SCV Human Trafficking Task Force visits hotels on V-Day 

Human Trafficking Task Force visits hotels on V-Day By Perry Smith Senior Staff Writer The Santa Clarita Valley Human Trafficking Task Force sought to spread love and care on Valentine’s Day with a gift for local hotels and motels — information to protect against and raise awareness about victims the group is trying to help. The task force Wednesday was looking to support recent laws aimed at trafficking adults and children, including Assembly Bill 2034, which requires certain businesses to alert staff and any potential customers to indications of human trafficking, as well as undergo training to spot the warning signs. The group made a list of 20 SCV hotels and motels and set out to do just that, supplied with posters and tape, in case any managers were willing to let the group put up the legally required notice provided by a local chapter of ZOE International, an agency that fights child trafficking. The organizer, Pastor Dan Broyles of Valencia Hills Community Church, said the day chosen was incidental to the romantic holiday — he just wanted to organize a day when people could attend and when he thought managers might be in the office. All the establishments were given a heads up on the visits ahead of time, he said. The reception the group received Wednesday ranged from politely taking the posters on warning signs and saying another supervisor would have to sign off on it, to the Days Inn in Castaic, where the general manager spoke with the group, asked questions and then allowed them to post information in the lobby and restroom. State laws require businesses, including airports, transit centers, truck stops, bars, hotels and others to post information about human trafficking, as well as local resources. But the group just wanted to share a gentle reminder, and maybe follow up if there were any questions or concerns. “We’re not law enforcement, and we don’t threaten,” said Larry Schallert, who recently retired as assistant director of the student health and program at College of the Canyons, in explaining the instructions to the group before they headed out to talk to hotel managers. “We just want to help them out,” Broyles said. Community outreach efforts like this one are the main goal of the task force, said Broyles, who started the group in 2015 with Schallert. Something Broyles mentioned more than once in the pre-canvass discussion with volunteers is that one of the perceptions the group battles is the SCV is a nice, low-crime area, which is why that kind of crime doesn’t happen here. The exact opposite is true, group members said, with Broyles saying he hears about cases involving local trafficking victims monthly from his contacts in the county’s Department of Child and Family Services. “It’s almost like an undiscovered cancer,” Broyles said, talking about the danger of that misconception. “So, it can grow, if people aren’t looking for it or no one notices it.” The members were encouraged by the results, with one hotel employee, who mentioned she was planning to attend COC, saying she would have to ask permission before posting. She had already received the required training, but still took a minute to take some pictures of the poster. “If we didn’t do anything else, we informed management about trafficking and the law, so we brought awareness,” Schallert said, “and then when we were giving out the information on human trafficking, you could tell they wanted to read it and they were taking pictures. My sense is that it was very successful.” Pastor Dan Broyles of Valencia Hills Community Church speaks with Larry Schallert ahead of their outreach on Wednesday. Perry Smith/The Signal
Pastor Dan Broyles of Valencia Hills Community Church speaks with Larry Schallert ahead of their outreach on Wednesday. Perry Smith/The Signal
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The Santa Clarita Valley Human Trafficking Task Force sought to spread love and care on Valentine’s Day with a gift for local hotels and motels — information to protect against and raise awareness about victims the group is trying to help. 

The task force Wednesday was looking to support recent laws aimed at trafficking adults and children, including Assembly Bill 2034, which requires certain businesses to alert staff and any potential customers to indications of human trafficking, as well as undergo training to spot the warning signs. 

The group made a list of 20 SCV hotels and motels and set out to do just that, supplied with posters and tape, in case any managers were willing to let the group put up the legally required notice provided by a local chapter of ZOE International, an agency that fights child trafficking. 

Larry Schallert and Jeanae Ruddell put up a poster inside the Days Inn in Castaic. Perry Smith/The Signal
Larry Schallert and Jeanae Ruddell put up a poster inside the Days Inn in Castaic. Perry Smith/The Signal

The organizer, Pastor Dan Broyles of Valencia Hills Community Church, said the day chosen was incidental to the romantic holiday — he just wanted to organize a day when people could attend and when he thought managers might be in the office. 

All the establishments were given a heads up on the visits ahead of time, he said. 

The reception the group received Wednesday ranged from politely taking the posters on warning signs and saying another supervisor would have to sign off on it, to the Days Inn in Castaic, where the general manager spoke with the group, asked questions and then allowed them to post information in the lobby and restroom. 

State laws require businesses, including airports, transit centers, truck stops, bars, hotels and others to post information about human trafficking, as well as local resources. But the group just wanted to share a gentle reminder, and maybe follow up if there were any questions or concerns.  

“We’re not law enforcement, and we don’t threaten,” said Larry Schallert, who recently retired as assistant director of the student health and program at College of the Canyons, in explaining the instructions to the group before they headed out to talk to hotel managers. 

“We just want to help them out,” Broyles said. 

Community outreach efforts like this one are the main goal of the task force, said Broyles, who started the group in 2015 with Schallert. 

Something Broyles mentioned more than once in the pre-canvass discussion with volunteers is that one of the perceptions the group battles is the SCV is a nice, low-crime area, which is why that kind of crime doesn’t happen here.  

The exact opposite is true, group members said, with Broyles saying he hears about cases involving local trafficking victims monthly from his contacts in the county’s Department of Child and Family Services. 

“It’s almost like an undiscovered cancer,” Broyles said, talking about the danger of that misconception. “So, it can grow, if people aren’t looking for it or no one notices it.” 

The members were encouraged by the results, with one hotel employee, who mentioned she was planning to attend COC, saying she would have to ask permission before posting. She had already received the required training, but still took a minute to take some pictures of the poster. 

“If we didn’t do anything else, we informed management about trafficking and the law, so we brought awareness,” Schallert said, “and then when we were giving out the information on human trafficking, you could tell they wanted to read it and they were taking pictures. My sense is that it was very successful.” 

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