Month: February, 2012

Child Trafficking Advocates: Victims Are not Criminals

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
February 20, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Human trafficking is not only a popular story line on police dramas on television; it also is a growing crime in Ohio as well as around the world. An estimated 1,000 children in Ohio are at risk of being forced into the sex trade each year, and law enforcement experts say the Internet is compounding the problem.

Theresa Flores of Columbus was trafficked out of her own home at age 15. After two years, she says, her family moved and she was able to escape. Now, she works to help other survivors, who she says are often blamed for what has happened to them.

"These kids go through horrors you can't even imagine. I mean, having to have sex with 10 to 15 strangers every night; nobody chooses to do that. And we've mislabeled it 'teen prostitution,' putting the blame on these kids."

Flores says more needs to be done to get survivors the help they need and to prevent others from becoming victims.

Crystal Ward Allen heads the Public Children's Services Association of Ohio, and says they're working to educate those who work in child welfare, juvenile justice and law enforcement about the problem of human trafficking. She says it's crucial to raise awareness, so survivors receive the proper care.

"Not only do we want to make sure that these young girls, primarily, are treated as victims, we also want to coordinate our efforts with law enforcement, because it is very critical that we prosecute the criminal."

While many victims are runaways, children who have been abused or are in the juvenile-justice system, Theresa Flores says that's just part of the problem. She says youth from any neighborhood can be trafficked.

"Middle-class suburban kids that come from even a two-parent family, and have this older boyfriend that is just telling them everything they want to hear, saying, 'If you love me you'll do this,' or threatens them or blackmails them, and so it was in my case."

Flores is a founder of Gracehaven House, a shelter for child sex-trafficking victims. She also created a campaign called "SOAP" - Saving Our Adolescents from Prostitution - to bring awareness of the problem to hotel owners and managers.

Ohio Governor John Kasich recently declared what he calls 'a war on the slave trade business' in the state and a new measure, House Bill 262, would help protect victims of trafficking from prosecution.

Statistics are at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH
 
   

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LGBTQQI For People who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Intersex (LGBTQQI)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
LGBTQQI.pdf

For People who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Intersex (LGBTQQI)

Wherever you are at in your relationship or your life, you deserve a healthy and safe relationship and community. All too often, LGBTQQI folks are invisible victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence. The fact is that sexual and domestic violence occurs in 25-33% of lesbian, gay and bisexual relationships – approximately the same rate as in heterosexual relationships. The prevalence of abuse for people who identify as transgender or intersex is likely much higher. In addition to the sexual and domestic violence that occurs within relationships, the LGBTQQI community is often the target of violence by others because of their sexual and gender identity.

You are not alone – we hear you, we see you, and we want to help.

You May Feel

If you are in an unhealthy relationship, involved with someone who is abuvise, or have been sexually assaulted, you may feel:

  • Alone, scared, depressed and confused
  • Worried that if you speak to someone about the abuse that you’ll be outed to family, friends and co-workers
  • Anxious about being believed or taken seriously if you reach out for help to a program, the police, a health care provider, landlord, teacher or clergy
  • Worried that if you leave your partner you will lose your friends or community
  • Afraid your friends or community will take your partner’s side

When you contact a sexual or domestic violence program, you can make connections to other victims and survivors struggling with similar concerns. You will also find out more about resources and your rights.

Things You Should Know

  • Abuse is never mutual.
  • Abuse is not the same as consensual sexual behavior, including BDSM.
  • Under Massachusetts law, people of any gender, gender identity or sexual orientation are protected under all sexual abuse laws and can get protection orders against partners, dates, wives/husbands, boyfriends/girlfriends or roommates who abuse them or against someone who has stalked or sexually assaulted them.
  • Sexual and domestic violence programs are also available to victims of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

For Help and More Information

Want to talk to someone about your own safety or about someone you care about? There are several programs in Massachusetts and around the country that specialize in providing services for LGBTQQI victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. A trained advocate is available to discuss your needs, help you identify support services, shelters, and other resources, and refer you to services for both sexual and domestic violence.

The Network/LaRed
617.742.4911 (voice)
617.227.4911 (tty)
www.tnlr.org
info@tnlr.org

A Massachusetts-based organization, The Network/La Red is a survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, BDSM, polyamorous and queer communities. Rooted in anti-oppression principles, their work aims to create a world where all people are free from oppression. In addition to organizing, education, training and policy work, The Network/La Red also provides direct services.

  • English/Spanish Bilingual hotline
  • Emergency shelter/safe home
  • Support group
  • Advocacy
  • Safety Planning
  • Referrals available including legal services
  • Interpreters provided free of charge

Fenway Violence Recovery Program
(617) 927-6250
toll-free (800) 834-3242
www.fenwayhealth.org
VRP@fenwayhealth.org

A Boston-based program, Fenway’s Violence recovery Program provides counseling, support groups, advocacy, and referral services to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) victims of bias crime, domestic violence, sexual assault and police misconduct.

  • Hours: 9-5 EST
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Support groups for battered lesbians and gay men
  • Mental health services (fee charged)

Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project
(800)832-1901
www.gmdvp.org
support@gmdvp.org

A Massachusetts-based organization, GMDVP provides community education and direct services for gay, bisexual, and transgender men in abusive situations and relationships.

  • Community education
  • Advocacy
  • Shelter

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
www.ncavp.org
NCAVP is a national coalition of organizations that focus on violence committed within and against LGBTQ communities including domestic violence, sexual assault, pick up crimes, and hate crimes. You can find a service provider near you in the U.S. and Canada through the NCAVP website. NCAVP is also a clearinghouse of information on violence against and within LGBT communities including annual reports on LGBT domestic violence and sexual assault.

Survivor Project
www.survivorproject.org
Survivor Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of intersex and trans survivors of domestic and sexual violence through caring action, education and expanding access to resources and to opportunities for action. Though they are in Portland, OR and do not provide direct services, they offer referrals nation-wide. The Survivor Project has conducted extensive research and materials related to intersex and trans survivors, all available on their website.

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
www.nrcdv.org
The NRCDV develops and disseminates information packets that address a range of domestic violence issues, including one titled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) Communities and Domestic Violence: Information and Resources.”

FORGE (For Ourselves: Reworking Gender Expression)
www.forge-forward.org
FORGE is a national education, advocacy, and support umbrella organization that provides victim services to persons who identify as transgender. It also offers training and technical assistance to the sexual assault service providers who serve this population.

Show Me Love DC!
www.showmelovedc.org
Show Me Love DC! is an OVC-supported campaign developed by Women Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE) that promotes healthy relationships and provides resources for LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence.

Office for Victims of Crime
www.ovc.gov
Housed within the Office of Justice Programs within the Department of Justice, the Office for Victims of Crimes has a variety of resources and information for LGBTQQI victims and survivors. Two specific items are the Hate and Bias Crimes section of the OVC Web site and the transcript of the June 2009 Web Forum Guest Host Session which features a discussion between victim service providers and experts in the field specifically on Working With LGBTIQ Survivors of Violence.

Special thanks to Show Me Love DC! for their assistance with these program descriptions and to The Network/La Red for general content.

 


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