Highlights from January 2019
Human Trafficking Awareness Month & Spotlight on Thai CDC
Dear Friends,

We hope you are having a happy, healthy, and productive start to the new year! API-GBV staff took some time at the beginning of the month to reconnect with each other, celebrate last year's accomplishments, and plan out projects for 2019. We left reinvigorated and are looking forward to continuing to serve the field in this new year. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us to share practices you have successfully implemented in your work, community trends you are seeing, opportunities for collaboration, or ways we can support your work. To stay informed about our work, keep an eye on emails and visit our website.
Photo of 9 staff at API-GBV standing in front of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco
API-GBV staff at our retreat in San Francisco
Agency Spotlight:
Thai Community Development Center: Leaders in the Movement Against Human Trafficking
In 1995, 72 Thai victims of human trafficking were discovered in a makeshift garment factory in El Monte, California . Lured to the United States with promises of work, their passports were taken away upon arrival and they were forced to toil for more than 16 hours a day in a clandestine factory surrounded by barbed wire. When the case broke, the Thai Community Development Center (Thai CDC) immediately mobilized to demand justice, provide for the victims’ basic needs, and ensure restitution. Since this case, recognized as the first case of modern day slavery in the U.S., Thai CDC has been involved in several prominent trafficking cases involving Thai victims, including a recent Minnesota sex trafficking case – the largest foreign national sex trafficking case in the U.S. Thai CDC works with the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, and other governmental agencies to seek restitution for victims; and trains law enforcement to treat survivors as victims instead of criminals. Thai CDC also founded and co-leads the first API anti-trafficking initiative: the Asian Pacific Islander Human Trafficking Task Force .
When we chatted with Panida Rzonca, Directing Attorney at Thai CDC, she told us that the most rewarding part of her career was helping victims become aware of their rights. The most challenging part of her work is convincing survivors that they didn’t deserve what happened to them. Instead, she assists them in becoming advocates for themselves, testifying against their traffickers, and protesting their treatment.
Learn more about Thai CDC’s Slavery Eradication & Rights Initiative ! Visit Thai CDC’s website to learn more about its community work, including its small business program, its role in the creation of the world’s first and only Thai Town, and its fight for affordable housing.
Proposed Asylum Ban:
API-GBV's immigration project team submitted comments responding to the administration's proposed asylum ban, which seeks to unlawfully block from receiving asylum anyone who crosses into the United States anywhere except at a point of entry. This includes hundreds of thousands of individuals fleeing persecution and violence. API-GBV voiced our opposition to the harms that the ban would have on the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking seeking safety in the U.S., and urged the administration to rescind its interim rule and instead promote policies that seek to maximize the safety of refugees throughout the asylum process.

Seeking input for Language Access Toolkit:
Our Interpretation Training and Technical Assistance Resource Center (ITARC) is developing a toolkit for technical assistance providers to improve and ensure meaningful access to limited English proficient victims. Our goal is to include in this toolkit the most relevant information to support you in your undertakings to comply with the federal language access mandate, integrate it into your organizational planning and implementation, and include it in your technical assistance to other grantees.

We are extending an invitation to send any feedback or input regarding: topics you want to see in the document, questions you have, challenges you might be confronting, or successful practices you have implemented to improve language access. We'll be gathering your suggestions throughout February.

Resources for Advocates Serving Trafficking Survivors

Visit our webpage on trafficking for more materials and resources
Missed our 2018 Highlights? Read all about them here!
Are you committed to ending violence in API communities and ensuring access for all survivors of violence? Join our team!

Visit the Alliance for Immigrant Survivors for the latest on immigration policy and supporting immigrant survivors
We offer free consultation and training! Send requests to info@api-gbv.org
To keep afloat during the recent government shutdown, many domestic violence and trafficking shelters cut costs, limited services, turned survivors away, and laid off staff; and some are still suffering lasting impacts. Please consider lending time or resources to your local shelter to help them continue to provide critical services to survivors. You can use our Directory to locate an agency in your area.
Help us raise awareness about human trafficking!
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News and Updates from the Field:
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence