they showing signs of gang affiliation, preference for specific colors, displaying gang symbols, etc? Are they showing up with money or nice things that they didn't have before? Definitely question where that's coming from because a lot of these traffickers are going to woo them at first. They're going to get them the nice things, get their nails done, get their hair done for them because they're getting them ready. They get to the point where [they’re saying], ‘now you owe me.’ Some of the things that the traffickers can exhibit is: jealous, controlling, violent, significantly older than their female companions, promise things that seem too good to be true, encourages victims to engage in illegal activities to achieve their goals and dreams, buys expensive gifts, vague about their profession, pushy or demanding about sex, responsible for victims financial stability those are some traits of a trafficker. So, if you see this older man that’s hanging with a bunch of younger people, then you might want to alert the authorities.

RM: If someone suspects trafficking, what should they do? CH: I would call local law enforcement. They could call the national hotline. Give us a call if you don't feel comfortable with law enforcement, and we’ll pass the information on. I would definitely recommend passing it on as soon as you see it because they move around a lot. RM: What have you learned about yourself as a result of the challenges you’ve faced? CH: I'm very strong. I'm a survivor. I used to feel like I wasn't worthy when I was in that life, and

I was less than, that I was an outcast to society, but I've learned that I'm not. I've learned that I can run a nonprofit organization with no ‘real’ education. I've learned that I have overcome a traumatic experience, and there's hope; hope overflows out of me now, and that's what I take back to these girls. I'm still excited to see the journey that [God] takes me on. I've learned that I'm enough; that I matter. I’ve learned that my past doesn't define me. I've learned that if it wasn't for those things that I went through, although I didn’t enjoy going through them, then I wouldn't be doing what I am today, and I wouldn't be able to impact lives. Continued on page 22

RM: What does it look like in Pasco County? CH: It doesn't discriminate. It's not just happening in the poor neighborhoods. It's happening in our wealthy communities as well. If you're a parent, look on Backpage to make sure you're not seeing your child. If you see a strange tattoo that says something, like Cowboy, Daddy’s girl, or even a barcode, it's probably someone who's being trafficked because traffickers will brand their women. Watch out for strange tattoos that might be a symbol with a name, and if it's a barcode, that's definitely someone who is being trafficked. They'll have a barcode on there with numbers so if this girl ever gets away, if somebody finds her, they can give the barcode and know who she belongs to.

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CHRISTA AND HER TEAM ON AN OUTREACH MISSION TO A LOCAL CLUB

GIFT BAGS FOR THE INDUSTRY LADIES January 2017 | Page 21


SURVIVED Christa Hernandez Human Trafficking Continued from page 21

RM: What's your message to somebody who may read this who doesn't have a sense of self-worth and may be headed down that path? CH: At first this looks like a glamorous life, but I can assure you, it's not glamorous. It's going to take you down avenues and have you crossing lines you never thought you would cross. This is just what this life turns into. The average lifespan is only 7 years for a woman who's in that life. I would recommend running as far as you can or contacting local authorities and letting them know the situation you are in. Know that you're not alone. There are organizations, like my own, that are here and willing to help you. Understand that you are loved, valued, and you are purposed. There are great plans for your life, so this is not an avenue that you need to take. You are worthy. Corporal Allen Wilkett, Human Trafficking Commission Member and Law Enforcement Representative, has been entrenched in the fight to end human trafficking in Pasco County for nine years. Resident Magazine spoke with him to get the details that as Wesley Chapel and New Tampa residents, you need to know. RM: What is the commission for human trafficking? Allen Wilkett (AW): The Human Trafficking Commission was designed to bring in areas of the county that could be vulnerable, such as tourism, hospitality, medical, emergency rooms, things of that nature. If they're not vulnerable populations themselves or encompass vulnerable populations, they are certainly frontline. They’re seeing it and there’s the propensity for them to see it on a first-hand-inthe-trenches-type [situation]. The idea was to reach out and grab representatives from those segments of our community and bring us all together to tackle the issue from a legislative standpoint. Page 22 | January 2017

RM: What should the residents of this area know about human trafficking? AW: One of the prime targets for a trafficker is places that attract the general public into large crowds. Any time there is a convention, a Super Bowl, a big sporting event, large crowds being gathered in, the traffickers target that to sell their property. I use that term in a general sense; they're bringing in their victims to put them on the street, brothels, mobile brothels, strip clubs. They'll ramp those up personnelwise to accommodate these larger crowds that just came in. Wesley Chapel and New Tampa is just blowing up with new retail, subdivisions, new populations are coming in, and to a trafficker, that's attractive. What we have to be aware of in our area is that we have to be on guard because we better believe that the trafficker has certainly put us on his radar as a place to begin to market his business more heavily. We have to come to grips with the fact that human trafficking is going on right here. Now, not later, not two years from now… it's going on now. One of the things that we've seen is the housing of victims in some of our subdivisions. They're taken by van down to Hillsborough or Pinellas or to 19 to be put out to the street, but they're actually being housed in some of these local areas. We hear the

rumblings of those types of things; we see the indicators, and we have to be aware that even though we live in an affluent, business-oriented, attractive place, for those very same reasons this type of criminal activity is looking to make [a business]. RM: What are some ways that people can identify a person being trafficked, a pimp, or someone who is in that world?

AW: As a general rule, we caution the public to look at four levels of control. Control is the largest component of what a trafficker is going to do to a victim; that means they're going to control their behavior, their documents, their money, who they talk to and how long they talk to somebody. They oftentimes will step in and answer questions on their behalf; it will have the look of a parent-child relationship where the parent is domineering and is taking control of the actions, mood, behavior and

money. Those control mechanisms are certainly the largest red flags that we have. RM: Can you give an example of a case that stands out to you? AW: A particular female worked the strip clubs and drugs controlled her. She was actually introduced to drugs [by the trafficker], and they became a control mechanism for her. The other thing that was used to control her was her child and the threat against her child. ‘If you don't do what we are telling you to do, we're going to hurt your child.’ It was probably one of the most heart-wrenching things because you saw the mother's love for that child, and then realized that the trafficker would use that as a means to control her. He knew that the mother had no other option, and it seemed like every other door was closed to her; she had no ties to the community that could come in and offer support at that point. The only thing that she saw in order to be able to sustain her own child was to do as she was told, or she's going to lose her child. She's already lost everything else—that became a control mechanism. She was made to do horrific things. What you hear oftentimes from these victims is that the only way they survive is to escape; their minds are someplace else while their bodies are still there. The most horrific crimes I've ever worked is human trafficking. I've had to do a lot of things in law enforcement and in my career; I've got the badges and the t-shirts to prove it, and I've never worked a darker crime than [human trafficking]—the toll that it takes on the humanity of a person…it’s beyond unbelievable. RM: What can people do to help? AW: We have to end this crime.

Continued on page 23

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...and sets the record straight Continued from page 22

There are a number of things. Number one I would say is to educate oneself on what to look for, and if you begin to see those indicators, make the call. There's

a National Human Trafficking Hotline number, 888-373-7888;

it takes seconds to call. Those couple of minutes on the phone reporting suspicious activity will trigger a task force response or law enforcement response and could save somebody's life. Support local front-line organizations who are rescuing and restoring the victims. There are a number of those out there doing that. Things of that nature are lifelines to these organizations who are taking care of minor girls between the ages of 12 and 17, some who haven’t had their own underwear since they were three years old. To be able to go

and pick out their own sheets and to be able to lie in a warm bed at night and not have the fear of being raped that night makes a world of difference. People can get involved by raising goods, raising money and volunteering time to these organizations on a local level. Bill Cronin, President and CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council has been involved in the fight to end human trafficking for five years, is a member of Operation Liberate based in Atlanta, a Board member of RenewPasco, and member of the Pasco County Commission on Human Trafficking. RM: Bill, what can you tell us about Pasco County and their efforts to end human trafficking, at least in our area?

for the activity to take place, so if you take the ground away from them, they have to go somewhere else. They’ll still do it somewhere else, but it might deter someone from getting the services, making it harder for everyone involved. Communities aren’t networked with other communities well enough to see the patterns or talk to each other about best practices either, so I teach other communities how to create ordinances such as nuisance abatement against ‘massage parlors’ and hotels to get them shut down. The more private or dark the room is, the more violence happens. Requiring ordinances prohibiting tinted windows and requiring a certain amount of windows helps some. RM: What should residents of Tampa Bay know?

Bill Cronin (BC): We can create ordinances to make it more difficult

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BC: The average age of most victims is 13, and the life expectancy while being trafficked is 7 years because of suicide, violence, drugs and disease. If a girl is trafficked at 12 years old, there’s a good chance she won’t live to be 20. I implore you, the reader, to do something. Perhaps that’s simply to share this article in an online post or in a conversation. Perhaps you’re motivated to send money or supplies to an anti-trafficking organization. Perhaps you’ll volunteer your time or talents. Perhaps you’ll monitor your child’s social media presence more closely, or look for warning signs in their friend’s behavior. There are many things you can do, much of which costs nothing but a small amount of your time. Let’s link arms as a community and stand up for our kids. I’ll see you at Light Up The Night on January 14th (see ad for details)!

January 2017 | Page 23


TH E YO GA CO R N E R

Resolution: Increase income Intention: I am open to receiving all opportunities

A

As in a yoga pose that is held longer cultivates energy (you know this is happening when the shaking begins), when you create an intention, direct your attention, then energy automatically follows and builds. You may label this sensation as momentum! Once your intention is set, consider writing it on stickies and placing it in areas to remind you (for example, on your bathroom mirror, computer screen, refrigerator, or car dashboard). However, the best place to plant your intention is in a meditation while the mind is quiet and your higher self can hear it, accept it, actualize, and fulfill on it.

NEW YEAR

C

INTENTION

an we all agree that making a New Year’s resolution rarely works, if ever? You can find quotes from brain scientists, psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, and a plethora of other coaches that will tell you, in no uncertain terms, the top reasons why resolutions do not work: too lofty, too isolated, too specific, lack a plan, not believing in yourself, attached to the result, etc. Also, many resolutions are a compensation for what one doesn’t have or has too much: money, weight, exercise, or stress.

intention is a tool to help you move away from where you don’t want your attention and energy to go and place it where you do want it to go. Simple, right? Take a moment to consider where you put attention that doesn’t serve you. Where could you redirect that attention to bring more fulfillment and joy to your life? Deepak Chopra states that “the sages of India observed thousands of years ago that our destiny is ultimately shaped by our deepest intentions.” Be clear and stay focused on where you put your attention.

Let’s take a moment and BREATHE away all of the past unresolved resolutions, promises, and commitments made to oneself in previous Januarys. Let them go.

Unlike resolutions that can leave you powerless and defeated when you “cheat, slip, or do not achieve the result,” an intention is reality-friendly. Even detours can move you in the direction of your intention. Intentions allow you to enjoy and even celebrate the process, while setting timebound goals can be limiting and result in self-judgement, negative self-talk, and a sense of failure. If you remain focused on your intention, can you allow the universe to handle the details and detach from the specific result?

Now, we’ll take a different approach to designing the new year: setting an INTENTION. According to the dictionary, the noun intention means an aim. In yoga, we define intention as the “conscious direction of attention to create helpful outcomes.” As Yogi Amrit Desai explains, an Page 24 | January 2017

Shift your resolution to an intention and create an intention that speaks to the higher power in you. Below are three examples: Resolution: Lose 25 pounds or exercise three times a week Intention: I nurture my body with healthy choices Resolution: No stressing out this year Intention: I allow my body and mind to relax

At Wellcome OM Yoga & Wellness Studio, we will be setting intentions during private and public classes in January. Visit our facebook page for class details. Kim Thompson Author and Owner

Wellcome OM Studio for Yoga & Wellness

813.789.5582 wellcomeOM@gmail.com facebook.com/wellcomeom

BEGINNER COURSES STARTING SOON!

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S P I R I T U A L Others enjoy the challenge of doing or thinking or being something new.

do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know I have been praying the nothing about it. Therefore will following prayer by Thomas I trust you always, though I Merton, 1915-1968, A Trappist may seem to be lost and in the Monk of the Abbey of shadow of death. I will not fear, Gethsemani, Kentucky. I resolve for you are ever with me, and to pray it every January 2017 you will never leave me to face day. I hope it is a blessing to you. my perils alone." Happy New Year.

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."

"I

Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist

t is difficult to live in the present, ridiculous to live in the future, and impossible to live in the past. Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.” Jim Bishop, American journalist and author

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” Ellen Goodman, American journalist A new year, when we learn to say “2017.” One of my favorite weeks of the year is between Christmas and New Year’s Day. It’s typically quieter than other times, more laid back though

not reliably so. We start to clean up our holiday, carefully put away things we won’t see for another year, and enjoy the niceties we received as thoughtful gifts from beloved family and friends.

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never

Rev. Laurie Palmer Pastor St. Andrew Presbyterian Church 5340 Primrose Lake Circle Tampa, FL 33647 813-513-8822

This year, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are on Sunday. At our place of worship, we’ll have Communion on January 1, 2017 and use the day to sanctify, to set apart for God’s use, the year to come. For good or for ill, we have no idea what the days ahead have in store. Jim Bishop is right: it’s hard to live now, but living into the future is ridiculous because we cannot see it, and it’s impossible to step back into the past. How much of our fear and our anxieties could rest if we focused on the day at hand? That’s the language of a dreamer because so much of life requires planning ahead—but every single day does not have to be about that. It can be about the day itself. Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Some folks resolve never to make resolutions thus keeping every one perfectly.

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January 2017 | Page 25


Artists Little

1st graders from one of our local schools put pencils and crayons to paper, creating beautiful works of art.

Page 26 | January 2017

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Page Page 28 28 || January January 2017 2017

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January 2017 | Page 29


PET OF THE MONTH

This little guy is a local resident, Teresa’s dog, Milo. He is 7 months old and he loves to sleep, run around in circles and give kisses!

MILO Would you like for your pet or child to be featured in our Pet & Kid of the Month section? If so, please send us 2-7 sentences about your pet or child along with a high resolution image to editorial@residentmagazine.net by the 15th of each month.

BOOKS OF THE MONTH

The Wizard's Dog

Max the Blue Jay

by Eric Kahn Gale Meet Nosewise. He’s spunky. He’s curious. And he’s a dog who can’t understand why his pack mates Merlin and Morgana spend all day practicing magic tricks. If it’s a trick they want, he’s the dog to ask! He can already Sit!, Stay!, and Roll Over! But there’s no way Nosewise is Staying when his master and best friend, Merlin, is kidnapped. There’s nothing Nosewise won’t do to get Merlin back, even if it means facing the strange Fae people and their magiceating worms, or tangling with the mysterious Sword in the Stone. But it may take more than sniffing out a spell to do it! Nosewise’s hilarious escapades and steadfast loyalty get him and his companions through King Arthur’s Dark Ages.

by Karlin Housen Karlin Housen along with her son Karryl Eugene is the founder of Brooklyn Publishing, LLC. The company's first book series is titled, "Max the Blue Jay." They launched Max the Blue Jay is Not Having a Good Day on Nov. 21st, 2016. All illustrations in their books are crafted by hand, made with love to show children the power of kindness and its place in their lives.

Page 30 | January 2017

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It's movie

time January 2017 OPENING NIGHTS

Hidden Figures January 6

Live by Night January 13

Patriots Day January 13

Monster Trucks January 13

xXx 3: The Return Resident Evil: The of Xander Cage Final Chapter January 20 January 27 WWW.RESIDENTMAGAZINE.NET | FOR RATES & INFO CALL: 813-422-5551

January 2017 | Page 31


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Resident Magazine Issue 21  

Ring in the New Year with our latest issue featuring Christa Hernandez a woman that SURVIVED Human Trafficking...and sets the record straigh...

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