Ever think about your legacy?

Consider a making a Legacy Gift to Sanctuary for Families.

Consider a making a Legacy Gift to Sanctuary for Families.

Do you have money saved in an employee retirement plan, IRA or tax-sheltered annuity? Do you know that the value of your account may be subject to federal and state estate taxes at your death? In addition, each of these plans contains income that has yet to be taxed. When a distribution is made from your retirement plan account, your beneficiaries will owe federal income tax in addition to applicable state income taxes at your death. Consider leaving your loved ones less heavily taxed assets and leaving your retirement plan assets to Sanctuary for Families to support our work.

As a nonprofit organization, we are tax-exempt and will receive the full amount of what you designate to us from your plan. You can take advantage of this gift opportunity in a very simple way by naming us as a beneficiary of your plan. All this requires is updating your beneficiary designation form through your plan administrator. You can designate us as the primary beneficiary for a percentage or specific amount. You can also make us the contingent beneficiary so that we will receive the balance of your plan only if your primary beneficiary doesn’t survive you.

By leaving us your retirement plan assets, you will be able to continue to help thousands of individuals escape abuse for decades to come. Please contact Amy Abramson at aabramson@sffny.org for more information.

Deutsche Bank Americas Grant will support homelessness prevention

The grant will fund new programming.

For Immediate Release


New York, NY (January 21, 2016) — Sanctuary for Families (Sanctuary), New York’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence, has been awarded a grant of $250,000 for domestic violence survivor homelessness prevention and strategy development from Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation (DBAF).   Sanctuary will use the DBAF grant to develop and implement a housing-focused pilot of its pioneering Economic Empowerment Program (EEP), which provides intensive career training focused on helping clients secure living-wage jobs.  The new pilot will help homeless domestic violence survivors who graduate from the EEP program find affordable permanent housing in the competitive NY housing market. Sanctuary will also convene thought leaders in the field to develop innovative evidence-based theories and implementation policies to systemically address homelessness for domestic violence survivors in NYC.

Finding affordable housing is a daunting task in New York City, and many landlords are reluctant to rent to domestic violence survivors. Under the housing pilot, EEP participants who have successfully met the program’s training standards and employment placement goals will be eligible for a security deposit to be paid directly to landlords.  This security deposit, coupled with employment and the city’s guaranteed housing subsidy for those who are eligible, will be the financial stimulus needed to convince landlords to sign leases.  Additionally, the funds will support EEP staff in bringing on a new Housing Fellow to work intensively with clients to identify affordable housing, and provide support for clients to be successful in their housing and career goals.

Hon. Judy Harris Kluger, Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families, said “Poverty and homelessness are the high price that many survivors of domestic violence pay in order to escape abuse.  The key to eliminating homelessness among our clients is to help them attain sustainable living-wage jobs, which will reduce their need for public assistance and housing subsidies. It is equally important that we incentivize landlords to provide safe and affordable housing to our clients once their circumstances have become stable.   We are grateful to Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation for this generous grant that will help us break the cycle of abuse, poverty and homelessness for domestic violence survivors.”

In addition to this pilot, Sanctuary will also use the DBAF grant to develop innovative evidence-based theories and implementation policies to reduce homelessness among abuse survivors to a functional zero level. Sanctuary will build a broad collaborative of governmental, nonprofit, homelessness, and workforce development domestic violence service providers and advocates, as well as public and private funders, to develop these models.    The DBAF grant will enable Sanctuary to convene large-scale conferences in 2016 and 2017 and quarterly task force meetings to set milestones and scaling plans to accomplish this task.

Sanctuary for Families is committed to finding the solution to homelessness among domestic violence survivors in New York City through a holistic approach, with living-wage workforce training and employment placement strategies at its core.  New York City has recognized EEP as a formidable and effective solution to the crisis of homelessness and poverty among domestic violence survivors, and tapped the program to deliver workforce solutions to the population of abuse survivors living in shelters.  More than 50% of EEP’s current clients are homeless women, referred by HRA.   Over the past five years, EEP has graduated 494 clients, including 150 referred by HRA,  with consistent 65-70% job placement, 65% one-year retention, and salaries averaging $13.71/hour, over 50% higher than the state’s private industry minimum wage.

Sanctuary for Families is New York’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence.  Each year, Sanctuary empowers thousands of adults and children to move from fear and abuse to safety and stability, transforming lives through a comprehensive range of services.

Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank provides commercial and investment banking, retail banking, transaction banking and asset and wealth management products and services to corporations, governments, institutional investors, small and medium-sized businesses, and private individuals. Deutsche Bank is Germany’s leading bank, with a strong position in Europe and a significant presence in the Americas and Asia Pacific.


Ilyse Fink or Blaine Bilal/212-575-4545
For Sanctuary for Families
ifink@lakpr.com /bbilal@lakpr.com

Oksana Poltavets/212 -250-0072
Press & Media Relations, Deutsche Bank AG


It happens to boys, too: a story of sex trafficking in Thailand

45% of trafficking victims are boys and men.

Our memory works in funny ways, with a select few images flashing through our heads when we think back to a particular one. When I think back to my 10 days on the ground with Urban Light in Chiang Mai, it is one particular image from my first night that returns incessantly to mind.

The image that haunts me is that of a boy, barely 12, short and skinny, leaving a bar with a man, easily in his fifties, tall and overweight. The look on the man’s face spoke of entitlement, an air of dominance and anticipation. The way he led the 12 year-old across the street was more authoritarian than paternal. The look on the boy’s face was that of resignation, a numbed out expression of utter helplessness.

The boy was one of many led away by older men from bars across Chiang Mai that night, probably to a nearby motel or alleyway to provide sex for pay. I never learned that boy’s name, I don’t know where he is today, but I know that I will never forget the look on his face that night.

All this I saw from the back of a tok tok in an ostensibly residential neighborhood of Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city. Together with Alezandra Russell, Urban Light’s founder, Brent Seely, the NGO’s Thailand director, and Montse Ferrer, a fellow pro-bono attorney, I was investigating places where boys are “sold.” From the back of that tok tok I would soon discover that, alongside Thailand’s highly public sale and exploitation of women, is a parallel but hidden network of bars, spas and cruising spots at which boys are “bought” and “sold” with impunity.

These boys, mostly teenagers, some as young as 10, have been trafficked from nearby Laos, Burma and Northern Thailand. The buyers are mainly white and Chinese “sex tourists” in their 40s to 70s. Local bar owners snarl these destitute boys with promises of good pay in return for “working” at their bars and then ply the boys with drugs so that survival sex becomes the only means for them to feed their addictions. The buyers, for their part, know that they can “buy” boys at will in Chiang Mai.

Despite the direness of the situation, trafficked boys remain one of the most under-served populations in Thailand. With many NGOs dedicated solely to the plight of girls trafficked into sex slavery and the boys themselves often reluctant to ask for help given the patriarchal nature of Thai society, the situation did not bode well for the boys of Chiang Mai.

Urban Light, the only NGO of its kind dedicated exclusively to helping boys, is changing the reality of these trafficked and exploited boys — offering them shelter, a daily hot meal they can rely on, medical testing, counseling, English and Thai classes, art relief and many other preventative and rehabilitative services.

Only a couple of blocks from Chiang Mai’s red light district, Urban Light runs a four-story drop-in center. It was within the walls of this drop-in center that I saw the promise of a better reality for Chiang Mai’s boys. I saw boys having a hot, healthy meal on the first floor, others participating in art relief classes on the center’s roof, still others waiting in line for medical and counselling appointments, and boys browsing the internet at the center’s computer room or simply taking a nap on the center’s comfy couches.

The boys treated the center as their home. They knew they were safe to take a nap without judgment, having probably gotten little sleep the night before. They knew they could count on the center’s doctor to see them when ill, and, when they were ready, they knew they could talk to a counselor to start their re-training to exit the sex trade altogether. The look in the eyes of every one of the boys at the center spoke of security – in the center they had found a refuge from the life they have been forced to lead outside its walls.

It is true that certain images become seared in our head, and, try as we might, we are unable to let them go. It is also true that we are capable of countering these images with other, hopeful ones. Urban Light’s center provided me with countless images of exploited boys taking charge of their lives again, helping me counter that one seared image. I can only hope that the boy I saw on that first night learns about Urban Light so that he too can have a shot at a different reality.

Ziad Reslan is an associate at Davis, Polk & Wardwell, currently assigned as a Legal Manager in Hong Kong. He shared his story with Sanctuary for Families after volunteering with Urban Light, and organization that helps boys who are survivors of sex trafficking in Thailand. 

5 Harmful Myths about Human Trafficking

When it comes to human trafficking, it’s hard to separate myth from fact.

Human trafficking is complicated. It’s kept under wraps, overlooked, and often ignored. Few reliable studies exist about its prevalence. As a result, it’s often hard to separate myth from fact when trying to understand this horrific abuse of human rights.

Read on to see some myths about human trafficking dispelled, and during Human Trafficking Awareness Month, take the opportunity to learn, share – and take action. 

1) MYTH: Human trafficking only happens in countries far away from the United States.

FACT: Human trafficking occurs around the world, in the United States, and right here in New York City. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center received over 16,600 calls for help last year. At Sanctuary, we regularly serve survivors of sex trafficking and human trafficking from the five boroughs. Our clients include both immigrants and native New Yorkers.

2) MYTH: Only women are victims of human trafficking.

FACT: Anyone, regardless of gender, can be a victim of human trafficking. In fact, studies have indicated that 45% of victims of human trafficking are men and boys. Men and boys can be victims of both labor trafficking AND sex trafficking.

3) MYTH: Human trafficking requires physical force or restraint to be considered trafficking.

FACT: Traffickers can use many kinds of tactics to coerce victims, including threats to a victim’s family; exploiting a victim’s vulnerability, such as lack of immigration status; using psychological tactics, like shaming, mental abuse, and isolation; and using debt bondage against a victim.

4) MYTH: Human trafficking is a small, underground industry that doesn’t affect many people.

FACT: 20.9 million people around the world are victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking is a $150 billion global industry. There are no reliable numbers on human trafficking victims in the United States, but the reality is pretty clear – this crime is widespread and affects millions of people around the world and at home.

5) MYTH: There is nothing I can do to end human trafficking.

FACT: Everyone can take action to end human trafficking. You can volunteer with Sanctuary, make a donation, or sign up to receive advocacy updates. You can also make smart decisions about how you spend your money and what you buy – check out slaveryfootprint.org to see how your consumer decisions might be supporting human trafficking, and what you can do to make change.