Men Standing Against Trafficking (MSAT) is an initiative birthed from the CARE 18, a multi-sector collaborative committed to mobilizing faith and community advocates to support the efforts of service providers, government and law enforcement agencies fighting local human trafficking.
The idea came from Brad Fieldhouse, who is currently the executive director of City Net, and based on some initiatives that were done years earlier and centered on ending or at least reducing homicides in Compton. The idea to get men involved in the fight against human trafficking is key and strategic, as they provide most of the demand side of sex trafficking. There is a lot of work being done on the other end of things as well, including but not limited to legal advocacy, policy change, rehabilitation and healing for survivors, job training, etc.
However, when it comes to actually preventing human trafficking in the first place, there is room for improvement. That is where MSAT comes in.
The idea is threefold:
• To stand at or near trafficking hotspots to raise awareness in communities where trafficking is happening so those communities will engage in the fight against it as well.
• To stand as witnesses against the perpetrators in those communities who are paying money to have sex with trafficking victims (many of them underage…or were when they were coerced into it).
• To provide a first experience and next steps for men who want to get involved in this battle but have traditionally been on the sidelines, or worse, the main perpetrators.
The actual process of a stand involves gathering men for a brief introduction to the issue of sex trafficking and how they can fight it. They then grab some signs (e.g. Men Standing Against Trafficking, Real Men Don’t Buy Girls, etc.), go to an intersection, and stand as a silent witness for an hour and 18 minutes. The timing is specific to remind the men why they are there — to stand for the victims of CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children), kids 18 and under. They have flyers available for people who want to know more, and they are usually well-received. There have been incidents with people countering the groups, but even more examples of people who have been inspired, educated, and blown away by this grassroots movement.
The initial stand was in June 2015 at MacArthur Park. For the first year, it gained momentum with numbers and circle of influence, moving from hotspot to hotspot monthly: Hollywood, Long Beach, South LA, Pomona, Pasadena, Van Nuys, and Santa Ana. Eventually, the organization came to a point where it could multiply — meeting at various geographies in the same month.
Currently, there are five MSAT sites which meet quarterly: Pasadena, Orange County, Pomona, Long Beach, and South LA.
If you are interested in starting a new MSAT in your community, please contact Bryan Cullison at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the following websites to learn more:
Headline banner photo: Toviah Photography/Albert Halim.