Equipping North Carolina’s Rape Crisis Centers to Serve Survivors of Human Trafficking

Equipping North Carolina’s rape crisis centers to serve survivors of human trafficking is one of the primary goals for NCCASA’s anti-human trafficking efforts, especially in a time as this, when accurate information about human trafficking and what survivors need is vital. Misinformation about human trafficking continues to feed narratives that harm survivors and misdirect resources. We want to equip you to be leaders in your community: to provide accurate and helpful information so that ALL survivors are served in an equitable and trauma-informed manner.

We are very excited to offer our “Expanding Our Reach” virtual training modules in a cohort learning model, which will encourage peer learning and support while engaging specific challenges about the work together. One feature of this learning opportunity is creating an awareness action plan for your community for January, Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

We will talk about sexual violence in human trafficking, we will talk about improving community outreach by looking at human trafficking from an anti-oppression lens, and we will discuss strategies for effective systems advocacy. But mostly we will focus on building community with one another in a time where we need each other more than ever before.

Interested? Apply here before October 19 since “spaces” are limited. For those who are not accepted, there will be later opportunities to receive this training again.

From September 15 through October 15, the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture and achievements of the United States are recognized and celebrated. It is a time to learn more about Hispanic and Latino heritage, and the many ways it influences our society.

For many people, Hispanic and Latino/a or Latinx are used interchangeably- which isn’t necessarily the case. Hispanic refers to a person who is from, or is a descendant of someone who is from, a Spanish-speaking country. On the other hand, Latino/a or Latinx refers to a person who is from, or is a descendant of someone who is from, a country in Latin America. This does lead to overlap; however, to most it’s a matter of personal preference for the term they feel best encompasses their heritage and cultural identity.

While it is important to celebrate the many achievements of Hispanic Americans, it’s even more imperative to address the barriers that they face in society today. Many Hispanic Americans do not seek out receiving health care services of high quality, in large part due to the many cultural differences that are present within our healthcare system. Language barriers alone can lead to misunderstandings, poorer patient-provider relationships, and increased anxiety around using the healthcare system.

According to the Office for Victims of Crime, victim service agencies across the country have not kept up with the rapid growth of Hispanic American victim populations. This includes a lack of bilingual and bicultural direct service staff and volunteers, lack of bilingual and bicultural materials, and a lack of bilingual and bicultural trainers. Within many Hispanic communities, there is a heavy importance on the ability to trust another, in order to confide in them and to receive the help and care they need. Without bilingual and culturally informed services, the Hispanic community will continue to fail to receive care and services they deserve.

We cannot continue to fail our Hispanic Americans. We must change how the system is in order to provide equal treatment options for everyone.

I encourage you to go and explore all of the incredible things that Hispanic Americans have created. From virtually visiting the Latino Center at the Smithsonian Institute to watching a film from the AFI Silver Theatre’s Latin American Film Festival to donating to an agency working toward equality and justice for Hispanic and Latin Americans, there are many ways to uplift the work and lives of Hispanic Americans.

Blog Post by Alexandra Smith, NCCASA's Member Services Assistant

When it comes to talking about voting in November, I know these can be divisive conversations. Historically, it was considered “taboo” to talk about who you’re going to vote for and which policies/officials you do or do not support. Over the years though, politics and voting has become a much more mainstream conversation and I believe there’s good reason for that: the people we vote into office have a profound impact on all of the intersecting parts of our lives, including our survivorship and/or the survivorship of those we support.

NCCASA’s Executive Director, Monika Johnson Hostler (along with other inspirational change makers), recently spoke during the discussion “Multiple Truths: Survivorship in the 2020 Elections” hosted by Jane Doe Inc. While listening to the conversation I gained a deeper perspective on how all aspects of government impact survivors. As Monika and the other speakers pointed out during this conversation, there is no facet of government that is not connected in some way to the impacts of sexual violence. Our school boards, our Governor’s office, our judges, our housing officials, the Secretary of Education, the list goes on. The survivors that we work with as advocates are connected in some way to most, if not all of these institutions, and it is imperative that when we are voting for the officials that will hold these offices or appoint others to these positions, that we are thinking about the impact these officials may have on our ability to provide the kind of advocacy we know survivors need and deserve.

When you go to the polls or fill in your mail-in ballot, consider that you are not only voting for the President, Senators, and Governor, etc you’re voting for all the people that these candidates will appoint. You’re voting for the bills and legislation that may be more likely to pass in their administration. You’re voting for funding streams. You’re voting for committee members that have a say in economic and housing opportunities for survivors. You’re voting for local officials, like the school board, that affect healthy relationship education.

What can advocates do? Our advocacy doesn’t just include the direct support we offer the survivor sitting in front of us. It expands to the way we can effect change for survivors at the local, state, and national level. We have power in our communities and are often thought of as community leaders, let’s capitalize on that power by educating our community members that are invested in the work of our programs.

One way you can do this is by educating your community about how the various levels of government impact your program and survivors. For example, how funding for sexual violence can be determined at the legislative level as we’ve seen with the CARES Act Funding, so voting for legislators that support the survivor’s agenda will have a lasting impact on the services that you’re able to provide. For those who are interested in the judicial aspects of sexual violence, talk about the significance of voting for judges who represent survivor choice, autonomy, and helping survivors heal and determine their own meaning of justice. If you come across someone who is really torn about who to vote for at the executive level, have a discussion with them about what their priorities are when it comes to ending sexual and community violence. Create space for you and the potential voter to be vulnerable and open about the struggles you’re having. Remind this voter that it’s not all about who you vote into office, but the people they will appoint and the people they take advice from.

Finally, make registering to vote part of your community outreach. All of the things that were mentioned above are ways that you can connect voter registration to your survivor advocacy work. When the community asks questions, be ready with answers and information that is accurate about voter fraud, voter suppression, and how, where, and when to vote safely. This, and every election cycle, we have the opportunity to elect officials that will support our advocacy efforts and who will listen to us, and other survivors, when it comes to making decisions that affect our community. When you’re having a discussion with someone who says “why should I vote?” You can tell them this is why it matters.

 

For information on registering to vote in NC go to: https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/offices-services/online/Pages/voter-registration-application.aspx

For mail-in ballot information and to request your mail- in ballot go to: https://www.ncvoter.org/absentee-ballots/

Early Voting will take place in NC from October 15-31. For more information go to: https://www.ncsbe.gov/voting/vote-early-person

If you and your community members would like to watch the “Multiple Truths” discussion, you can view a recording here.

Blog Post by Leah Poole, NCCASA Rural Sexual Assault Services Specialist

Over the summer of 2020, NCCASA was extraordinarily lucky to host two brilliant interns through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Moxie Scholars program. From their first meetings with me, Montia and Shareen showed so much intention and passion about their work, and about the transformative principles that can emerge from seeing connections in all the pieces of your life -- work, study, praxis, activism, organizing, relationship, and love. Our summer project was to envision new ways that teachers could better support LGBTQ+ students in K-12 schools, and as we discussed the kinds of spaces that would allow people room to learn, to make mistakes, and to still feel held, we had conversations comparing the strengths and challenges of safe and brave space frameworks.

This booklet emerged out of those spirited conversations as a separate project, and quickly took on a life of its own.

NCCASA's staff has been honored to serve as mentors to Shareen and Montia, to learn with and from them, and to have our own personal, professional, and visionary practices enriched and revitalized by our time together. I look forward to continued collaborations with them on this concept, and share in their deep gratitude for adrienne maree brown and the many visionary Black feminists before her who inspired this collaboration.

NCCASA is planning to begin training on emergent space frameworks in November, and will be offering virtual, interactive training cohorts beginning in 2021. Stay tuned for dates and registration details, and for now, feel free to post, promote, or otherwise highlight this document unaltered, to implement its ideals in your program, and to reference it in your training or materials (properly credited). Please reach out if you would like to discuss emergent spaces further or to collaborate on a derivative work!

Warmly,

Christy Croft, Prevention Education Program Manager
NCCASA Resource

Emergent Space: Finding An Alternative

Calling North Carolina sexual assault advocates and health care providers i.e. OB/GYNs, dentists, doulas, health department staff, SANEs, etc.

We know that the majority of those that experience sexual violence that we work with, whether it was a recent assault or a past assault, do not choose to have evidence collected. This does not mean that they do not need support with their healthcare needs. Folx who have experienced sexual violence often have complex relationships with their health and bodies and medical providers.

This work group will be in collaboration with NCCASA’s Rural Sexual Assault Services Specialist and will focus on widening the scope of medical advocacy services to those who have experienced sexual violence. This group will meet once a month via virtual meeting or webinar to come up with resources and solutions for how we can improve healthcare needs across the state.

If you, or someone you know may be interested in being a part of this work group, please contact Leah Poole at leah@nccasa.org.

*Please note, it is not a requirement that you are a rural service provider to be part of this group.

In Solidarity,

Leah Poole

Human trafficking prevention has at times been framed primarily as a criminal justice priority or been siloed from other forms of violence prevention. As experts in sexual violence prevention, NCCASA recognizes sex trafficking as a form of sexual violence and the connection of sexual violence to all forms of human trafficking. We see the value of a public health approach to violence prevention that incorporates our social justice lens. NCCASA is pleased to present our Human Trafficking Prevention Toolkit. In this toolkit, you'll find our Human Trafficking Prevention Overview (link to infographic), an overview of what human trafficking is and the public health approach to violence prevention, an exploration of the historical context that informs our current frameworks and gaps, tips for effective upstream prevention, and strategies for incorporating a harm reduction lens into your human trafficking prevention work, as well as critical considerations in selecting a prevention strategy.

 

As a reminder, our Reframing Human Trafficking Prevention Cohort this fall will cover many of the ideas in this toolkit in depth. The application deadline is September 14 for the prevention cohort and October 19 for our direct services/multidisciplinary team cohort. More information on the cohorts can be found here.

North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Human Trafficking Prevention Toolkit

Here you will find an overview of the highlights from the '19-'20 Member Services and Technical Assistance Survey. The purpose of this survey is for NCCASA to hear from our member programs about what NCCASA is doing well and for NCCASA to reflect on our programs needs and ask ourselves "how can we improve?" Thank you to all of our member programs who are on the front lines, supporting those who have experienced sexual violence. Continue to let us know how we can support you as we are always striving to grow and learn.

View Summary Report Here!

 

The General Assembly came into session Wednesday and Thursday to appropriate the remainder of the federal CARES Act funding, and rape crisis centers were allocated an additional $6 million in funding to be split evenly among agencies. Domestic violence agencies were also allocated an additional $6 million in funding.

NCCASA has been advocating for additional funding and used the survey results that many agencies filled out to best cater the argument and needs across the state. NCCASA is grateful to agencies and staff who reached out to their legislators to stress the importance of this funding for services in the community.

The money will be distributed through the Department of Administration. We would encourage agencies to reach out to legislators and thank them for this funding, as we know it will make a difference in many budgets. The full bill can be found here.

If you have any questions about this funding, please reach out to Staff Attorney/lobbyist Skye David at skye@nccasa.org.

In Solidarity,

Monika Johnson Hostler

For those doing anti-human trafficking work in 2020: you’ve carried a lot of burdens, rolled with changes in programs, practice, protocols, and funding. You are advocating for survivors who are experiencing health disparities, increased barriers to resources, and the ongoing reality of institutionalized racism in policies and systems. The impact of COVID on survivors, service delivery, and your own work-life balance is significant.

So when the misinformation and false narratives about human trafficking, specifically child sex trafficking, hit the media this summer, it may not have been the highest priortiy in your work load. Stories about children being sold in cabinets online via Wayfair created a storm of media response. The outrage quickly linked up to some other narratives: Deep State conspiracies about politicians and Hollywood celebrities facilitating and perpetrating these sex trafficking rings drew outrage from concerned citizens, who rallied around the emerging #savethechildren movement with messaging pushed out by frightened moms and co-opted by QAnon. These stories are not new to the movement, but they gained momentum and probably ended up in your community.

The #savethechildren movement has surreptitiously impacted North Carolina’s communities, and local rape crisis programs have been strongly affected. You’ve answered calls from frightened parents. You’ve seen the social media posts about local marches and fundraisers to fight human trafficking in your service area. Para-military style responses with battle imagery and language have formed, with the mission to hunt and eliminate child predators, perpetuating the idea that only a tactical criminal justice response is warranted. At a time where establishing trust, and cultivating collaborative partnerships with local law enforcement is already challenging, these responses have created additional burdens.

For advocates, we are most concerned about how these movements directly affect survivors: that, those who have not been kidnapped or held in chains, are believed, empowered, and supported. We are also concerned that when we focus on sensationalized or high-profile stories as if these are the norm, we fail to see those who are most vulnerable for being trafficked. Perpetuating narratives that rarely center on marginalized communities are incomplete, and ultimately harmful narratives. We must insist that ALL have access to services.

We want to support  and empower you to be the local expert on human trafficking in your community. I have the privilege of assisting local programs in building capacity to lead in awareness and outreach efforts and service delivery for survivors of human trafficking. I have recently worked with local programs to develop a social media and awareness strategy to engage the “Save the children” campaigns. We have also had discussions and problems solved around working with law enforcement, especially agencies that often rely on stings to identify human trafficking, and request collaboration with local programs on those operations. We understand the complexity of working with criminal justice-led human trafficking task forces, and are here for you to process and problem solve!

As you continue to advocate for survivors in your community, I have created some talking points to provide some language around engaging with some of these latest campaigns. If you are a member agency interested in the document, please email me at courtney@nccasa.org and I’d be happy to share them with you.

Also, to further equip your programs, we are very excited to offer this fall a very special training opportunity.  It is designed for anti-violence, sexual violence, rape crisis, or human trafficking professionals who wish to strengthen their capacity to provide and coordinate survivor-centered, trauma-informed, empowerment-based services to human trafficking survivors in their communities. Because our session is capped at 30 attendees, we are accepting a select cohort for our first virtual implementation of this training. So please sign up soon! Click here to view those trainings!

Thank you for your work that you do on behalf of survivors.

Blog Post by Courtney Dunkerton, NCCASA Anti-Human Trafficking Specialist

This fall, NCCASA is pleased to offer our Reframing Human Trafficking Prevention and Expanding Our Reach trainings as virtual intensives!

Reframing Human Trafficking Prevention begins October 26, and is a four-week cohort focused on powerful, out-of-the-box human trafficking prevention frameworks.

Expanding Our Reach begins November 30, and is a four-session cohort focused on direct services and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Taken separately or together, these trainings will prepare you for a strong, engaging, evidence-informed Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January! To ensure a quality training for participants, these cohorts are capped at 30 attendees. Cohort is free for selected attendees who are staff or key volunteers at current NCCASA member agencies, and selected attendees are expected to attend all four sessions. Selected non-members must pay a registration fee of $200 for each four-part training.

Interested in the Reframing Human Trafficking Prevention Cohort? Apply here.

If accepted, sessions will be held:
Monday 10/26, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Monday 11/2, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Monday 11/9, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Monday 11/16, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

Interested in the Expanding Our Reach Cohort? Apply here.

If accepted, sessions will be held:
Monday 11/30, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Monday 12/7, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Wednesday 12/9, 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Monday 12/14, 3:00 – 4:30 pm