I am a second year Physician Assistant student looking to get involved with anti-human trafficking and/or sexual violence victims. Does anybody have any suggestions on where I could reach out to get started? I have reached out to a local shelter and the Salvation Army's local office. Thank you in advance!
Maybe a similar experience here. After college my wife was interested in the criminal justice system dealing with battered women. She contacted the City and the County Prosecutors office and found a lot of resources in our area on that topic. Lots of groups working on areas of interest to her. You might wish to try the same approach. Also, use those search terms with your locality and you'll likely see a bunch of resources as well. So, here's an important point. As you reach out you need to keep names and contact information for nearly everyone you run across in the process. Stay in touch.....this is called professional networking. Send follow up thank you emails and ask if it is ok for you "to stay in touch and ask for advice now and then". Use those words; everyone like's to be asked for advice.
We need more folks in your field of interest. Here's hoping you become a star in the profession!! Good luck.
Tom's answer is a good one and I hope you take it to heart. I'd buy a notebook, or shop in your closet for one, and keep it for those contacts.
Every state differs in its view of trafficked women, sex slaves and prostitutes. So you will need to discover Ohio's ethos for this matter.
You will strike gold if you can find an Ohio university researcher in this field. She will be able to guide you about Ohio's view of trafficking. And maybe help you to find a job when your training is complete. She, likely, will be DELIGHTED that you are interested. She might be able to suggest volunteer opportunities for now.
You can also search the archives of newspapers in Ohio. If you find a reporter with a heart for this issue, contacting her may lead to more contacts.
I would say, at this time in time, that working with a public mental health agency will be your best chance of a job in this field. For example, Dallas offers prostitutes "captured" at truck stops the choice of mental health treatment, including drug and alcohol treatment, as an alternative to jail. The agency treating these women might be a place to seek employment.
It happens that I just finished reading "The Guest Room" by Chris Bojalian, which features an Armenian sex slave, stolen from her family at 15 as one of the characters. It is a great book and really sheds light on the issue.
The book mentions "half-way houses" for sex slaves in NY. If the police "bust" a prostitution ring and the women are enslaved, the police in NY are enlightened enough to see them as victims, not criminals.
Again, there is no uniform way of thinking on this matter. It varies from state to state.
Maria, you might consider volunteering for national domestic violence, rape, or sex trafficking survivor advocate groups. That would not only give you experience but might provide some networking opportunities. I did a quick search and found a few organizations that help domestic violence survivors and offer volunteering opportunities. Many of these opportunities are remote, so even if the work isn't in Ohio, you could still help. Some say their volunteers are survivors themselves, some seem to accept a broader range of volunteers.
The two big domestic violence survivor advocate organizations that I saw that are looking for volunteers are Break the Silence (BTSADV) and National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) also accepts volunteers for its National Sexual Assault Hotline. The National Human Trafficking Hotline has volunteering opportunities as well.
NCADV also has a list of state domestic violence coalitions to which they suggest potential volunteers reach out. The link to the list of state organizations and their contact info is on the volunteering page. Ohio's are Action Ohio Coalition For Battered Women and Ohio Domestic Violence Network.
Hope that helps!
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