Community Education Director, Jessica Castle, and Medical Advocate, Michelle Cooper visit York College
On March 28th, two representatives from YWCA York were guest speakers in The Global Human Trafficking: Global Problem, Local Solution course taught by Stepanka Korytova (Magstadt). Jessica Castle is the Community Education Director and Michelle Cooper serves as a Medical Advocate for the organization. The YWCA assists women and families going through hardships, especially domestic violence. The organization “provide[s] safe places for women and families, build[s] strong leaders, and advocates for social justice and civil rights at both the state and federal levels.” Ms. Castle discussed how the access and victims’ assistance center operates. The emergency shelter provides those in need with a thirty day stay, while transitional housing lasts for one year. The center provides counseling services to victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. The YWCA provides legal advocates and lawyers to assist clients undergoing the legal system. The legal system is often confusing for those experiencing it for the first time. This makes it very important for these individuals to have the best assistance possible when navigating legal channels. One of the major challenges the center faces is that there is not a lot of case law that occurs for instances of domestic violence and human trafficking. Many times perpetrators are not punished as well as they should be. The Medical Advocates on staff discuss with clients what options they have during a forensics exam and assists them through the process.
The students in the class work on the Environmental Scan of the agencies and vulnerabilities in South-Central Pennsylvania. The areas the students are looking at are the agencies mission, services offered, contact information, organization, and including but not limited to, the agencies success stories. In the second part of the Environmental Scan (ES II) students discussed their progress and questions with the two members from the YWCA. The ES II looks for vulnerabilities that make certain areas and individuals susceptible for human trafficking cases. The students are observing the U.S Census, The Southern Poverty Law Center, the County Planning Commission Records, Academic Journal Articles, Local Papers, The New York Times Articles, Conferences on HT in the region, poverty rates, court records, law enforcement, the Urban Institute, and Polaris. In tracking vulnerabilities during childhood the students will be looking at truancy rates, adverse childhood experiences, alcoholism, and drug use in the home. Currently, those children in the LGBTQ community are high on the vulnerability scale. From the court records observed through the National Institute of Justice, 67% of immigrants are terrified to report crime. This is an issue for all crimes, but also for those surrounding domestic violence and trafficking.
Other guest speakers who have spoken to the class have expressed a great interest in the students’ research; they will be able to use it as a background information for their grant application. Terri Hammrick, Director, Survivors, Inc., Gettyrsburg, PA, stated that even information about cases of human trafficking elsewhere in the U.S.A. is useful to her organization as they hepe to share and develop contacts and learn from other organizations’ approaches and treatment of issues related to human trafficking.
YWCA York: http://www.ywcayork.org/site/c.7oIIJOPrGgIUF/b.8383329/k.49F/YWCA_York.htm
Survivors. Inc: http://enddvsa.org/
Church World Services Lancaster
On March 29th, Stepanka Magstadt and Lauren Enlow visited Church World Services (CWS) in Lancaster. Currently, Sheila Mastropietro, is their Office Manager who provided insight into their organization and mission. While this center is located in Lancaster, they are headquartered in Manhattan, New York. Church World Services is in charge of the Immigration and Refugee Program. There are thirty three offices that also participate in resettlement programs as well. The whole organization is federally funded, but CWS Lancaster receives funding through their headquarters in New York. Currently there are 407 refugees resettled by the Lancaster office. In sum, CWS resettled 9,000 last year and 15,000 refugees over the years. This year, however, Lancaster only plans to receive around 270 members. When refugees come to the United States they receive health care for eight months. Refugees have the opportunity to apply for their green cards after one year and as green card holders may apply for citizenship after five years. CWS is provided funding to assist refugees for their first 90 days in the country. Case managers assist refugees with medical appointments, housing, food, education, employment, and English. However, in actuality, CWS is funded to assist refugees for up to 180 days. It should be noted though that little case management occurs between a refugees 90th day to their 180th day in the United States. The employment program assists refugees with obtaining employment for up to five years following the resettlement period. Clients must take part in an orientation class that discusses “American workplace expectations, worker rights and responsibilities, and soft skills such as punctuality, attendance and best work practices. Additionally, clients are assisted with preparing a resume.
If you would like to get involved, please visit http://cwslancaster.org/get-involved/volunteer/.