Human Trafficking Awareness Month      
January 2016

In This Issue
24-Hour Human Trafficking Hotlines
National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (NHTRC):


Central Ohio Anti-Trafficking Hotline (CORRC):


What is Human Trafficking?

Under U.S. federal law, "severe forms of trafficking in persons" includes both sex trafficking and labor trafficking: 
Labor Trafficking
Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, (22 USC § 7102(9)). Labor trafficking has been found in diverse labor settings including, domestic work, small businesses, large farms, and factories.
Sex Trafficking
Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age, (22 USC § 7102 (9-10)).  Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues within the sex industry, including residential brothels,  escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution.

AACS Awarded $15,000 Grant from Ohio Children's Trust Fund for
Youth Human-Trafficking Prevention

On January 14, the Ohio Children's Trust Fund announced AACS as one of the 9 organizations in Ohio receiving a grant for projects aimed at human-trafficking prevention for youth in our communities. AACS will work with our partner agencies--Asian Services in Action, Inc. (ASIA, Inc.) in Cleveland and Akron and Asian Community Alliance (ACA) in Cincinnati--to help raise awareness of human-trafficking among Asian youth and others in the upcoming months.

 Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Open Enrollment

January 23, 2016
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
4700 Reed Road, Suite B
Upper Arlington, OH 43220
Still need to sign up for 2016 health care coverage? Need help signing up for health insurance through the marketplace or for Medicaid? Have questions about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)? Come to AACS's final open enrollment event for the 2016 Open Enrollment Period! Our Navigators and Certified Application Counselors can give you FREE HELP applying and signing up for health care coverage and answering your questions about health care. NO APPOINTMENTS NECESSARY!
If you want to apply for coverage at the event, please take a look at the "What to Bring to an Appointment" section on our Navigator page. We can offer language assistance but recommend that you contact us beforehand so that we can offer better service. For any questions about the event, please call 614-220-4023 and dial extension 224 ( Chin-Yin Shih) or extension 240 ( Asafu Suzuki).
January 31 is the LAST DAY to sign up for health care coverage in 2016.
You still have time to sign up but don't wait until the last minute! The last few days are always the busiest, and you may have technical difficulties signing up.

Women's Wellness Group

Every Friday
12:30 pm- 3:30 pm
4700 Reed Road, Suite B
Upper Arlington, OH 43220

The AACS Women's Wellness Group seeks to empower women through self-reflection, building relationships and creating community connections. The Women's Wellness Group is FREE and open to women of all ages.


Asian Free Clinic

Every Monday, 5:30p.m - 9:00p.m
2231 N. High Street
Columbus, Ohio
By Appointment Only
The Asian Health Initiative is a collaborative community project that seeks to improve the health of the medically underserved Asian population in central Ohio by providing culturally and linguistically competent services. Our goals are to improve access to health care, assist in maintaining good health, and to promote health screenings in the Asian community.
For more information, contact Chin-Yin Shih at or 614-220-4023 x 224.

Citizenship Application Process Information Session
Wednesday, January 27, 7:00 pm
Vineyard Community Center
6000 Cooper Road
Westerville, OH 43081 

  • Willl discuss citizenship requirements including supporting documents and fees.
  • Schedule a free appointment to have an AILA member prepare the citizenship paperwork for you to file.
  • Must attend the information training in order to receive free AILA attorney assistance.

Quick Links

From the Executive Director

Happy New Year!                                
Each year, National Human T rafficking Awareness Mo nth is held in January.  This year, it falls on the one year anniversary of the high-profile massage parlor raids that took place in the greater Columbus area.  AACS continued to support 8 survivors through the criminal case against the traffickers which ultimately resulted in convictions of the 2 owners of the business.
Over the past year, our Family Support Program (FSP), working with our partners, has served the survivors of this case by coordinating housing, public benefits, interpretation, client education, and legal services. A year later, some of the accomplishments of the women served by our program include starting T-Visa applications, obtaining driver's licenses, and enrolling into nursing school.

While our work at times can be full of challenges, disappointments, and frustrations, the accomplishments of our clients and their steps forward towards a new life, inspire us, and give us the energy needed to continue our work to improve the well-being and quality of life for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Central Ohio.


Kathy Chen
Why is Human Trafficking  an Important Issue
for the API Community in Ohio?   
The federal government estimates that 15,000 to 18,000 persons are trafficked annually in the United States.  According to a 2008 factsheet written by the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum:

"Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women compose the largest segment of persons trafficked into the United States. This fact alone makes it crucial that a national organized Asian and Pacific Islander voice address the issue of human trafficking. For example, race and gender play a large role in relationships facilitated by international marriage brokers. Men who use international marriage brokers often look for API immigrant spouses under the belief that their future spouse will fit the submissive and sexualized stereotype of API women. In some cases, women who enter brokered marriages end up in abusive or exploitative situations called "bride trafficking."

Sex trafficking of API women also occurs through illicit massage businesses and residential brothels. These forms of trafficking are not limited to big cities on the east and west coasts. Illicit Asian massage businesses and residential brothels trafficking in API women exist right here in Central Ohio. Just last year, 18 Chinese women were rescued in a high-profile raid of local massage parlors. These women spoke no English when they were rescued, and in the course of providing a range of social support services to them, AACS realized the critical need for linguistically and culturally appropriate services for API survivors of sex trafficking in Central Ohio.

Labor trafficking is another form of human trafficking that affects API populations. According to an immigration attorney from the New York Asian Women's Center quoted in a 2013 Huffington Post article,  many of her clients are vulnerable to extreme forms of labor exploitation, and those who go to certain job agencies in New York's Chinatown are shipped off to work in restaurants across the country (including Ohio).
National AAPI Enrollment Week of Action
Staff Spotlight: Chin-Yin Shih
Our Senior Program Manager Chin-Yin Shih was recently recognized ASIA Ohio for her work during the National AAPI Enrollment Week of Action for the week of January 18 th . Here is her interview:

What inspired you to get involved with this line of work?

I came to the United States as an international student 7 years ago. I never saw a doctor while I was at school. I had fear that I wouldn't be able to understand the doctors if they used any medical terms. I was not comfortable going to see a doctor even though I've been learning English for a long time. It made me realize that how difficult it would be for immigrants to navigate the health care system here, especially those who don't speak English. In 2010, I started to work at Asian American Community Services (AACS). I coordinate a free health clinic that serves uninsured patients. We also provide free screenings and health education. In 2013, I became a Navigator and to this day, I'm trying to be the bridge that link immigrants to health care and make more people aware of the health care resources in the community.

How many years of experience do you have? 3 years

Describe an experience that made an impact in your line of work:

We've been helping a lot of immigrants sign up for health insurance. Some of the clients didn't have insurance for years. Now they have access to health care and are able to utilize their health insurance when they go to see doctors. I remember I helped a family apply for health insurance during the first year open enrollment period in 2013. They were able to get tax credit to lower their premium so they only need to pay around $100 for 4 people. The mom was so happy and grateful to me for my help.

What language barriers, if any, did you experience while providing assistance? How did you handle these situations?

I speak Mandarin so I didn't really have much language barriers while providing assistance to Chinese clients. However, when I had Korean or Burmese clients, I got help from interpreters. Clients usually make appointments with me so I know if I need to request interpreters in advance. It's important that the clients understand basic concept of health insurance and the terms in their own languages so they can fully understand how it works.
New Staff

Asafu Suzuki
Family Support Program
Program Director
Asafu is a human rights advocate with a background in law and policy advocacy. She was born in Japan but grew up in both Japan and the U.S., developing a strong bilingual and bicultural identity. From a young age, Asafu was interested in bridging gaps between communities with different linguistic, cultural, and other backgrounds. She was excited to take this position at AACS where she can do just that.
In law school, Asafu pursued her interests in human rights and social justice through her participation in various activities including the International Women's Human Rights Clinic and an internship at a plaintiff-side civil rights litigation law firm. Prior to relocating to Columbus, she was a legal fellow at Amara Legal Center in Washington, D.C. where she assisted domestic survivors of sex-trafficking and others who were harmed by commercial sex.
Asafu holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in Government (International Relations) from Dartmouth College. She is licensed to practice law in the states of New York and Ohio.

Kelly Hill
Family Support Program
Program Coordinator (Sexual Assault)
Kelly is a passionate community builder from Nashville, Tennessee. She has a passion for intersection of social justice, women's issues, and family mental health issues. She is excited about having the opportunity to affirm and empower women to use their voice to advocate for themselves and others in their community. 
In Nashville, she co-founded the Nashville chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, which is a national, multi-issue Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women's organization that advocates for issues such as reproductive justice, civil rights, immigration reform, and economic justice. Kelly has a M.Ed. in international education policy from Vanderbilt University and an M.T.S. in religion and conflict transformation from Boston University.

Lisa Miyake
Family Support Program
Program Coordinator (Human Trafficking)

Lisa is a Columbus-native who grew up in both the United States and Japan. She became interested in international languages and cultures during middle school, when she learned about other cultures through her classmates from India, Korea, and Canada. This experience influenced her to major in international studies and French in college.
After graduating college, Lisa realized that she also wanted to help others, which led to her employment at Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS), and to Asian American Community Services. Lisa is excited to learn further about the Asian American Pacific Islander community in Columbus and be a part of AACS.

Yihong Dong
Family Support Program
Social Work Intern

Yihong was born in Sichuan Province, China. Due of the "one-child" policy, she is the only child in her family. She loves Chinese literature, gardening, cooking and fried chicken (especially Cane's).
After she finished college in Beijing in 2014, she came to the U.S. to pursue a master's degree in social work at Ohio State University. She is particularly interested in cultural competence and minority social work.

She chose AACS as her internship site because she hopes that her background will help her to relate to, and serve her clients better. She hopes she can show my respect, enthusiasm and empathy to the clients and become a professional social worker.

Trupthi Mehta
AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow

Trupthi was born in India and moved to the United States in November of 2003. She is passionate about Social Justice, Government, and Community Service.
She chose AACS as her site because the agency provides a bridge to the Asian Americans into the American society. As a new citizen, and an immigrant she wants to give back to her country and community.
Trupthi studied Biology at University of Massachusetts, and has a background in medical sciences. In the future, Trupthi plans to pursue a MPA degree.

Healthy Asian Youth (HAY)
 Christmas Party 2015
Over 100 students attended the Healthy Asian Youth Christmas party held at the Dodge Recreation Center on December 18 th, 2016. The event began with program coordinator Danny Nam recognizing volunteers who had gone  the extra mile for the HAY program over the past year.  Paulus Traung received a certificate of recognition for his dedication to the program, and willingness to drive over an hour, 2 or 3 times a week, throughout the fall quarter to volunteer for the HAY program.  Kelly Nguyen, Stephanie Huynh, and Vianna Luu also received certificates of recognition for their enthusiastic work as interns during the summer program. The event consisted of a buffet dinner provided by AACS, gift giving, and opportunity for the youth to take pictures with Charlie Sann, the official HAY Santa Claus!  Through donations from staff, volunteers, HAY youth, and other HAY supporters, 85 HAY program participants were able to receive Christmas gifts that they had specifically requested. 

A big thank you to everyone who made this possible!!