Author Archives: Michelle Sham

Volunteer case manager wanted at the Civil Society

The Civil Society is looking for a volunteer case manager to work 10-20 hours/week on Monday through Friday. Through the Civil Society which is an organization that works on human trafficking issues in Minnesota, you will be able to gain knowledge and hands-on experience while working and helping victims of human trafficking. They are located in downtown Saint Paul. 

Please take a look at the Case Manager Job Description for its qualifications HERE.
To apply, please send in your resume and the completed volunteer form to

Check out other volunteer opportunities at


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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Community news, Uncategorized


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Human trafficking blog series update: Legislation and Safe Harbor Bill


The first ever comprehensive law passed to prevent human trafficking and protect victims was called the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. Subsequent re-authorizations (TVPA) expanded protection and services for international and domestic victims. This act made a difference for victims trafficked from overseas into the United States because victims could be issued T-visas that allowed them to temporarily stay in the United States and make use of victim services. T-visas give victims from overseas a way of gaining independence away from their pimps or from the people who brought them to the United States. After gaining the T-visa, they can also choose to continue staying in the United States or go back to where they had originally come from.

On top of attending to the needs of the victims, the TVPA also brought about tools for the prosecution and punishment for traffickers. Traffickers who kidnapped, sexually assaulted, attempted to kill or killed their victims could be sentenced to life in imprisonment. In addition, traffickers who used fraud, force or coercion to sexually exploit minors could also face life in prison.

Safe Harbor in Minnesota

The TVPA is one of the forces pushing states to implement similar laws that punish traffickers and protect victims. The Advocates for Human Rights in Minnesota pioneered and led a coalition of non-profits and activists to write and lobby for the Safe Harbor bill which Governor Mark Dayton signed into law in 2011.

The Safe Harbor bill explicitly defines sexually exploited minors as victims who are in need of protection and victim services, and not delinquents. This law that will be enacted in 2014 charged the commissioner of public safety, the commissioner of human services and the commissioner of health in alliance with many groups of people involved in providing services and stakeholders to put together a comprehensive child victims services almost from scratch.

According to Jeff Bauer, Director of Public Policy at the Family Partnership and a member of the Safe Harbor coalition, there are virtually no shelter beds in the state that are dedicated to housing minor victims of sexual exploitation now. But all that will soon change because he is now traveling all around the state to string together resources and connecting service providers, translators, hospitals and stakeholders into a system that would potentially be dedicated to serving and protecting minors who are sexually exploited.

Although this Safe Harbor bill is one big step forward, Bauer believes that more should be done. While children under 15 are immune from prosecution, children who are 16 and 17 could still be prosecuted under the juvenile justice system if they have already gone through the mandatory first referral to victim services. He believes that all minors under the age of 18 should be protected and never be treated as criminals.

Updates on the Safe Harbor coalition

I had the opportunity to shadow Bauer to some of the daily meetings where I got to meet many dedicated professionals who are as passionate about this issue as he is. At the No Wrong Door meeting that brought together the whole Safe Harbor coalition to unveil and review the whole system of services they had worked so hard on, I learned the basic workings of the sexually exploited child victim services. Victims could be referred from anywhere such as getting picked up on the streets, hospitals or even self-referred. Once they are referred, they will work with an expert from their region who will make sure they get all the services and protection they need to regain their lives. Services include chemical dependency rehabilitation, education, legal services, mental health consultations, employment help and many more.

According to Bauer, similar system had been set up in other states but most of the systems turned out to be a failure. This is because most of the time, only one department of the government worked on creating the system, which caused many conflicts within a framework where it is necessary for multiple parties to work together. With that in mind, I was hopeful that our system might just be one of the successful systems while I sat in a room full of lawyers, social workers, law enforcement officers, lawmakers and other professionals with a variety of expertise and watching them debate about definitions, talk about procedures and basically working together.

What is needed from the Asian Community in Minnesota

While there seems to be hope of child victims of sexual exploitation, human trafficking is a problem that is not only prevalent but even increasing in Minnesota, Bauer said. Bauer recommends that communities of color should start talking about this hidden problem and “accept that it is happening to their own children.” “Silence is what allows this problem to grow in our state,” he said. The Asian community can also work together with the Safe Harbor coalition to create a culturally appropriate system that would serve Asian victims better. The victim services should not be a one-size-fits-all system. He hopes that more people from the Asian community can give their input on how services can be more culturally specific. If you have any ideas or questions at all, please leave a comment and I will be sure to address them all.

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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in CAPM news, Legislative


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Asian Pacific Teens’ Resource Fair and Exposition 2012 Recap

First and foremost, we would like to thank everyone who came including resource vendors, guest performers and volunteers who contributed their time to us that day. The event would not have been as enriching and fun for the community and children without their efforts.

The resource fair exposed the youth to a variety of issues such as racism, bullying and smoking. There were also many educational resources provided by groups like the Asian Sorority Interest Group and American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

On top of showcasing their talents during the performances, the APYC youth also took the opportunity to bring to light the plight of human trafficked victims in Minnesota. The guest performers tied brought the exposition up one notch with their expertise in traditional song and dance from multiple countries.

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If you know a youth who would like to be involved with the Asian Pacific Youth Council, we will be hosting the annual Asian Pacific Youth Leadership retreat this June in the beautiful Vermillion Community College campus up in Ely, Minnesota. Please click here for more details and applications.

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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in CAPM Events, General Comments


Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotan’s Heritage Dinner will be held tomorrow at the Hilton Garden Inn in St. Paul.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Rose Wan-Mui Chu

Awardees of the dinner will be:
Cultural Society of Filipino Americans
Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota
MayKao Y. Hang
Glen R. King
Dr. Kyoko Kishimoto
True Thao

We would like to thank our sponsors who contributed generously to this event:
Bronze sponsors:
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Minnesota Historical Society
Taj Technologies. Inc

Community Champion sponsors:
David Zander
Korean American Association of Minnesota
Korean Service Center
St. Cloud State University
The Family Partnership
Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota
Twin Cities Japanese American Citizens League
Wilder Foundation

Friend sponsors:
Shanti Shah
Fredriksson & Byron, PA
Steepery/ The Tea Garden
United Noodles Inc.

Thank you so much!

Tickets will also be sold at the door.
We hope to see you there!
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Posted by on May 3, 2012 in CAPM Events



Hindu Society of Minnesota: First Annual Benefit

The Hindu Society of Minnesota will be hosting their first annual benefit this year.

Where: Mounds View Community Center (5394 Edgewood Drive, Mounds View, MN 55112
When: Saturday, April 21, 2012

For more information, please download the flier here: Hindu Society of MN dinner flier

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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Community news


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Spice and Slice of Asian America

Hennepin County Library is collaborating with Mu Performing Arts for this year’s “Spice & Slice of Asian America” program series in May. The series includes interactive and humor-laced productions that highlight “the good, the bad and the truly ugly” of the Asian American experience.

The series kicks off  at Minneapolis Central Library with a taiko performance.

The premiere performance of “American Bamboo” will be on May 6 at Plymouth Library and repeated on May 26 at Southdale Library.

All performances are free and open to the public.  

For more information about the performances, please go to their link here.

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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Community news


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