Abuse of immigrants in focus

Esther Wu writes for Dallas News about abuses among the immigrant communities. She says, there is a high rate number of domestic violence among immigrants, because some immigrant women may feel helpless since they lack communication skills, or their husbands may hold their passports.

Officials say Texas is a major destination for victims of human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is taking place everywhere in the United States,” said Walter Nguyen, executive director of Mosaic Family Services, based in Dallas. “However, Texas — and North Texas in particular — has had a disproportionate share of these cases.”

Human trafficking is defined as the enslavement of a person by another through force, fraud, coercion and abuse. The U.S. Department of State estimates that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the country each year.

Since 2001, more than 20 percent of the identified human trafficking cases in the U.S. were located in the state of Texas, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Officials estimate that Texas is one of four states in the nation that lead the nation in human trafficking. The others states are New York, California and Florida.

The reason for the high number of known victims in Texas may be due to the state’s location and the successful law enforcement investigations of these cases, said Mr. Nguyen.

Many victims are identified as a result of raids or investigations into businesses that work with people involved in human trafficking. A number of the victims are arrested as prostitutes or illegal workers.

There is also a high rate number of domestic violence among immigrants. Some immigrant women may feel helpless because they lack communication skills, or their husbands may hold their passports.

“Domestic violence takes place in all communities, regardless of economic or social status, but those in newly arrived communities are more reluctant to report this crime for many reasons. Our outreach to these groups hopes to make people aware that they can get help,” said Mr. Nguyen.

Mosaic Family Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving hope and power to immigrant survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking through legal case management, counseling and housing services.

But before this organization can help these survivors, it needs the community’s help. he needs your help.

To that end, Ebby Halliday and Mosaic Family Services will hold a 2008 Night of Hope Kickoff at 6 p.m. Jan. 26 2008 at the Idle Rich Pub, 2614 McKinney Ave. in Dallas.

This event begins the annual fundraising drive for Mosaic Family Services Inc. Tickets for the kickoff event are $50, which will be deducted from the purchase of a $150 ticket to the Night of Hope gala. The annual gala will be April 26 held at the Richardson Hotel on April 26, 2008.

For more information about the Jan. 26 kickoff or the April 26 gala, please visit www.mosaicservices.org or call Mosaic Family Services at 214-821-5383.

The keynote speaker at the Night of Hope gala in April will be Mildred Muohammad, who was once married to John Allen Muohammad, who is perhaps better known as the D.C. sniper. In 2002, John Mohammad Mr. Muhammad killed 17 allegedly killed as many as 17 people in the Washington, D.C., area and beyond in what is believed to have been a part of a plan to murder Mildred.

in what she believes was part of a plan to murder her. She will speak about her own terrifying experiences as her ex-husband’s massacre killing spree played out in the media across the nation. CHANGES OKd BY TINA. hp

“Her case is an excellent example of how extremely dangerous domestic violence abusers can be when a woman decides to leave,” Mr. Nguyen said.

“Every day in the United States, four women are murdered by their abusers. Mildred survived and has become an advocate for this issue.”

Mr. Nguyen’s organization serves between 200 and 250??conflicts w. figure below?? survivors of domestic violence from refugee and immigrant communities each year.

According to the executive director:

North Texas has one of the largest metropolitan concentrations of immigrant communities in the nation, according to DFW International, and compared to other metropolitan areas, the North Texas area lags behind in support services for these populations.

The U.S. Census reports that 1 in 5 residents of Dallas County and 1 in 6 residents of Collin County are foreign-born. The number of foreign-born residents has increased by 509% in Collin County and 152% in Dallas County between 1990 and 2003. The Asian population increased by 600% in Collin County and by 90% in Dallas County.

Domestic violence within immigrant and refugee groups is as prevalent as in the majority community, where more than 40,000 family violence reports were made in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant and Rockwall Counties in 2005.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission reports that in 2006, 636 victims were denied family violence services due to lack of space, and 7,474 victims accessed services in the Dallas area.

According to Jennifer Perry, development associate at Mosaic, residents served by the agency at Mosaic House are primarily immigrants from Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Of the women and children served by the agency in 2007, In 2007, the program served 171 women and children — of whom 32 percent were African, 31 percent Hispanic, 21 percent Asian, 15 percent European/Caucasian and 1 percent Middle Eastern.

Seven of these residents were victims of human trafficking.

“The number of residents increased by 17 percent in the past year,” according to Mr. Nguyen, “and more community support is needed to meet the demand for our services.”

“Most [but not all] of the human trafficking cases in this region have involved people from either Asia or Central America,” said Mr. Nguyen.

There is no substantive reason for this, other than the victims that have been found in the area just happen to be from those regions.

However, Mr. Nguyen said there is currently a great deal of research being conducted in an attempt to learn from which countries trafficking is taking place, and the reasons for this.

“The cases that have been prosecuted thus far are not sufficient to give a clear indication of this,” said Mr. Nguyen.

“In general, those who have been trafficked are from many different areas. Mosaic is working closely with federal and local law enforcement agencies in these trafficking cases.”