Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Current Statistics on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking

The following is excerpted from the website of The Covering House, a secure shelter offering all-inclusive care for girls who are victims of sexual exploitation and sexual trafficking in St. Louis, Missouri. Recommended: follow the link in the second bullet point to read an article on child prostitution in the U.S.

Crisis In The United States

Human Trafficking is Real in the United States

  • Human trafficking generates an estimated $9.5 billion in annual revenue in the United States. (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
  • There are reportedly up to 300,000 child prostitutes in the United States. And that number is growing daily. (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
  • The average age of entry into prostitution for a child victim in the United States is 13 years old. (The U.S. Department of Justice)
  • The average victim may be forced to have sex up to 20 times a day. (The A21 Campaign)
  • One in three teens on the street will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home. (National Incident Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Throwaway Children)
  • 52 children were rescued in nationwide sex-trafficking raids. The Federal officials arrested 60 suspected pimps, in a three-day crackdown on child prostitution. The youngest victim was 10. (Los Angeles Times October 27, 2009| Joe Markman)
  • 69 children in 40 cities being used as child prostitutes were rescued by a law enforcement task force headed by the FBI, which also arrested 99 suspected pimps. (Federal Bureau of Investigation: November 8, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

At the last meeting of the Refugee and Immigrant Service Providers Network (RISPnet), Judy Scott, Director of Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, offered these statistics:

In Federal Fiscal Year 2010, Vermont resettled 304 refugees. In addition there were 17 asylees accepted, 24 in-migrants, and 22 people out-migrating to other states. The out-migrating refugees were mostly Burmese ethnic Chin, who joined their ethnic communities in other states.

Next FFY, Vermont expects to resettle 325 people. The main groups will be Bhutanese, Burmese, Africans and Iraqis. (There were no new Iraqis last year.)

Nationwide, the Department of Homeland Security has just released its statistics for refugee arrivals, population totals, etc. for this same time period.

Below are some excerpts from these articles, which can be found at the Department of Homeland Security Website at :

Office of Immigration Statistics POLICY DIRECTORATE

Annual Flow Report, April, 2010: Refugees and Asylees in 2009

The United States provides refuge to persons who have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution through two programs: one for refugees (persons outside the U.S.) and one for asylees (persons in the U.S.). This Office of Immigration Statistics Annual Flow Report provides information on the number of persons admitted to the United States as refugees or granted asylum in the United States in 2009. (This refers to the Fiscal Year: October 1 - September 30, 2009.)

A total of 74,602 persons were admitted to the United States as refugees during 2009 (The leading countries of nationality for refugees were Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan. During 2009, 22,119 individuals were granted asylum, including 11,933 who were granted asylum affirmatively by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and 10,186 who were granted asylum defensively by an immigration judge during removal proceedings. The leading countries of nationality for persons granted asylum were China, Ethiopia, and Haiti.


To be eligible for refugee or asylum status, an applicant must meet the definition of a refugee set forth in 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA): a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. An applicant for refugee status is outside the United States, while an applicant seeking asylum status is in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry.

Another interesting report:

"Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: January 2009"

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates that the unauthorized immigrant population living in the United States decreased to 10.8 million in January 2009 from 11.6 million in January 2008. Between 2000 and 2009, the unauthorized population grew by 27 percent. Of all unauthorized immigrants living in the United States in 2009, 63 percent entered before 2000, and 62 percent were from Mexico.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vermont Humanities Council/Day of the Pelican Events

The following events will be offered in November at the Unitarian Universalist Society building, 152 Pearl Street (the top of Church St):

Book Discussions:Katherine Paterson's novel, The Day of the Pelican: Tuesday, November 9 at 7:00 pm and Tuesday, November 16 at 1:00 pm

Two documentary films by local director Mira Niagolova: "A Parallel World" and "Welcome to Vermont" Sunday, November 14 at 12:30 pm. These movies were shown at the New Neighbors Cross-Training Conference on October 12 at St. Michael's college. If you missed the screenings, here is another opportunity to see these two excellent films.

Resettlement Stories as told by former Bosnian Refugees: Sunday, November 14 at 7:00 pm

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Run/Walk for Global Health 5K Fundraiser October 17


5K/3.1 Mile
Sunday October 17, 2010
11 A.M.
Gutterson Field House, University of Vermont

On Sunday October 17, 2010, Race & Shelburne Health and Fitness will host a Run for Global Health 5K to raise awareness & funds for survivors of torture and trauma in our community.

This run is being held in partnership with members of New England Survivors of Torture and Trauma (NESTT), including the Behavior Therapy and Psychotherapy Center and Connecting Cultures, Vermont Immigration and Asylum Advocates, the Association of Africans Living in Vermont, the Somali Bantu CommunityAssociation, the Community Health Center of Burlington, Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, HowardCenter and other community organizations.

Everyone is invited to participate. Food and refreshments will be provided following the race. Bring your friends, raise money to support survivors of torture and trauma, and get fit and full all at once!

Race Time: 11 AM
Registration Time: 9:45 – 10:45
Cost: $12 if registered by October 14, $20 on race day
Free T Shirts for the first 200 entries!!!

For on-line registration go to:
For more information contact Rayne Herzog at (802) 316-7142 or
* Donations are Welcome: Payable to the Behavior Therapy Center a 501 (c) (3)

Sponsors: Shelburne Health and Fitness, CocaCola, Shelburne Supermarket, Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Fleet Feet Sports, LifeTrak Personal Training.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Do you know about the Secure Communities Program that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is implementing?

Do you want to know how this Program is affecting immigrant communities?

Do you want to take action and support a campaign that seeks to educate people about the effects of this Program on the immigrant community?

Come to Centro Presente and participate in an informative session about the Secure Communities Program.

Tuesday, October 5th at 6:00 p.m.

Where: Centro Presente

Who: Centro Presente
Supported by American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the American Friends Service Committee Project Voice.

This federal program, under the direction of ICE, requires local law enforcement to cross-check digital fingerprints of anyone they arrest against a federal database to evaluate the arrested person's immigration status. If ICE determines the arrested person to be undocumented, that person will be detained by ICE and processed for deportation.

ICE claims that Secure Communities targets undocumented immigrants who have been arrested for felony offenses, but the program doesn't explicitly say that non-felony arrests are exempt from the program. This opens the door for local law enforcement to arrest people they suspect of being undocumented to cross-check fingerprints against the ICE database.

In other words, Secure Communities encourages the same racial profiling and fast-track to deportation that SB 1070 does.

The program will help the Obama administration reach its goal of deporting 400,000 immigrants this year.

For more information please contact:
Patricia Montes- Centro Presente- 617 629 4731 ext. 211

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Middlebury Police Chief Thomas Hanley Honored

Congratulations, Chief Tom Hanley!

Today, September 14, 2010, Middlebury Police Chief Thomas Hanley will be installed as the new President of the Chiefs of Police at a ceremony at the Doubletree Hotel in Burlington.

The following letter will be read as part of Chief Hanley's inauguration ceremony.

"In our opinion, Chief Hanley has consistently exhibited considerable

leadership in efforts to ensure that policing services are delivered

without bias or prejudice stemming from a person’s race, color, national

origin or citizenship status. Tom has spoken out in the interest of

public safety for all of Vermont’s residents by affirmatively stating

that he and his department are not interested in a person’s status if

that person is a victim of, or witness, to a crime. Chief Hanley

clearly realizes that persons would be reluctant to report criminal

activity if it may subject them to removal proceedings.

Chief Hanley addressed these issues during a statewide conference on

immigration and undocumented farm workers which was held on April 24,

2010 in Middlebury, Vermont. During a panel discussion, Tom stated that

he trains his officers to be “criminal profilers;” that is, officers

are to be alert to objective evidence and indicia of criminal activity

rather than focus their attention on individuals because of their skin

color, race, national origin, manner of dress, native language,

immigration status and other irrelevant criteria. The Chief reported

that if law enforcement officers pay particular attention to types of

persons that they may stereotypically believe are more inclined to

criminal activity, they will not see the evidence of criminality among

the dominant (white) population.

The underreporting of crime is a problem nationwide, and Vermont is no

exception. This problem exists for many complex reasons, not the least

of which is fear of the police. This is especially common among

immigrant and refugee groups, who may have experienced police corruption

and brutality in their countries of origin.

Unfortunately, it does not take long for the underreporting of

victimization among a particular group to become common knowledge. In

the case of migrant farmworkers, their well-known reluctance to report

has made them prey to incidents of assault, theft and robbery, as well

as domestic and sexual violence, hate crimes, and financial

exploitation. Chief Hanley has often spoken of the issue of protecting

all Vermonters, and of encouraging people to report crime. But, unlike

many leaders, he has stood behind his words. He created Vermont's first

bias-free policing policy in Middlebury, which has been called a

"sanctuary city." That policy prohibits police officers from asking for

a person's immigration status unless that person is a suspect in the

commission of a crime.

Chief Hanley probably does not think of himself as a victim advocate.

However, his work to protect some of the most vulnerable and underserved

residents of Vermont -- immigrants and refugees -- through his

courageous stand against racial profiling has greatly increased the

safety of those people. He is a hero to those of us who work on behalf

of crime victims for his unwavering commitment to assuring the safety of

all of Vermont's residents -- not just the ones who look and sound like


We applaud the selection of Chief Tom Hanley as the as incoming

President of the New England Chiefs of Police Association. Vermont,

like the rest of New England, has rapidly changing demographics. Chief

Hanley is a leader among the law enforcement community to ensure that

all who reside in our various jurisdictions have the right to expect and

receive equal treatment from police officers.

Barbara Whitchurch

Director, New Neighbors Victim Outreach Project

Public Education Coordinator, Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services

Robert Appel

Executive Director

Vermont Human Rights Commission"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Neighbors Statewide Training Conference

The New Neighbors Victim Outreach Project is sponsoring a free, comprehensive cross-training for victim service providers and refugee service providers.
This conference will cover a wide range of topics (see below) specifically chosen to increase understanding of the specific cultural issues facing Vermont's refugee and immigrant populations. Refugee service providers will also have the opportunity to learn the basics about crime victimization, the services currently available in Vermont, and how to get help for community members or clients they serve in the course of their work.

You are encouraged to register now by emailing Will Roberts: A more detailed registration brochure will be sent to you next week. You will be able to indicate your choices of workshops as well as any special needs you may have. We want everyone who is interested in this topic to attend! If you are not fluent in English, we will do our very best to provide an interpreter for you.

Please contact me with questions: or 802-241-1250 ext. 112.

Thanks, Barbara





St. Michael’s College 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Reception and Entertainment 4:00 to 5:00 pm

Sponsored by the New Neighbors Victim Outreach Project

Refugee service providers will learn about crime victimization and available services.

Victim advocates will learn how to be allies to Vermont's refugee and immigrant populations.

Topics will include:

Introductory cultural workshops for advocates and allies

Immigration relief and other legal remedies for crime victims

Available victim services in Vermont

Domestic and sexual violence through the lens of cultural awareness

Human trafficking: looking behind the mask

Developing bias-free policies and cultural intelligence in policing

Working with victims of trauma and torture

Join us for a unique and dynamic training, including film, dance, and theater performances!

Lunch will be provided.

For more information, contact: Barbara Whitchurch, Project Director

To register, contact Will Roberts, Training Specialist

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Welcome to the New Neighbors Blog!

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Supporters,

Thank you for coming to see the latest creation of the New Neighbors Victim Outreach Project! The idea for this blog grew out of the rapid proliferation of information that I'm receiving as part of my work with immigrants and refugees in Vermont. I started with a newszine format, but quickly realized that I have news, opportunities and requests to share almost daily. So I hope you'll subscribe by hitting the "subscribe" button or clicking on the RSS feed icon on your browser, so that you can stay current with the Project and new developments regarding rights and services for immigrants and refugees who may become victims of crime. The situation is in flux and is being affected by many factors, including federal immigration policy, Vermont's new anti-trafficking initiatives, a move statewide toward adopting bias-free policing policies, Vermont's economic situation, and an anticipated increase in the number of refugees we will be welcoming to our state next year. And, of course, our growing community of professionals and volunteers who serve this population.

Speaking of which, I also offer this blog as a vehicle for reaching out to that growing network of service providers, volunteers, potential community advocates, and partners in related fields. If you have anything you'd like to post, please send it to me at I'll do my best to get it up and out there right away. Larger files, photos or video clips should be sent to my gmail address:, but please alert me that you are doing so, as I don't check it as frequently.

Let's help our new neighbors feel welcome, be informed, and stay safe.

Warm regards,
Barbara Whitchurch
Director, New Neighbors Victim Outreach Project

Webinar Announcement: U Visas after Enforcement Action

U Visas after an Enforcement Action: Collaborating with Non-Traditional Law Enforcement Agencies
Wednesday, September 8, 2010 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT

This webinar will provide a brief overview of the U visa process, identify sources of legal assistance, and discuss an organization's role in obtaining government certifications for a U visa application. It will emphasize cooperation with the EOC, State Departments of Labor, the federal Department of Labor and other non-traditional law enforcement to obtain U visas for those affected by ICE enforcement activities. In addition to immigration legal services providers, this webinar will also address advocates working with unions and other organizations that support non-citizen workers and cover best practices for networking and building allies and partnerships to address the comprehensive needs of survivors of crimes. The panelists for this webinar will be Gail Pendleton and Sonia Parras-Konrad, Co-Directors of ASISTA, the Immigration Technical Assistance Project. IAN Director Natalie Sullivan will serve as the moderator.
To register, click on the following link: