I am passionate about the issues surrounding trafficking and the complete violation and exploitation of a person’s human rights. If you’re interested in finding out more about this issue, I suggest you check out Mosaic Family Services‘ website.
This is a great organization that provides an array of culturally and linguistically competent services (and there are A LOT of services that they provide) to immigrants, refugees and victims of violence. What makes this organization extraordinary is that all of Mosaic’s services are COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE.
I wrote the following story for my PR Writing class and my non-profit client, Mosaic Family Services. It was published in one of Mosaic’s newsletter and on their Facebook.
Hope you enjoy! 🙂
Mosaic Family Services and Bill Bernstein serving up 15 years of assistance and relief to human trafficking victims
Together they have significantly impacted the multicultural community of North Texas
On paper, Bill Bernstein’s day-to-day job tasks may seem strikingly similar to that of a corporate manager’s: answering many emails and phone calls, attending meetings over grant proposals, coordinating and managing various company programs. However, as deputy director of the Mosaic Family Services, Bernstein’s seemingly ordinary job responsibilities have helped to serve about 300 victims of human trafficking in the last 10 years.
Human trafficking is a silent issue that is particularly affecting North Texas as 20 percent of the nation’s trafficking victims dwelling within Texas’ border according to the Office of the Attorney General’s last human trafficking report.
Having worked with the Dallas-based non-profit organization for 15 years, Bernstein is considered an expert in the field of human trafficking and is directly involved with coordinating the many services that Mosaic’s programs provide to victims and their families of this modern form of slavery. The programs that Bernstein is in charge of, from the human trafficking and domestic violence programs to the legal services and counseling programs, all contribute to Mosaic’s mission of providing support, education and empowerment to victims and their families.
Aside from coordinating the anti-human trafficking programs at Mosaic, Bernstein is also the founder of the Texas Task Force on Human Trafficking, chairperson of the Metroplex Refugee Network and co-chair of the Freedom Network USA, a coalition of non-governmental agencies that serve as advocates for and assist survivors of trafficking in the United States.
Bernstein has had many years of experience working with domestic violence programs, and he originally entered the fight against human trafficking years ago while working at another outreach agency that serves refugees and the immigrant population. Because he was serving people from other cultures and coordinating with law enforcement, human trafficking was an obvious extension to his work. “I want to see the right thing done. I am just altruistic about the way people who have been trafficked should be served and why these cases should be uncovered and why attention needs to be given to them. It’s a human rights issue,” Bernstein said.
Bernstein, who is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a UNT alumni with a master’s in Counselor of Education, explained that his education and certifications have been important by training him how to relate to other people. This especially helps his work against trafficking as there are many difficulties with his fight against this form of modern slavery. A key issue involves people who are directly affected by trafficking. According to Bernstein, people who are being trafficked usually don’t out for help because many of them don’t see themselves being victimized.
Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is commonly referred to as a form of modern day slavery. It describes the process of recruiting, transporting or harboring individuals for the purpose of exploiting them. Trafficked people are coerced into positions of vulnerability and servitude where they are kept against their free will and forced to perform involuntary labor or services. Traffickers control their victims by a variety of means ranging from psychological manipulation to abduction, fraud, debt bondage, extortion, and threats and violence towards the victim and their family.
“[Human trafficking] is very much a hidden crime. It’s not obvious and right there in the open, even to people that know about it,” Bernstein said.
Bernstein has coordinated many collaborative efforts between Mosaic and other agencies in the fight to bring information and awareness to residents of North Texas and others outside of the state’s borders. His programs work with many local and national agencies in fields spanning across social services, children services and domestic violence agencies, local and federal law enforcement, as well as refugee resettlement agencies. Through numerous speaking engagements each week and many ongoing information-related campaigns, Bernstein and his programs at Mosaic do a great deal of outreach in their proactive and direct involvement in the human trafficking cause.
Mosaic Family Services’ website states that its mission and purpose is to support, educate and empower victims of trafficking, immigrants and refugees in crisis, and the community. The organization accomplishes this through an array of services and programs that its staff provides to those at risk. In order to increase awareness and understanding about the abuse of human rights, Mosaic also actively participates in and advocates community outreach events.
Media outreach is a high priority tactic for the team at Mosaic Family Services to accomplish its mission, Bernstein said. The organization has been on the local news multiple times on both English-speaking channels and ethnic ones and was also featured in a three-part series about human trafficking that aired on Univision. His information campaigns with Mosaic also target many of the ethnic-language publications in the North Texas area.
To Bernstein, the fruition of trafficking survivors and families reclaiming their lives and independence is the most satisfying form of success.
“When we see these people get back to a position where they are in control and become self-sufficient and feel very happy after being in a tortuous situation is very gratifying to see,” Bernstein said.
While each of Mosaic’s programs has a different success rate, the trafficking program that Bernstein is the director of has served approximately 300 people in the last 10 years. Mosaic’s domestic violence program, which Bernstein is also directly involved with, has a much higher rate of about 200 to 300 people served annually for the last 14 years. Bernstein hopes to see further growth in Mosaic’s established success in service and assistance to those in crisis, as well as further expansion in the community’s awareness of Mosaic and its capabilities.
“I would just like to see [Mosaic Family Services] establish itself as the agency and the source for these types of services in the area so it’s more well-known to the public,” Bernstein said.