Through its direct counseling services and promotion of social change and community education, My Sisters’ Place (MSP) is a leading advocate for survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking in Westchester County, New York. In 1976, the organization formed around grassroots efforts to raise awareness and prevent intimate partner violence. Today, MSP’s mission is to engage each member of society in our work to end domestic violence and human trafficking, so that all relationships can embrace the principles of respect, equality, and peacefulness.
After New York State passed anti-trafficking legislation in 2007, MSP received funding as the designated provider of human trafficking services to survivors in Westchester County. Rebecca de Simone, director of the human trafficking program, describes the program as a collaborative effort involving comprehensive case management, counseling and legal assistance. MSP is fortunate to have an in-house legal services department which works with clients to pursue immigration relief and provide referrals for civil matters.
Securing housing for clients is difficult for many service providers engaged in anti-trafficking efforts. To help meet this need, MSP provides emergency housing for clients and their families for up to 180 days. While in shelter, clients can continue to access MSP’s advocacy, counseling and legal services and be linked to outside providers to help meet their individual needs. When clients are ready to exit shelter, counselors provide support during and after their transition into the community.
A recent trafficking case exemplifies the critical impact of MSP’s services. A diplomat brought a client from her home country to the US – forcing her to cook and clean for up to 20 hours a day with no breaks, wages or access to sufficient food. Following months of mental and physical abuse, the woman contacted MSP, who then worked with their law enforcement partners to relocate her to an emergency shelter. During her time in shelter, the client received counseling and medical assistance, while setting her own goals with the support of her case manager. The client was also able, with the help of her case manager, to obtain transitional housing in New York City. In addition, she has recently received a T visa, and continues to receive counseling and support service from MSP.
Looking to the future, MSP plans to work with a range of partners – specifically immigration groups – to expand the organization’s referral procedures. Ms. de Simone states that MSP wants to build upon the ongoing actions of other organizations, and ultimately work together to achieve the common goal of ending human trafficking and domestic violence. Freedom Network USA is proud to support the work of MSP and grateful for their contributions.
For more information on My Sisters’ Place, contact Rebecca (Becca) de Simone at firstname.lastname@example.org.