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Meet Alma and Larry Tucker of International Network of Hearts in Eastlake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alma and Larry Tucker.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Alma and Larry. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started as a former investigative officer for the Child Protection Unit with the Mexican Consulate General in San Diego, CA. I am the founder and President of International Network of Hearts (INH) based in San Diego, CA, and Tijuana, Mexico. I have over 25 years of experience assisting victims of human trafficking and advocating for their rights within the border region of Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, CA. I also founded La Casa Del Jardin, the only group homes in Baja California designed for children and young adults ages 18 to 24 years old who survived human trafficking.

Through the International Network of Hearts, we provide training and education at an interdisciplinary and binational level to authorities, civic groups, church organizations and the public/private sector. The organization started in 2011 as a small family non-profit with the intention of simply spreading awareness. The organization now runs three shelters. One for boys, one for girls, and one for young adults. Over the years, I have become a leader in the subject of human trafficking in the region of San Diego/Tijuana.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There have been too many struggles to keep track of; however it is important to mention that Human Trafficking is a subject not too many people want to talk about. The topic can be controversial and many seem afraid and find it painful to speak on it. Also, there is a lot of corruption and many people with power are involved in this injustice. In Baja California, we are the only organization fighting against human trafficking. It is not a coincidence that we are the only organization doing this. People tend to look the other way and not many people want to support an origination like ours. Many times people have made us promises and didn’t follow through on them because they don’t believe it is meaningful. Recently in Mexico’s government decided to cut funding entirely.

Most people don’t understand the type of restorative care a child needs after the type of abuse that our survivors have dealt with. Finding and funding doctors, therapists, and full-time caregivers is a never-ending challenge. We have been fighting to make changes in legislation to make it easier to start a safe home in San Diego for children. The way things are currently set up do not make it easy to get funding and permits. This is a constant speed bump.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with International Network of Hearts – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Being bi-national has been one of our greatest advantages for our non-profit because we are able to expand and connect with more people on the topic of human trafficking. International Network of Hearts is known for providing an array of comprehensive programs and specialized services to assist survivors of human trafficking.

What sets us apart is that we are able to partner with a myriad of agencies in both Mexico and the U.S. By doing so it gives us the opportunity to coordinate a series of binational forums, training workshops, and conferences in collaboration with high-level governmental officials and law enforcement from both sides of the border.

What I am most proud of as a company is that we are able to impact lives and given the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our survivors. The fact that we can create hope and show them the possibilities makes me the happiest.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We hope to create our “Forever Home” also known as the compound home where we will be able to combine the homes and schooling and more importantly have a place of our own where we are official owners of the house and not be worried of the possibility of it get taken away.

Another project in-store would be to open a shelter in San Diego and have the possibility for our organization to really thrive in both Mexico and the U.S.

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