The following is a guest post from Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST).
It’s not always easy to see—and it is incredibly prevalent. Traffickers take advantage of the privacy and anonymity offered by the hotel industry to exploit vulnerable youth. They work hard to operate discreetly, so that hotel staff and other guests can miss the signs of child sex trafficking, and because the victims are children, they are often too fearful to summon help from strangers. Hotel staff need to be able to recognize the warning signs of child sex trafficking, so they are able to help victims, protect their hotel’s brand reputation, and keep all hotel guests and employees safe.
While any child can become a victim of trafficking, youth who are homeless or runaways, LGBTQ, African American, Latino, Native American, and children who have been in the foster care system are most vulnerable to this type of exploitation. The sheer number of children being sex trafficked in the United States is troubling. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, they received reports totaling 5,544 potential cases of human trafficking in 2015. Of those tips, 1,621 cases involved children. And those are just the cases that are reported to the tip line. The problem is actually much larger. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says that 1 out of every 6 of the 18,500 children who were reported missing in 2017 were victims of child sex trafficking.
Not only are these numbers staggering, but the negative impact this kind of sexual abuse and trauma has on children is abhorrent. Jane Charles, co-founder of the non-profit organization, StolenYouth, puts the problem into perspective, “People are selling children to other people so that those people can then have sex with them. This is the human rights issue of our time. Good people who see this happening must speak up and be the voice for vulnerable children.” Hotel staff who have daily interaction with guests are in a unique position to be that voice if they suspect potential child sex trafficking.
Know the warning signs
Anyone under the age of 18 engaging in a commercial sex act is a victim of human trafficking, with no exceptions. The following is a list describing some warning signs hotel employees can be aware of to help recognize a minor who is potentially being sex trafficked.
Provide employee training
It’s important that all hotel employees receive human trafficking awareness training, and that training is offered frequently and when new employees join a hotel staff. Dr. Mar Brettmann, the Executive Director for BEST, says that proper employee training can change staff attitudes about prostitution. “There is a mistaken belief that prostitution is a victimless crime, which can cause some staff to fail to act. Training helps shift the attitudes about sexual exploitation and fosters empathy for the people who are being exploited,” Brettmann explains. “This is especially important when the person being exploited is a minor, because children cannot consent to a commercial sex act. If they are under 18, it’s always going to be a human trafficking situation.”
BEST offers Inhospitable to Human Trafficking, a 30-minute online hotel employee training course that can be taken individually or in a group training led by a manager. The training is available in English or Spanish, and it has been proven to increase hotel employee reporting. Researchers from the University of Washington evaluated BEST's hotel training and found significant social change as a result of the training. Employees were more comfortable coming forward to report incidents to their mangers, with surveys showing that 8% of participants reported an incident before taking BEST’s training, compared with 44% reporting a potential human trafficking incident after training. In addition, 96% of hotel employee participants believe that the training makes their hotel safer.
Work with law enforcement
When employees feel encouraged to come forward and report potential child sex trafficking to managers, hotels should have a plan in place for how mangers will report the suspected trafficking to authorities. Not only is this important for recovering missing and exploited children, but it’s essential the hotel respond appropriately in order to protect their liability if a child is being abused on their property.
Misidentifying an incident is a fear for many hotel managers. The best solution is for employees to report suspected incidents to managers, and managers be trained to quickly yet calmly report the suspected trafficking to local law enforcement. Good communication and strong relationships with law enforcement are key. Hotel managers can foster a relationship with their local law enforcement before an incident arises to make sure they are reporting correctly. If appropriate, mangers can request law enforcement come without sirens to keep the situation from escalating for the victim as well as other guests. But if a hotel manager believes a child is actively being abused, Brettmann urges them to err on the side of action. “If a child is in an emergency situation, we recommend hotel managers call 911 immediately. Increasingly, states have laws that hold the hotel owners accountable if their staff fail to make that call.” Brettmann says. Hotels that have a plan in place to intervene and report child sex trafficking to law enforcement will be taking a critical step in helping recover young victims.
4KIDS is propelled by the vision of “A Home for Every Child”. 4KIDS looks to connect kids to a home and most of all, hope. Since 1997, They were created to bring hope and justice to underprivileged kids. They help find a safe and secure environment for thousands of babies, kids, teens, and young adults every year. This new home provides a place to heal and renew their sense of value in their hearts. Also, 4KIDS families aren’t in just one location, they’re spread across 6 Florida counties.
Several family-style homes are also supported by 4KIDS. These homes keep siblings together, because families aren’t meant to be split, they’re meant to be together. They also offer troubled teens a family and give a haven for girls at risk of human trafficking. 4KIDS also provides guidance, support and a haven for the many young women facing unplanned pregnancies in our communities every day. When foster kids age out at 18, 4KIDS offer the Spirit of Success Institute with Independent Living Homes to equip young adults with helpful life skills."
Read Full Story
For information about how every sip fights trafficking - Check out our story. You can feel good about it over great coffee.
About the Author
Liberty University, Digital Journalism & Media Studies
College Summer Internship Program
"I only drink Singe Origin," a coffee enthusiast recently shared. It was obvious that this was important to them. I can enjoy a S.O. Indonesian espresso myself. 'Blending Basics' article quotes, "A high quality Arabica coffee should be able to stand alone; it should have good clean flavor, good aromatics, body and aftertaste." I agree. Although single origins can be "sought after" by coffee drinkers, is a Mélange wrong? No, I just think different.
Mélange, derived from French word 'meler' meaning to mix or used as a noun to mean a medley, is what coffee experts refer to the blending of coffee beans. Blending beans allows one to achieve and outcome that they could not obtain when roasting a single origin bean.
Different origin beans carry within them different characteristics such as aroma that not all beans share. Although this is not exhaustive list, here a few determiners.
- Soil content
- Global Origin
- Bean Processing
- Bean type, Arabica vs. Robusta
Arabica is generally grown in higher altitudes while Robusta lower with far more rainfall. Robusta has 2X the concentration of caffeine and Chlorogenic Acids (CGA) compared to Arabica. However, Arabica beans have 60% more lipids and almost 2X more sucrose than Robusta. Lastly Arabica is self-pollinating which means the plant will have fewer mutations and fewer variations throughout its life cycle as compared to Robusta. These will play a role in the roasting process of the bean.
Here is a great reason to blend beans. Suppose you wanted a coffee with citrus or fruit undertones found in Central and South American beans but also wanted a chocolaty or nutty flavor, which is found in an Indonesian bean or earthy tone of an Ethiopian, you couldn’t achieve this with a single origin bean.
Roasting temperature is another factor to consider when blending and roasting. For example, if you wanted to combine beans and desired a hint of dark roast without “killing” the aroma and taste of the other beans, you would roast that bean separately from the others then blend beans. Although we usually do not roast our beans FULL CITY (aka dark) because we feel it loses much of its true aroma and flavor, here's an idea for a blend that has dark roast flavors, good body, and an acidy snap to it:
40% Colombian, Nicaraguan or Brazilian roasted Full City to preserve body
30% Mexican (or other mild Central American) roasted French for sharp, carbony flavors.
30% Kenya Estate roasted City for bright acidy snap (var. bright Costa Rican or other Central American)
One of my personal favorite roasts we carry is Old Town – It is a unique blend of Sumatra, Kenya, Columbian and Coast Rica. Roasted medium. Yes, MEDIUM. Typically, most of our blends are a two bean blend. On occasion, we will blend three beans but we don't go beyond a four.
The Bottom Line
“Melanging” isn’t a bad idea just different, like a bean. When combining beans, the uniqueness of one origin mixing with the unique traits of another can make for a delicious brew. To see our current offerings Visit our store .
Special thanks to Coffeebeanblog, Sweet Maria's and Coffeechemistry for research materials.
If you are visiting our page for the first time, you will quickly realize that we roast with a purpose. We understand this TOPIC is uneasy for many to read about and we know some may be offended that we are "BLOGGING" to bring awareness, however, we are firm that every life does matter and we want to be the voice for those who have no voice and also help educate families.
I call this post Invisible Chains because someone recently asked, "Why don't they just run away from the people have stolen them?" Although the answer may seem simple to someone who IS NOT held captive, the answer IS NOT that simple. Although chains and ropes are often used to hold victims in captivity, the real danger is the Invisible Chains, the PURPOSED psychological brainwashing of the victim.
What fits the profile of a trafficked victim? There is NO PROFILE. They can be male/female, documented/US citizen, cross socio-economic backgrounds; there is NO single profile. Most victims are American and are being domestically trafficked. because anyone can be trafficked. Anyone.
One of the organizations we support, Hepzibah House, was recently interviewed on Channel 5 news. I have known founder, Becky Dymond for over 15 years. I am posting this interview because it gives a clearer understanding of what is actually happening in OUR local communities.
Blooming Bean is passionate about our cause to help advocate and fight child trafficking in the United States by financially supporting organizations, like Hepzibah House and Grace Place School, which are making a REAL difference to rescue, bring healing and restore survivors so they can Bloom into WHO they were truly meant to be. We roast for you, our customer, with them in mind.
Got a call from a customer this morning. She remarked that she did not see the oil rise from our beans like she normally sees in "XYZ" Company's beans. Emphatically I commented., "You shouldn't". She was a bit shocked because she thought it was the "sign" for dark bold delicious coffee. Breaking it to her gently, I said, if you see oil rising that is THE SIGN that they are ruined, over-roasted AND just plan bad coffee.
The truth is that anyone could take the bait, it has been sold to us that it is good. I know I was once a BELIEVER! So I thought if this customer thought that, then perhaps others may believe that also. So in attempt to clarify, I found a great article by Nicholas Thompson and thought to share an excerpt of his writings since he said it so poignantly.
'Do Me a Favor. Stop Buying Bad Coffee'
..."Any self-respecting barista should be concerned primarily with quality. It's the cornerstone of the industry.... But if there is one notion, one overarching fallacy about coffee that the consumer must come to understand, it is that dark roast coffee is not only bad, but it is disrespectful.
Yep. Dark roast is terrible in more ways than one. Sorry folks. Your oily, burnt French and Italian roasts are the antithesis of what today's coffee should be. It's not your fault that you've been told to enjoy this stuff for so long. The Big Guys, in the early 2000's (and well before, in fact), redefined the cafe scene by utilizing this greasy roasting profile for a couple of reasons. For one, coffee roasted darker and longer is easier to produce consistently on a mass scale. Plus, roasting it for as long as they do reduces its mass. That makes it cheaper to ship all over the world.
Because coffee is a sensitive, fragile plant, a good farm devotes an unspeakable amount of manpower and resources in order to produce a quality lot. Farmers must pay specialized processing facilities to prepare the raw fruit before it even leaves the country of origin. Superior quality Arabica strain only grows at higher altitudes, so often times these hand-picked cherry are hauled down the sides of mountains upon the backs of mules and the heads of laborers. We as baristas, roasters and consumers must honor that. It is the very least we can do. When these valuable beans are roasted into dark, smokey blends, we begin to lose sight of how this product is supposed to taste -- what it is supposed to be in the first place."
Read the article in its entirety at Do Me a Favor. Stop Buying Bad Coffee.
Anyone can bloom coffee right at home. Why would you want to bother blooming your ground coffee? Well once you do it, it will be hard not to go back! The taste is like no other, however, the intensity of the taste and aroma is in the "freshness" of your beans.
How to craft a smooth, non bitter, full-bodied coffee instead of a bitter or murky cup of JOE is first knowing how the process works which is called the coffee "bloom".
What makes coffee bloom?
When green coffee beans are roasted, during the the intense roasting process carbon dioxide is released and the bean's aroma and taste get trapped. After the roasting, the gases begin to release, however, not until the beans are bloomed can that flavor and aroma be unlocked. This process is referred to as degassing.
The next key blooming process occurs when hot water touches the freshly ground coffee. This will unlock the intense aroma and taste of the beans. Although it is a simple process, this is the point where most coffee enthusiasts pay particular attention.
What can I use to bloom my coffee?
If you When I first learned about blooming, I only had a coffee maker, measuring cup,, thermometer and microwave. (Don't cringe!) I was so eager to try it, I went home, poured 2 ounces of water in a glass measuring cup, heated for 2 minutes, took the temperature -set at 200, got MY fresh beans and went at it with my coffee maker!
For the fear I may loose some readers, I now have a goose-neck variable temp. kettle (which I love)! Makes a great gift!
You can bloom your coffee using a variety of methods: drip, pour over, Aero Press or French Press and others. It really is just preference. I use drip and pour-over more often. There are a few tools that come in handy; a thermometer, measuring cup, a timer and for those die-hard Bloomers, a scale and kettle.
Again, this is actually SIMPLE. Takes a little time but worth it.
Blooming Basics 101 - Pour Over Method, French Press, Drip
There are many techniques as many coffee aficionados will tell you, however, but we've outlined a few basic techniques. Just to note: when I am use the drip or pour over method in the mornings. I keep closely to the same routine. (Manageable in the mornings)
No matter your brewing technique, with fresh roasted and ground coffee, I guarantee that you will notice a better taste in your cup if you follow a simple coffee blooming technique.
Don't be afraid! Experiment with soak times and other techniques that works best for YOU because is Coffee is an adventure!
Have a question? Comment here or email us?
Time to drink an awesome cup of Joe.... or Jill!
Share Your Bloom!
Fresh Roasted Beans VS. Ground Coffee