Innovative Housing Solutions: A Research Study on Runaway, Foster, and Homeless Youth

Numbers of runaway, foster, and homeless youths are on the rise with not enough emergency shelters, missions, foster homes, or volunteer locations to take them in. It is time to address the underlying causations and factors resulting in the high numbers of runaway, foster, and homeless youth rather than the aftermath. Please click below to read though my proposed research design on how to obtain statistical information on the underlying factors to begin understanding what is causing this epidemic.

Multi-Collaborative Housing Proposal 1


Motel Turned Blind Eye To Child Sex Traffickers For Profit, Suit Claims

“This lawsuit is the first of many to come that will hold hotel and motel owners, among others, accountable,” lawyers say.

A motel accused of looking the other way as children were shuffled in and out of its rooms for sexual exploitation is facing what may be the first lawsuit of its kind under a Pennsylvania statute.

In the lawsuit, filed Friday, a now 17-year-old girl accuses Philadelphia’s Roosevelt Inn of knowingly providing rooms to human traffickers over a nearly two-year period starting in 2013 for its own financial gain.

The girl, who is identified as M.B. in the suit, was just 14 years old when she said she was first forced to have sex at the motel with more than 1,000 men for as little as $50, CBS 3 reported, citing the teen’s attorneys.

“This child was forced into sex slavery, paid to do things with men double, triple, quadruple her age,” her attorney, Nadeem Bezar of Philadelphia-based Kline & Specter PC, said at a press conference on Friday.

The Roosevelt Inn in northern Philadelphia is accused of knowingly allowing child sex traffickers to rent out its rooms to abuse children.

The Northeast Philadelphia motel is the first business to be hit with such a lawsuit under Pennsylvania’s 2014 human trafficking statute, M.B.’s lawyers say. In addition to providing more resources for prosecutors in sex trafficking cases, Act 105 expands protection for victims and increases fines and penalties against individuals and businesses involved in human trafficking.

Though M.B.’s case may be the first related to the statute, her attorneys promised it won’t be the last.

“This lawsuit is the first of many to come that will hold hotel and motel owners, among others, accountable when they knowingly allow victimization of the most vulnerable in our society,” M.B.’s attorney Tom Kline said in a statement.

M.B. was regularly escorted into the motel wearing sexually explicit clothing and was “visibly treated in an aggressive manner” by her traffickers, her attorneys claim. “Men stood in the hallways and then entered and left the room in which M.B. was kept,” they added.

“The sexual exploitation of children must be addressed. It’s time to hold those facilitating these trafficking activities accountable,” Bezar said.

The lawsuit names the motel’s owner and manager Yagna Patel as a defendant, as well as UFVS Management Company, which in addition to managing the site oversees 40 properties in New Jersey, New York, and Chicago, according to its website.

We just rent the room and that’s all we can do.Yagna Patel, owner and manager of the Roosevelt Inn

Patel, reached by the Philadelphia Inquirer, said he hadn’t seen the lawsuit and had no knowledge of any child trafficking taking place at the motel.

“We just rent the room and that’s all we can do,” he said.

Klein called the statement outrageous. “You have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to know that a hundred men are showing up over a period of a couple of days,” he said, according to CBS 3 News.

Bezar said people cleaning the motel rooms would remove boxes and trash cans full of used condoms.

“This is about as open and obvious as it gets,” he said.

UFVS Management Company did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.

The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Please click on the following link for the complete article including the video included with the Huffington Post video



How Photojournalists Cover Sexual Violence Against Women

By getting into the perpetrator’s head rather than focusing on the victim’s body, which is the more typical visual approach in photojournalism, I could tell stories of trafficking without placing a harmful, intrusive gaze on those who have already suffered greatly. And I decided to concentrate on cases in the United States because human trafficking is an under-reported story here, and many Americans imagine trafficking happens in faraway places. In addition, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, and its reauthorization in 2013 changed the criminal justice landscape for the better, with laws that enable prosecutors to go after traffickers more aggressively and provide legal asylum to immigrant victims.

(A tip ledger in a forced labor case. Newark, N.J.Credit Nina Berman/Noor)

A tip ledger in a forced labor case. Newark, N.J.

I offer this work now as an example of a different way of seeing after the photojournalism industry’s most recent ethical scandal, this time involving a U.K. photographer Souvid Datta, who built a name for himself photographing scenes inside Kolkata brothels. Mr. Datta, a rising star, had made a picture of a trafficked 16-year-old girl, whom he called “Beauty,” and showed her in bed with a man on top of her committing rape. In his quest to capture the victim’s facial expression — to better reveal her pain, he said — he stood over the rapist, which added another dimension of domination to the image.

He entered this picture in the Magnum Photography Awards 2017 contest run by Lens Culture, a popular pay-to-play offer that promises emerging photographers, who pay an entry fee of up to $60, exposure to industry professionals. Lens Culture used the image on its social media platforms to promote the contest, which outraged members of the photojournalism community. Lens Culture offered a mea culpa and removed the post and the image.

But incredibly, it wasn’t the depiction of underage rape that destroyed Mr. Datta’s career.

Rather, it was revealed that Mr. Datta had previously inserted a face from one of Mary Ellen Mark’s Mumbai brothels series into his own work. This transgression and other acts of plagiarism, which he explained away as ethical lapses by an inexperienced journalist, caused widespread outrage and sent his previous patrons — the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, the Alexia Foundation, and Magnum, among them — scrambling to distance themselves.

But now a few voices are asking broader questions about representation and why Mr. Datta’s work and approach were so appealing in the first place. Why are stories of vulnerable and suffering women and girls, often with pleading or blank expressions and seen in faraway lands, praised and rewarded by American and European grant makers, portfolio reviewers and editors? Is there another way to tell stories of important issues of human trafficking, forced labor, and sexual violence without focusing on the bodies of vulnerable women?

For several months I pored through Department of Justice files, spoke to federal and state prosecutors, victim advocates, survivors, and Homeland Security agents to find cases of trafficking and forced labor where perpetrators were convicted at trial. Most cases never reach this stage. Felons take a plea, and the evidence is never made public.

The work was tedious and frustrating. Sometimes I would find a prosecutor willing to talk, only to learn that the evidence was destroyed once the case was closed. Several months of research allowed me a short time inside various conference rooms where I photographed a rubber mallet used by Donell Baines to clobber women in Manhattan; a ledger where girls trafficked from Togo logged their tips while slaving in braiding salons in Newark and East Orange, N.J. On its cover was the Statue of Liberty.

 (A crime scene in a sex trafficking case. Memphis, Tenn.Credit Nina Berman/Noor)

A crime scene in a sex trafficking case. Memphis, Tenn.

In Pound Ridge, N.Y., I found Joseph Yannai’s shabby computer, wrapped in evidence tape, with dust and fingerprints on the screen. Mr. Yannai, a food writer, assumed a fictional female persona online to lure unsuspecting foreign women to work as editorial assistants out of his home. Once there, he terrorized them and forced them to do his sexual bidding. He claimed he was “a dirty old man,” but otherwise innocent. He was sentenced to 11 years.

In Chicago, I photographed a weapon along with the jewelry line of Alex Campbell, the first trafficker to receive life in prison. He fashioned himself a cowboy and created a horseshoe logo which he tattooed onto his victims. It’s not uncommon for sexual traffickers to brand their victims — sometimes even tattooing bar codes into their skin, much in the same way plantation owners in the Antebellum South branded enslaved African-Americans to track their human inventory.

These crimes are characterized by violence, fear, intimidation and psychological manipulation, which is also revealed in texts recovered as evidence. These are the rules of labor which traffickers force captives to write: “If I tell you something more than 2 times, you will take a swim and meet Newport,” meaning the trafficker will pour scalding water on the woman and burn her with cigarettes. The F.B.I.’s Memphis office had pictures of the scars.

One of the most revealing pictures in the series was one I did not make. It was given to me by an Assistant United States Attorney and shows a family of four against a blue background. The father has his arms around his wife on one side and his daughter on the other. Another daughter, much smaller, is placed front and center. All their eyes are covered with black strips, which the prosecutor added to the photograph to protect their family’s identity. The oldest daughter had been trafficked from Mexico to Tennessee where she was repeatedly raped. Bravely, she testified against her captors and received a special visa for trafficking victims.

Please click on the link below to see the slideshow of Nina Berman’s works on Modern Day Slavery.

Nina Berman’s work was funded by a grant from Lexis Nexus as part of the NOOR Project on Modern Day Slavery. She is an associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Human Trafficking: Senior Capstone Project

Advocating for the voiceless has always been a passion of mine, however, this semester that took on a new meaning. Two years ago I delved into the research world on homeless youth which led me to human trafficking and it is there that my journey to advocating for victims of human trafficking began. Please take a moment and review my PowerPoint presentation and the macro-level change paper to provide additional information. Here you will find valuable information about how human traffickers are using social media applications to lure and trap unsuspecting adolescents by exploiting vulnerabilities.

Human Trafficking Change Process

Senior Capstone


TRIO Educational Talent Search

Click on this link to learn more about the practicum contract.

TRIO Contract

TRIO Educational Talent Search of Briar Cliff University

Mission Statement 

“Our agency assists empowers, and advocates for eligible adolescences to succeed in higher education. Through academic resources and support, service, and openness, participants develop positive and lasting relationships, educational experiences, and opportunities”

TRIO Talent Search. (2017). Educational talent search. [Brochure]. [Sioux City, IA]. 

Eligibility Requirements

  • Students in Grades 6th through 12th
  • Whose parents have not graduated from a four-year college OR meets
  • The U.S. Department of Education income guidelines
  • Who has an academic or physical disability
  • Considering an education beyond high school
  • Who needs information or assistance applying for post-secondary education
  • Who are concerned about being able to afford college
  • Who needs information on career choices available to them

TRIO Talent Search. (2017). Educational talent search. [Brochure]. [Sioux City, IA].  

Program Description

“The Talent Search program identifies and assists individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education. The program provides academic, career, and financial counseling to its participants and encourages them to graduate from high school and continue to and complete their postsecondary education. The program publicizes the availability of financial aid and assists the participant with the postsecondary application process. Talent Search also encourages persons who have not completed education programs at the secondary or postsecondary level to enter or reenter and complete postsecondary education. The goal of Talent Search is to increase the number of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who complete high school and enroll in and complete their postsecondary education.”

United States Department of Education. (2014, October 14). Talent search program. Retrieved    from

Educational Talent Search of Briar Cliff University Available Programs

High School

  • Career Information
  • Academic Advisement
  • ACT/SAT Test Information
  • Financial Aid Information and Scholarship Search Assistance
  • College Orientation and Admission Information
  • Mentoring and Tutoring
  • Campus Visits
  • Cultural Activities

Middle School

  • Tutoring, Mentoring, and Academic Advising
  • Goal Setting, Decision-Making Skills, and Self-Esteem Activities
  • High School Orientation
  • College Awareness and Career Exploration
  • Cultural Activities and Summer Enrichment

TRIO Talent Search. (2017). Educational talent search. [Brochure]. [Sioux City, IA].  




Human Trafficking: Background Information

One of the most common questions I am asked when speaking about human trafficking is  “Why don’t they just leave?” The question sounds simple right, why don’t they leave but the reality is, human trafficker’s use methods similar to terrorist interrogation methods. Please view the PowerPoint for an in-depth explanation of the criminal mind of a human trafficker.

The Criminal Element in Human Trafficking

Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: A Preliminary Research Study

Yaghoubi-Doust, M. (2013). Reviewing the Association between the History of Parental Substance Abuse and the Rate of Child Abuse. Addiction & Health, 5(3-4), 126-133. Retrieved June 20, 2015                                                                                       

The author, Mahmoud Yaghoubi-Doust, a Ph.D. student in the department of Sociology at the Islamic Azad University in Shoustar, Iran researched the effects of parental substance abuse as it relates to domestic child abuse. The author’s method of conducting research was through a case study using parents with a history of substance abuse and parents with no known history of substance abuse and the likelihood that domestic violence would occur. The author does an excellent job in identifying the reasons that substance abuse causes domestic violence such as changes in the addict’s mood and behavior and the direct impact that has on violence. The study also pointed to evidence indicated a direct link between addiction and an increase in divorce rate poverty, spousal abuse and unemployment which are all direct links to domestic child abuse. The author, however, does not discuss issues that are prevalent to resolving these issues only highlighting the causation.

Willis, R., M., & Wilson, M. (2008). Improving Detection and Quality of Assessment of Assessment of Child Abuse and Partner Abuse is Achievable with a Formal Organizational Change Approach. Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, 44(3), 92-98 Retrieved June 24, 2015, from                                                                                      http://doi:10.1111/j.1440-1754.2007.01276x

The authors of this article, Russell Wills, Miranda Ritchie, and Millie Wilson are on the Hawkes Bay Board of Health at the hospital in New Zealand. The purpose of the article was to increase the detection of child abuse and assessment in a health service setting. The method used for this study incorporated programs from within the hospital including senior management, executive leadership teams, local law enforcement, outside sources such as Ministry of Health, Women’s Refuge, and all support staff not only internal but external as well had been trained and provided with materials on child abuse detection. The study utilized clinical audits from the records of CYFS (abused women) that presented in the Emergency Room. After reviewing the audits and other materials it became apparent there was, in fact, a direct link between spousal abuse and domestic child abuse. The authors then began to implement a program throughout the hospital to implement training at all levels for its staff and outside agencies for reporting and to patients for confidential assistance if they needed services. This article provides an excellent example of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute policy on partnership, it reflects their ability to work with outside agencies as well as with collaborating with the parents and staff at all levels.

Osofsky, J.D. (1999). The Impact of Violence on Children. The Future of Children, 9(3), 33. Retrieved July 11, 2015, from

The author of this article Osofsky J.D. looks at the impact of violence on children. Osofsky looks not only at the relevance of spousal abuse and its impact on child abuse but the direct link to media violence, community violence, where children grow up such as low-income neighborhoods and finally concludes with the characteristics of parents who are not capable of being effective parents due to exposure to spousal abuse and the reasons behind their inability to parent. The author addresses the abused parent’s emotional unavailability to their children, parents who are victims are not able to help their children who have witnessed these tragedies and are very likely to be victims themselves. Osofsky also reports abused parents feel anxious and depressed making them unavailable when their children need those most and that these parents need services to assist their children and prevent additional exposure and victimization to children. The article shows the NCWII need for diversity, this is explained in the article when working with individuals across various income and ethnic backgrounds. This article did a fantastic job covering all the key areas and ramifications that occur to children from violence.

Sifo L.G., & Masango, M. J. (2014). The Impact of Spousal Violence on the Children: A Pastoral Care Approach. Hervormde Teologise Studies, 70(2), 1-7, Retrieved July 11, 2015, from                                       

The authors of this article are pastoral therapists and ordained ministers with a large Christian denomination in South America. The method used for this article is through a case study of a family that was exposed to severe violence and then followed this family into adulthood and found these children’s symptoms compared to those who had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The authors himself from the effects of domestic violence and child abuse growing up; the goal of the article is to provide other pastoral trauma therapists with the necessary skills to aid these victims. The article takes us through the case study from the eyes of the child and gives the reader the ability to understand why there are so many psychological effects on children who merely witness the events. The authors continue to give information pertaining to how many abusers will turn the children into victims and began to abuse them emotionally, physically, and sometimes sexually. The authors go into detail about the lifelong impact of violent exposure and victimization to youth such as anxiety, social withdraw, bedwetting, illnesses, exhibiting aggressive behavior and running away from home to mention a few examples. The authors conclude the article with several recommendations, however, the one most prominent are community involvement and support for the abused spouse and children. That as a church community there needs more to be done to help these victims find healing and resources so they are empowered and can ultimately find a path to a better life. This article is a prime example of why social workers need to utilize NCWII culture responsiveness policy in their practices, this article was written in South America and these customs of battering spouses comes with them to America.

Little, P. L., & Bogel, C. M. (1998). The Effects of Spousal Abuse on Children: Awareness for Correctional Educators. Journal of Correctional Education, 49(1), 30-39 Retrieved on July 15, 2015

The authors Patricia Little Ph.D. and Cherie Bogel conduct a study of 37 school-aged children whose mothers had sought help from a local battered woman’s shelter. The purpose of the study was to determine the difference from if the damage from children who were victims of domestic child abuse only vs children who witnessed their mothers being abused warranted defining spousal abuse as a form of psychological abuse to the child. After conducting the study and reviewing all the information the authors did, in fact, determine there is significant data to warrant spousal abuse as a form of psychological abuse. The authors also go into detail about the difficulties this will place on child welfare workers as child maltreatment is a broad term and that psychological and emotional abuse is challenging to define. The authors go into detail explaining the various aspects of behaviors children display at various ages and genders to assist with this issue of identifying children who are suffering the effects of this type of abuse. This article is an excellent example of the NASW ethical principle on social justice. The authors do an excellent job assisting the social service workers in defining aspects of victims who have suffered psychological and emotional abuse.

Koshland, D. E., Jr. (1994). The Spousal Abuse Problem. Science, 265(5171), Retrieved July 21, 2015, from                                                                         

The author of this article Daniel Koshland Jr. writes an investigative report pertaining to spousal abuse, the reasons behind why women don’t leave the abusers and some workable solutions. Koshland begins by explaining that in the Unites States at the time the article was written spousal abuse was receiving much public attention and that it was evident that legal action was needed. At the time, more scientific study needed to be conducted prior to this legislation occurring. The author tells us that in 1992 29% of the women that were murdered in the United States were in fact murdered by their husbands or ex-boyfriends or a man they had dated. It is common for an ex-boyfriend to turn into a stalker and at that time there were no laws against this. Koshland addresses the cultural issues associated with why women stay for example, in other cultures they have a code where the men can command and control the wives. While in the United States that is not acceptable the men don’t change their customs and the women out of fear don’t leave. The author provides us with other examples of why women stay such as economic insecurity/dependence, home preservation, separation from her children and flat out fear. The author suggests counseling and legislation as the beginning phases to assist in providing a remedy for the situation. The NCWII addresses these issues of culture through culture responsiveness training, the author does an excellent job in providing the reader detailed information about the culture differences in a sensitive yet straightforward manner.