We are excited to announce that the Kern County Daughter Project Shelter received its licensing right before the turn of the New Year. What a way to start off 2017. Thank you for the part you have played in laying down a firm foundation for Kern County's only shelter for runaway and homeless youth, a safe place for young victims of trafficking and abuse. But there is still much more we need to accomplish right here in Kern County. Now January has been proclaimed as the “Human Trafficking Awareness Month,” a title that emphasizes the need to destigmatize discussions about human trafficking and call attention to key facts and realities about human slavery. This is an awkward conversation to have, but the continued silence that impedes conversations about slavery don't only cause the scourge of human trafficking to slip our minds, they create an environment in which unendurable oppression and incomprehensible injustices flourish. Identification of trafficking victims is critical ensuring both the protection of the rights of trafficked persons and the successful prosecution of the traffickers. Public awareness is one of the most important tools in fighting this horrible crime and while not a comprehensive list, these are some key red flags as well as some questions you may ask to alert you to a potential trafficking situation potentially. One day, our hope is that “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” becomes obsolescent because human trafficking is stamped out and there is no longer a need for such a month. It is important that we take the opportunity to remove ourselves from the daily madness of our lives and pivot our time, energies and resource to brainstorming and investing in concrete solutions to the problems of human trafficking right here in our backyard. Will you raise awareness of and work to end the terror of human trafficking, in January 2017 and beyond?