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Congresswoman Lois Frankel On Capitol Chaos, Sex Trafficking And COVID, Staying Fit While Working from Home

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(Jason Andrew/The New York Times) JASON ANDREW NYT
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Members of a pro-Trumb mob climb the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Not long after Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned his Republican colleagues that their efforts to overturn an election would send democracy into a “death spiral,” fear surged through the Senate chamber.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel on Wednesday's attack on Capitol Hill. The Coronavirus pandemic has worsened sex trafficking in South Florida. We get tips and tricks on working out from home during quarantine.

Capitol Chaos

A mob of Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol Wednesday in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the official certification of Joe Biden’s electoral college victory. Democratic Congresswoman Lois Frankel, representing parts of Palm Beach County, was in D.C. for the vote and was forced to shelter in place for five hours.

“There was an alert that said ‘Shelter in place. Don’t go near the doors or windows.’ We barricaded the doors and windows. We were completely left to our own devices,” said Frankel on Sundial.

The vote was delayed until late in the evening as Capitol Police spent hours clearing individuals out of the building. The Senate and House certified all of the electoral college votes, despite the fact that several members of the Florida delegation voted against certification. We spoke with Frankel about yesterday’s chaos at the Capitol and what’s being done to ensure a safe inauguration and transfer of power.

Sex Trafficking and COVID

Like many other kinds of crime, sex trafficking has actually increased over the course of the pandemic. But the way that traffickers are targeting children has largely shifted to online spaces, a tactic used to meet the changes we’ve made in our daily lives.

Project GOLD is a program run by the Miami-based nonprofit Kristi House. The program is a kind of drop-in facility used to provide services to survivors of human trafficking. The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County named Project GOLD as the top nonprofit program for 2020.

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Kristi House
Thousands of children have come through the Kristi House program over the years to receive emotional counseling and support.

“You’re on social media and you think you’re talking to somebody and really you’re talking to somebody entirely different, you don’t know who you’re talking to. And it’s really really scary, especially for children,” said Amanda G. Altman, the CEO of Kristi House. “They’re always looking for vulnerable people, so people who may have a home life that isn’t stable, kids who are in foster care, kids who are in single parent homes.”

She said an added impact of the pandemic on sex trafficking and human trafficking among children is that teachers, coaches and other adults have less face-to-face time with children, making it more difficult to identify red flags. Also, high-risk children who live in troubled homes are increasingly finding themselves stuck in difficult situations, without as many reasons to leave the home.

Staying Fit While Working From Home

As the coronavirus pandemic has limited our access to pools, gyms and basketball courts, many are struggling to remain physically active during quarantine.

Dr. Kysha Harriel is a clinical professor, athletic trainer and exercise physiologist at the University of Miami. She explained how the pandemic has forced many of us to get creative in our exercise routines.

“You may not have weights at home but you may have a huge jar or can that weighs enough. Using your body weight to get moving and do some exercises, there are ways to make it happen,” said Harriel on Sundial.

Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.
Danny Rivero