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NYATN Supports the Rights of Immigrant Families

NY Anti-Trafficking Network has released a statement supporting the rights of immigrants. We are speaking out against any plans for a repeal of DACA, which protects young people who came to the United States as children:

In this country we value opportunity. We value people who make their communities better. That is who DACA recipients are.

All young people deserve the right to pursue their dreams and live in safety. We, as advocates for survivors of human trafficking and their children, support the continuation of DACA to ensure the safety and security of the families we serve.

DACA allows trafficking victims security to come forward to access justice. It allows the vulnerable family members of trafficked people much needed protection.

Congress should move to protect DACA recipients.

  • Traffickers use immigration status to exploit workers. 56% of Dreamers report moving to jobs with better working conditions upon receiving DACA.
  • Trafficking victims will be less likely to come forward to report crimes to authorities if DACA recipients are punished. These Dreamers identified themselves voluntarily, trusting that our government would not penalize them for it.  
  • Without DACA, Dreamers will stop reporting wage theft and other crimes against them, leaving workplaces vulnerable to increased exploitation. Workers rights are always important; the contributions of immigrants of all backgrounds are what make us an innovative society.

Annie Wang, staff attorney in Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Immigrant Access to Justice program, said:

I’ve seen firsthand how this program has transformed the lives of my clients. Thanks to DACA these young people have been able to pursue higher education, find meaningful employment, help their families, and otherwise more fully contribute to our society.

Congress must promote a practical solution to stand by the values of this country and our commitment to the right to live free from exploitation. The DREAM Act and the American Hope Act are bipartisan measures, that mesh with practical policies already undertaken in many cities and towns, to ensure young people can pursue their dreams.

Tell your member of Congress to vote to protect Dreamers.  

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#TalkTraffic: What Should You Do If You See Someone You Think May Be Trafficked?

This is the tenth video in our 10-part #TalkTraffic video series, which we are releasing on Human Trafficking Awareness Day (January 11, 2017). See Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

At NY Anti-Trafficking Network, people ask us all the time, “What should I do if I see or meet someone who may be trafficked? How do I help in the moment?” It can be difficult to tell if a person has been trafficked, and it takes time and understanding to see how you can help. Learn more about how you can support someone you think may be a victim or survivor of trafficking.

What You Need To Know

If you see someone you think may be trafficked, it’s a good thing you are showing compassion and interest in your fellow community members. But it’s important to stay calm and not to panic, and to think carefully about what that person might need, rather than rushing in to help.

  • It’s very difficult to tell if a person is being trafficked from just looking at someone or from only one or a few conversations. There is no formula or “quick fix” to figuring this out.
  • If you act quickly without understanding a person’s situation, the trafficker could be nearby, putting them in more danger. And calling the police or 911, especially without that person’s knowledge or consent, can be very dangerous. It may actually result in the person being arrested or deported.
  • If you regularly see someone whom you think may be trafficked, slowly build a relationship with that person. Be friendly, engage in small talk, make eye contact, and let them know over time you’re someone they can trust and you’re willing to be a resource.

At times, people feel a strong emotional response when they think they are meeting someone who may be trafficked, and they want to rush in and try to “rescue” the person who may be a victim.

  • The problem with this “rescuer” mentality is it takes the focus away from the survivor and puts it on the so-called “rescuer” and his or her point of view.
  • This has a negative consequence: It sidelines the voices of survivors and their ability to make their own decisions and reclaim their own voice, dignity, and ability to move forward in life.
  • If you see a situation that might involve trafficking, call a qualified and trusted organization that works with trafficking survivors and they can help foster a human rights approach and expertly navigate the possibilities for helping a person at risk.

If you know someone is trafficked, or if you believe they need help, once you have built up a trusting relationship, there are concrete and non-intrusive things you can do through everyday interactions.

  • Give them a cell phone they can use on their own.
  • Offer phone numbers for trafficking hotlines or domestic violence shelters, or tell them about how 911 works.
  • Tell them where the nearest hospital is.

It’s important to remember, even if you aren’t sure in the moment if a person is trafficked or you’re not able to reach out and help, there is still a lot you can do to support survivors and end trafficking! Watch our video on how you can help.

Share this video: youtu.be/HdeV2F1jCNA

Connect with us! nyatn.org | @NYATN | #TalkTraffic | Facebook

See the whole #TalkTraffic video project.

Learn more about what you can do to help.

Production Credits — Producers: Juhu Thukral, Jeffrey Yamaguchi, and Suzanne Seltzer. Video Production/Filming/Editing: Jordan Timpy and Cassie Timpy of Agape Visuals (Read their write-up about working on this project). Music: Broke For Free.

#TalkTraffic: Why Decriminalize Sex Work?

This is the ninth video in our 10-part #TalkTraffic video series, which we are releasing on Human Rights Day 2016. See Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Trafficking happens in a wide range of low-wage industries, including sex work. In most places around the world, engaging in sex work can get you arrested. This actually makes it harder for sex workers and survivors of trafficking to seek help when they need it. Learn more about why it’s important to decriminalize sex work and keep people out of the criminal justice system.

What You Need To Know

People engage in sex work for a variety of reasons, most often because they need to support themselves and their families, and their other work options won’t pay enough for a living wage. At NY Anti-Trafficking Network, we often say, people engage in sex work because of choice, circumstance, or coercion, with life circumstance being the most common reason.

  • But there are sex workers who face coercion, which is the key element of trafficking. This means they are working in a climate of fear, or in isolation or abuse, and they are afraid to leave.
  • Sex workers who have been trafficked may have someone withhold their passport; advertise a job as waitressing when it really involves prostitution; make threats against their family; engage in physical abuse; or threaten to call the police or immigration to make an arrest.
  • The threat of arrest makes it difficult for a trafficked person to leave, because sex work is considered a crime in most parts of the world.

Many sex workers who have been trafficked are arrested, often repeatedly, before anyone in the criminal justice system understands they need help. Arrest is never an appropriate way to try to help someone who may be a trafficking survivor or is involved in sex work.

  • Arresting people who may be trafficked only drives them further into vulnerable situations.
  • Arrests create trauma, chaos, and unintended consequences in a person’s life (for example, affecting their family, children, housing, and co-workers.)
  • Arrest also adds an additional layer of complex legal consequences into that person’s already complicated and difficult situation. Under U.S. immigration law, even having a prostitution-related arrest on your criminal record can affect a person’s chances to stay on the roadmap to citizenship.

It is also dangerous for sex workers and trafficked people when customers of sex workers get arrested.

  • When customers are afraid of being arrested, it makes it more difficult for sex workers to negotiate safe conditions and decent pay. Sex workers may also be threatened by police so they will cooperate in a criminal case.
  • Actually, customers and other brothel workers are often the people who help sex workers leave trafficking situations, since they know more about their lives and daily routines than most of us.

Ultimately, it is protecting the human rights of sex workers and creating better economic options for people that helps to prevent trafficking and to keep sex workers safe.

Share this video: youtu.be/JJJ_3deYL3A

Connect with us! nyatn.org | @NYATN | #TalkTraffic | Facebook

See the whole #TalkTraffic video project.

Learn more about what you can do to help.

Production Credits — Producers: Juhu Thukral, Jeffrey Yamaguchi, and Suzanne Seltzer. Video Production/Filming/Editing: Jordan Timpy and Cassie Timpy of Agape Visuals (Read their write-up about working on this project). Music: Broke For Free.

Free CLE: Remedies for Victims of Human Trafficking

NYATN member Ivy Suriyopas, attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, will present at a free CLE on “Remedies for Victims of Human Trafficking” for the Practising Law Institute on July 9, 2013 at 1 pm.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • Screening and Identification of Human Trafficking Victims
  • Forms of Immigration Relief Available for Human Trafficking Survivors
  • Additional Remedies Available Under the TVPRA of 2013

Mark you calendar and don’t miss this important Free Briefing.

Read more.

AALDEF’s Ivy Suriyopas, NYATN member and Freedom Network Policy Co-Chair, will speak at the Combating Labor Trafficking Conference on May Day

*Update: NYATN and ISOA live-tweeted the event!  See the great turnout!  The Huffington Post‘s David Isenberg wrote about the conference in “A Morally Reprehensible Problem.”  He quoted the ISOA conference guide: “The problem is morally reprehensible but of such enormous complexity it cannot be solved by a single sector and must be addressed by stakeholders working in partnership from all sides — private, governmental, nongovernmental and humanitarians sectors; clients and employers [sic]”  View or download the conference presentations.

NYATN member Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Ivy Suriyopas will speak at the Combating Labor Trafficking Conference in Washington, DC on May Day.  As the Freedom Network Policy Co-Chair, she will address the effectiveness of current laws in combating labor trafficking.

NYATN Member Sex Workers Project Melissa Broudo Spoke at Brooklyn Law School’s “Sex and the Law” Panel

On April 4, 2012, Brooklyn Law School held a “Sex and the Law” panel, in which NYATN member Sex Workers Project staff attorney Melissa Broudo spoke.  Also on the panel were Kate Mogelescu from Legal Aid Society and Elio from SWOP-NYC.

Freedom Network Conference 2012 in New York

Freedom Network (USA) hosted its annual conference in New York on March 21 and 22, 2012.  The theme was “Beyond Rhetoric: Human Trafficking Work in the Field.”  Click here for more information about previous conferences.

Sienna Baskin, Lynly Egyes, John Temple, and Monica Ryan

Sienna Baskin, of NYATN member organization Sex Workers Project, hosted a panel on innovative approaches to investigating and prosecuting human trafficking at the Freedom Network Conference. Panelists included Lynly Egyes, staff attorney at the Sex Workers Project, John Temple, Assistant District Attorney in the Sex Crimes Unit at the New York County DA’s Office, and Monica Ryan, Trial Attorney for the Department of Justice.

Stephanie Richard, Ivy Suriyopas, David Abramowitz, and Daniel Werner (not pictured, Melissa Broudo)

Ivy Suriyopas, of NYATN member organization Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, co-facilitated a panel on “Cutting-Edge Anti-Trafficking Legislation: The Changes and Their Impact” with Coalition Against Slavery and Trafficking’s (CAST) Stephanie Richard at the Freedom Network Conference.  Panelists included David Abramowitz, Vice President, Policy and Government Relations at Humanity United, Daniel Werner, Deputy Legal Director at the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Melissa Sontag Broudo (not pictured), Staff Attorney at the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center.

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