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Amirah, Inc.

 PO Box 54
 Wenham, MA 01984
[P] (781) 462-1758
[F] --
http://www.amirahboston.org/
info@amirahboston.org
Stephanie Clark
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INCORPORATED: 2009
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 27-1214049

LAST UPDATED: 11/22/2015
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

Amirah, Inc. provides a refuge for those seeking to break free from exploitation and heal in community on their journey toward lasting hope.

 

 

Mission Statement

Amirah, Inc. provides a refuge for those seeking to break free from exploitation and heal in community on their journey toward lasting hope.

 

 

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015
Projected Income $260,000.00
Projected Expense $160,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Awareness-Raising
  • Capacity-building
  • Safe-Home Providing Whole-Person Care

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

Amirah, Inc. provides a refuge for those seeking to break free from exploitation and heal in community on their journey toward lasting hope.

 

 

Background Statement

In 2008, a small group of people, deeply impacted after reading a book on human trafficking, began speaking to different groups to raise awareness.  As they continued their research, they learned that concerted efforts were underway to create legislation, engage law enforcement, address demand and raise awareness; however, the most obvious unmet need was safe, stable housing providing whole-person aftercare.   In June 2009, the vision was born to create an organization that would provide restorative, trauma-sensitive whole-person care specifically for survivors.  The vision would center on providing safe homes for survivor recovery.  In July 2009, we chose the name “Amirah”, which in Persian means “daughter of the King” or “female leader”.  It reflects the sense of value and dignity that we seek to restore within those we serve. 

We spent 2009-2012 researching best practices and building an extensive network of friends, donors, partners, and volunteers.  With only a few organizations in the US providing this level of survivor aftercare, we collaborated with dozens of survivors, medical providers, legal advisors, trauma experts, therapists, program directors, and consultants in developing and focusing our program plans. 

In 2013, we crossed the threshold into implementing our program plans by offering Breaking Free educational support groups to survivors housed in substance abuse programs and opening a safe home providing comprehensive services for this population in New England.


Impact Statement

Amirah’s safe home opened in October 2013. After four months of care, our first program participant began living on her own and supporting herself with a job of her choice. This client’s story included capacity-building trainings that resulted in a new victim identification, community member volunteers who evolved into part of her care team, and a founding vision for an anti-trafficking organization being proven effective. This story represents several accomplishments:

  1. Building a community-based pipeline of services from victim identification through aftercare to reintegration
  2. Opening of a 10-bed whole-person care safe home to provide comprehensive, wraparound care for 10 full-time program participants and temporary emergency shelter for 3 survivors
  3. We were called a “national benchmark program” by the Boston-based Homeland Security Investigations Victim Assistance Coordinator.
  4. Transition of our first client into a life she’s choosing to lead
  5. Several key outputs measures:

 

  • Trained over 250 service providers
  • Served 55 survivors through our Breaking Free educational support groups
  • Developed partnerships with 75 community partners and 45 professional service providers
  • Hired our first Survivor Mentor to work with safe home residents and co-facilitate educational support groups

 


 


Needs Statement

 Amirah's biggest immediate need is funding for the whole-person care program and additional staff to support operations in the safe home that will enable us to provide effective care for up to 10 women in the program.

 


CEO Statement

The problem of Commercial Exploitation is pervasive throughout New England.  Given its hidden nature, numbers are difficult to track; but survivor and agency reports indicate that thousands of people in this region are being exploited.  Anti-trafficking agencies are just beginning to understand the factors that enable exploitation to persist and how to address them effectively.  The solution requires multiple strategies, inter-agency collaboration, and engaged communities; however, our state is just beginning to take action after new legislation was passed in 2011.  Aftercare has been identified as one of the least developed and most needed aspects of fighting Commercial Exploitation.

Since Amirah’s inception, it was clear that our organization’s success would be impacted significantly from collaborating across sectors and learning from those already invested in different aspects of the movement.    Although trauma-informed whole-person care is complex, Amirah is grateful to have developed a strong network of local partners from many disciplines – such as  Mass General, The Trauma Center, Homeland Security, The Salvation Army, The International Institute of New England, Quadra Counseling and Windrush Farm—who have rallied to offer their time and expertise to our program.

This expertise has been invaluable, as shown by the early success of our Breaking Free support groups and whole-person care safe home program.  Survivors in our programs have demonstrated tremendous progress in their restoration.

 

Board Chair Statement

Amirah provides:

  • Transformative, whole-person care to women survivors of brutal, devaluing, trauma-inducing commercial exploitation
  • A program tailored to address each participant's physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and vocational needs
  • A safe, secure home provided for women who have no home
  • A caring community created by weaving together the clients, staff, and partners
  • Community awareness and capacity-building for service providers/partners

All this and more makes it easy for me to be glad and grateful to be connected with Amirah and to serve as the Chair of its Board of Directors. Amirah is a young organization, with great potential for growth and new opportunities. Our unique model of whole-person transformative care has now been proven effective and we’re working hard each day to grow and strengthen these programs. I trust that as more people become aware of the scale and scope of human trafficking--especially as more Americans come to understand that trafficking is in our own back yards--more will choose to support Amirah and its programs. We can not all go to Nepal or India to storm brothels, but most of us can do something to show care for and provide help to trafficking survivors. Amirah is the only program of its kind in all of New England. Isn't supporting the work of Amirah an opportunity you would find gratifying?

- Nancy Mering, Chair of the Board

Geographic Area Served

STATEWIDE
City of Boston- Citywide (Indiv. neighborhoods also listed)
City of Boston- Allston/ Brighton
City of Boston- Back Bay
City of Boston- Beacon Hill/ West End
City of Boston- Charlestown
City of Boston- Chinatown/ Leather District
City of Boston- North Dorchester
City of Boston- South Dorchester
City of Boston- Downtown
City of Boston- East Boston
City of Boston- Fenway/ Kenmore
City of Boston- Hyde Park
City of Boston- Jamaica Plain
City of Boston- Mattapan
City of Boston- Mission Hill
City of Boston- North End
City of Boston- Roslindale
City of Boston- Roxbury
City of Boston- South Boston
City of Boston- South End/Bay Village
City of Boston- Harbor Islands
City of Boston- West Roxbury
BERKSHIRE REGION, MA
CAPE &ISLANDS REGION, MA
CENTRAL REGION, MA
METROWEST REGION, MA
NORTHEAST REGION, MA
PIONEER VALLEY REGION, MA
SOUTHEAST REGION, MA
STATEWIDE
GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA
Amirah offices and safe home are on the North Shore of Boston. 

Organization Categories

  1. Human Services - Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations
  2. Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy - Civil Rights, Social Action, & Advocacy N.E.C.
  3. Mental Health & Crisis Intervention - Residential Mental Health Treatment

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

Awareness-Raising

 

Amirah provides awareness training for the general public across the state, region, and nation to: 1) understand the visible and invisible factors contributing to Commercial Exploitation; 2) recognize signs of victimization; 3) to contribute to personal and community actions and solutions.

 

Amirah provides “Ambassador Training” for the interested public to learn more about Commercial Exploitation, aspects of the movement to end it, and Amirah’s mission, scope of services and philosophy towards program design and delivery.  It aims to build capacity in our community by creating ‘ambassadors’ who will continue to promote public awareness.

Budget  $8,590.00
Category  Community Development, General/Other Community Renewal
Population Served US& International General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 

Over 32,000 individuals have a general awareness of human trafficking and an understanding of victim identification and reporting 

Program Long-Term Success 
 Significant statewide identification and referral of victims. 
Program Success Monitored By 
Database describing speaking engagements, type of group, # attending, and immediate feedback.
 
Tracking system for how each group is taking action. 
Examples of Program Success 
A high school social justice club inviting us to speak twice, first to one class, then to four.  They have run one fundraiser and clothing drive for Amirah, and organized a school-wide awareness week.
 
We spoke at a large festival in New Hampshire, and conversations resulted in one intern working with us, a church deciding to be a major community partner, dozens of individuals contributing their skills to our mission, hundreds of people engaged in deeper conversations about Commercial Exploitation, and thousands of people made aware that CE is happening here in New England, and how Amirah is part of the solution. 

Capacity-building

Amirah provides awareness, detection, and solution-focused training for partners who are service providers, first responders or serve in any development capacity through their partnership with us. 

This training includes: a background on the sociological, psychological, and criminal dimensions of Commercial Exploitation in national and international contexts; identification of victimization & victims; and merging a trauma-informed approach with Amirah’s Whole-Person Approach.
Budget  $24,970.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Personal Social Services
Population Served Victims US& International At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

 

20 State agencies, service providers, businesses trained in victim identification, reporting and trauma informed care

Secure a Memoranda Of Understanding with 25 local and regional companies, service agencies, law enforcement offices, vocational training and employment referral
Program Long-Term Success  25 organizations with an increased awareness of human trafficking and 100% of agencies are able to identify a victim and are equipped to respond with a Trauma-Informed Approach and victims can access comprehensive services.
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success 
To date, Amirah has trained 250 service providers on victim identification, increasing trauma sensitivity in their services and developing protocols of care.
 

Safe-Home Providing Whole-Person Care

The Amirah Home is a safe place located North of Boston that serves women 18+ years of age who are survivors of domestic and/or international commercial sexual exploitation (sex trafficking).  It will provide 24/7 care for up to 10 program participants.

At the home, we use a community-based, trauma-informed, culturally-competent, and client-driven process for whole-person care that allows survivors to achieve restoration, empowerment, and healthy living with economic self-sufficiency.

The home is located outside of the fast-paced urban setting of Boston, while still serving as a hub for an array of services through our network of 45 partners.

In-House services include: Basic Needs, Life Skills, Life Coaching, Spiritual Support, Safety Planning,Transportation, Recreation and Support Groups including Expressive Therapies [Yoga, Art, Movement, Massage, Equine, Horticulture]

Referral services include: Medical andMental HealthLegalIndividual Therapy, Career Readiness Courses, Education & Vocational Training, English Language, Tattoo Removal, Internships & Job opportunities
Budget  $359,400.00
Category  Housing, General/Other Transitional Housing
Population Served Victims Females Adults
Program Short-Term Success 

10 women will receive services and care in the safe home.

90% of participants experience a sense of safety and begin to access comprehensive services that give them tools to make self-initiated healthy choices towards their recovery. 

Program Long-Term Success 

Within one year, 100% of participants will see positive improvements in each of their self-identified goals.

100% of participants will gain knowledge and skills of health-promoting activities such as regular sleeping patterns, nutrition, coping strategies and life skills.

We expect 80% participation in activities to prepare for economic self-sufficiency and overall well-being 

Program Success Monitored By 

Measurement will occur at entry, weekly, exit, and post-exit intervals.

Staff-based

Client database: To collect demographics, services provided, case notes, etc.

Outcomes Matrix: Captures client progress through pre and post assessments

Observational Notes/ Log book: Qualitative Observations and notes completed regularly by staff on client interactions, growth, etc..

Client-based

Partners will complete initial evaluations on their satisfaction with Amirah’s training and document quarterly surveys to report the number of victims identified and referrals to comprehensive services.

Trauma recovery is complete when survivors tell their story.  After clients are ready and been trained to tell their story they will do so in an appropriate venue.

Clients will complete satisfaction surveys on the impact of groups, expressive therapies and other comprehensive services.

Clients will document and evaluate their own progress through self-assessments, client journals and creative arts.

Examples of Program Success 
In October 2013, the safe home opened its doors to provide whole-person aftercare services for 13 clients to date. 
 
After reviewing our programs, the Victim Assistance Coordinator at Homeland Security said, “I was excited to hear about your safe house that is coming to fruition; it is definitely a gap in services that is much needed.  The concept of ‘one-stop shopping,’ is key to victims moving on with their lives.”
 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The black market crime of Human Trafficking is fueled by the invisibility of the issue.  The very definition of Human Trafficking includes the terms, “force, fraud and coercion,” which by nature are difficult to recognize and prove. Often those who first come into contact with victims -professionals in law enforcement, medical personnel, and hospitality industry - are untrained to identify victims.  In a report by the Department of Health and Human Services (Clawson & Dutch, 2008), one Law Enforcement official stated, “Most of our cases are not 'black and white.' They fall into gray areas that are not always easy to prove."   Homeland Security (HS) has launched the “Blue Campaign” that aims to build awareness. We partner with HS to increase the knowledge base and improve victim identification efforts.

Also due to the “invisible” nature of this crime, national data is lacking.  This makes it difficult for Amirah to have a clear scope of the problem. Free the Slaves estimates there are 27 million Human Trafficking victims worldwide, yet only 42,291 victims were identified in 2011 (US Dept of State, 2012 ). 

Federal legislation uses the term “Human Trafficking” or “Trafficking in Persons;” whereas, the state of MA uses the term “Commercial Exploitation.” Amirah uses the terms “Commercial Sexual Exploitation” and “Sex Trafficking” when referring to Amirah's target population, women over 18 who are survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. 

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Stephanie Clark
CEO Term Start Apr 2015
CEO Email sclark@amirahboston.org
CEO Experience


Co-CEO Ms. Stephanie Clark
Co-CEO Term Start Apr 2015
Co-CEO Email sclark@amirahboston.org
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Heather Thornburg Program Director --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

--

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Given the minimal precedent for programs like ours, Amirah's first three years involved extensive research, and consultation with experts in many fields, that resulted in an initial portfolio of guiding documents.  

Toward the end of 2012, we focused work on program development and implementation plans, including the development of program policies, procedures and systems. 
 
Concurrent with implementing those plans, we are now updating our original documents and creating additional ones to reflect the mindsets and priorities that have developed.

Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 179
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 75%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 4
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 4
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 2
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit --
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

General Property Coverage
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Directors and Officers Policy

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Bi-Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A

Governance


Board Chair Ms. Nancy Mering
Board Chair Company Affiliation retired
Board Chair Term July 2015 - June 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Megan Burnett Biogen Voting
Carter Crockett Gordon College Voting
Jim Dalton Infor Voting
Robin Feeney Strata Pathology Partners Voting
Greg Hood Lynn Community Health Center Voting
Jodi Hyer WomenCraft Social Enterprise Voting
Priscilla Masterson Element Care & Private Practice Voting
Nancy Mering Retired Voting
Greg Smith Security Innovation Voting
Laurie Truschel Gordon College Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Jan Carlberg Writer/Storyteller NonVoting
Vednita Carter Breaking Free NonVoting
Andrew DeFranza Harborlight Community NonVoting
Peter DiMarzio Victim Assistance Coordinator, Homeland Security NonVoting
Sarah Durfey Abolitionist Network, Emmanuel Gospel Center NonVoting
Eric Goodwin Brewster Ambulance Co. NonVoting
Rod Hoffman Attorney NonVoting
Zoe Kessler LCSW NonVoting
Jimmy Lee Restore NYC NonVoting
Kalya Hamlett Murray Greater Boston YMCA NonVoting
Ari Nikolaou Number 16 NonVoting
David Ray Number 16 NonVoting
Hanni Stoklosa Brigham & Women's NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 10
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 7
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 91%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

    --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015
Projected Income $260,000.00
Projected Expense $160,000.00
Form 990s

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990-EZ

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Revenue $194,488 $288,995 $112,467
Total Expenses $215,475 $300,338 $76,841

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $190,039 $275,069 $105,235
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $4,449 $13,926 $7,233
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Program Expense $189,463 $61,732 $57,631
Administration Expense $12,791 $124,749 $19,210
Fundraising Expense $13,221 $113,857 --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.90 0.96 1.46
Program Expense/Total Expenses 88% 21% 75%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 7% 39% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Assets $17,394 $32,667 $44,010
Current Assets $17,394 $32,667 $44,010
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $17,394 $32,667 $44,010

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates - Dec
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities -- -- --

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Commercial exploitation at its core is an issue that reflects a breakdown in our communities on many levels.  The solution, therefore, requires a whole-community response. 

Amirah has approached fundraising and partnerships with this in mind.  We have spoken to more than 250 groups and over 30,000 people, raising awareness and mobilizing individuals to utilize their personal, professional and community resources to combat trafficking activity and support survivors’ restoration in their local areas.

From 2009-2012, our fundraising focused on engaging individuals, groups and businesses in the community.  As a result, Amirah has built a collaborative network of over 75 community partners, 45 program partners, 175 volunteers and 550 donors. 

In 2012, one major donor contributed 36% of our total income, and the other 64% came from grassroots donors giving an average of $350 per donor for the year.  This ground-level approach has been strategic in establishing Amirah’s long-term sustainability and in creating a supportive community that will facilitate and enhance survivor restoration and reintegration.


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Amirah works to be an effective partner in the movement to end human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a crime that takes many forms and functions, is prolific within our society, is unbeknownst to many and understood by few, and requires a diverse and courageous approach to address.

To accomplish our goal of being an effective partner in the movement to end human trafficking, we have established programs that act across the societal, community, interpersonal, and intrapersonal levels in line with our mission to provide transformative whole-person care for survivors of commercial exploitation as we engage, educate, and mobilize our communities and partners to respond to human trafficking. We need to strengthen and expand these programs.

As we strengthen and expand these programs we will be able to accomplish the following outcomes with increasing effectiveness toward our goal:

  • identify victims and survivors and provide them with access to services
  • empower and support survivors in their journeys toward healing, restoration, and re-integration
  • build the capacity of our partners to identify survivors of human trafficking and to provide trauma informed care
  • mobilize the greater community to create safe spaces for anti-trafficking activities

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

1. Our most important strategy, which lies at the heart of Amirah and from which all other strategies begin, is communality. We are committed to fostering environments of belonging and collaboration as we:

 

  • build partnerships from victim identification and service delivery organizations to advocacy-based community group partnerships
  • participate in numerous anti-trafficking networks, committees, and task-forces
  • convene multiple advisory boards and volunteer groups
  • hold awareness raising events and organizational capacity-building trainings
  • invite survivors to speak into all the work we do in order to keep their voices at the center of all our programs

 

Another of our core values, dignity, amplifies our efforts to build community. We are committed to respecting and appreciating each person’s innate value.

2. We have built a comprehensive pipeline of organizational capacity from identification through re-integration including:

 

  • creating and fostering safe spaces and strategic partnerships for victim and survivor identification including, importantly, self-identification
  • empowering survivors to break free from their exploitative situations through peer-delivered education about services available to them, how to access those services, and about strategies for breaking free
  • delivering healing, restoration, and re-integration services to survivors

 

3. Where some safe houses are only that, a safe place to stay, Amirah delivers whole-person transformative care that addresses physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and vocational needs of survivors.

4. As survivors stabilize and move toward healing and restoration, Amirah’s programs are designed to foster relationships between the survivors and the community that are mutually meaningful.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Amirah was founded and grown out of a deep commitment from a small group of un-paid people over 5 years. The founding of Amirah was a personal and independent mission, with a single mind toward fighting trafficking, for these founders. This selfless commitment of our founders (many of whom sit on our board) has left an indelible imprint that offers a foundation of trust for the work we do.

We are a community-based organization whose mission and values are designed specifically to fight human trafficking through whole-person care, capacity building, and awareness raising. This focus allows us to fully embrace our core values of excellence (commitment to discovering and achieving the highest standards of excellence possible) and innovative growth (commitment to an intentional, creative, and strategic approach to learning and practice). In addition, our independence empowers us as we mobilize our community to fight trafficking.

Having already been heralded as a national benchmark for human trafficking services in the U.S., and building on the value ingrained by our founders, Amirah has mobilized effective, talented volunteer committees that handle grant writing, community partnerships, event planning, event speakers, outreach, social media, marketing, program support, property maintenance, and administrative support. Many of these volunteers have been with us for multiple years. They have enabled us to have a high capacity at low cost and have been central to our community mobilization achievements.

Among our staff, boards, and volunteers, we have social workers, communications and marketing professionals, public health professionals, doctors, carpenters, lawyers, business leaders, plumbers, non-profit managers, students, teachers, religious leaders, and many more.


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

Amirah utilizes a number of tools and indicators to measure our progress:

1. Palpable and demonstrative stories/narratives have long been one of the most impactful tools in anti-slavery and anti-trafficking efforts. We capture the stories of the victims and survivors (who want to share them) who have used our services, as well as those of our collaborators. As more stories are captured, we will learn what we are doing well and where we can improve.

2. Output measurements are important tools for understanding and communicating our progress. We continually collect both qualitative and quantitative information about our outputs. Some examples are number of trainings delivered, percentage of program participants who meet their personal goals/graduate the program/attain and keep jobs, number of individuals engaged in awareness events, and number and type of collaborators. Each year we set performance targets for key output indicators.

3. Many of our programs are based on specific theories of change, such as the health belief model. Utilizing such theories allows us to measure the impact over time that our programs are having in a scientific and empirical way utilizing both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

4. Existing tools that have been created, developed, deployed, and validated by those who came before us, largely from the disciplines of social work and public health, serve a useful role in both benchmarking for our programs and measuring our programs. One example is the Casey Life Skills assessment.

5. Numbers of victim and survivor identifications will increase, along with the use of our services as our community engagement expands and deepens.


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Starting with less than five people Amirah has grown into a bricks & mortar organization of over 100 people that operates a safe house nad has provided advocacy and training programs. With over 100 partners and collaborators, Amirah has been called a national benchmark program for human trafficking victims by the Homeland Security Victim Assistance Coordinator based in Boston.

Specific examples of our recent achievements are:

 

  • referrals from former program participants
  • referrals from partners we have trained on identification (about 20)
  • expansion of our services to survivors from the broader New England area, taking referrals from ME, NH, NY, and various parts of MA
  • successful service to international and domestic survivors of human trafficking/commercial exploitation
  • We serve as the primary location for comprehensive, wrap-around housing services in New England with referrals received via Homeland Security.

 

These great strides have been made possible by the community that has formed around us, as demonstrated by the large percentage of our programming run by volunteers, donated by supporters, and offered by partners for free or at a discount.

Our programs have supported victims and survivors as they have broken free from their exploitation, all the way through to independent and sustainable living. Our model of transformative, whole-person care works, and it works very well. All program participants have reported achieving some of their goals during their time at Amirah’s safe home.

Our vision is to expand Amirah to several safe homes and supportive communities throughout New England that serve a diversity of human trafficking victim and survivor populations. Now that we know our model works well, we are moving to add capacity to first bring sustainability to our current operations, and second, to resource the strategic expansion of our operations.

Significant barriers remain. Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, Ambassador at Large in charge of the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, has noted that governments, as well as the public, are stigmatized against confronting human trafficking for fear of having “slave dust” on them – a fear of feeling responsible for such a horrible crime. In addition, the depths of the programs required to aptly address the needs of trafficking victims render traditional value indicators, such as return on investment (ROI), less useful in convincing people to join our cause. Cost per person is fairly high compared to other social services. It is important to point out, however, that Amirah’s actual costs are significantly lower than similar providers due to our supportive community.

Amirah is making steady progress against these challenges. Our unique approach to communality serves to break down barriers to awareness building and value realization because we engage people in a non-threatening and inviting way. This is also where story telling becomes the most important - to hear stories of restoration and community in the words of survivors is among our most potent tools to break down these barriers.