Hello! My name is Ella Manashil and I am a rising junior here at Whitman who is double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. This summer, I am working as an Anti-Human Trafficking Intern for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Sacramento, California. This international nonprofit organization seeks to help refugees of the world’s worst humanitarian crises reclaim their lives and make the process of resettlement in the United States as stress free as possible. This aid in resettlement is done primarily through ongoing case management and connecting refugees with resources such as healthcare, food, and housing. IRC personnel also orient clients to their new environment and the systems of the United States in order to best help them succeed in their new life here. IRC Sacramento resettled over 1,900 refugees last year, which contributed to the 10,665 resettled nationally in 2017!
I work within a program called HOPE (Human Trafficking, Outreach, Prevention, and Education), which works specifically with individuals who have been trafficked to the U.S. as victims of commercial sex and/or labor exploitation. This program serves the greater Sacramento region and 30 counties throughout Northern California. Our program solely works with foreign national victims of human trafficking. However, we also partner with local organizations like WEAVE to support domestic trafficking survivors. My HOPE team at the IRC includes two training and outreach specialists who travel all throughout the region’s 30 counties to provide anti-human trafficking trainings to law enforcement, educators, and a variety of other organizations. We also have two caseworkers that work tirelessly with our individual clients and their families to provide them with all of the resources they need in their journey through resettlement. Last but not least is our Health and Gender Program Manager who oversees the HOPE and Intensive Case Management programs. My main role at the IRC is to assist this team in any way that I can in order to ensure that our clients get the resources they need. The biggest part of my job is identifying resources for our clients, ranging from mental health providers to emergency shelter to legal assistance. Besides research on resources, my duties include data entry, organizing case files, and shadowing our caseworkers. These activities have given me a first-hand view of the challenges that our clients face and the ways in which the IRC helps to improve their lives.
During my time in this internship, I have also learned a lot about the painstakingly complicated process of working through a foreign national human trafficking case in the United States. Through my involvement in several cases, I have learned about how difficult it is for victims of human trafficking to receive the benefits and legal status supposedly available to them. I have also gained a greater awareness of the prevalence of human trafficking and the ways in which it extends beyond the sex trafficking stories we often hear about in the news. The HOPE team is doing an incredible job of supporting these survivors and has helped to ignite my own passion for creating positive change in the lives of trafficking survivors. I am so grateful for the invaluable experience I have received through this opportunity and look forward to working with more organizations like the IRC in the future.
Experiences like Ella’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff