Symposium Presented by Transitions: Restoring the Lives of Survivors

A symposium on shelters, safe homes, aftercare programs,
and other responses to serving victims of the sex trafficking industry, presented by Transitions on September 29, 2012 in Greenwood Village, CO.  The symposium will specifically cover what key issues are at stake and what is needed to provide successful aftercare and restoration to the survivors of sex trafficking.

Featured speakers and experts in the field of human trafficking, aftercare, and restoration will include:  Tovah Means, who serves on Transitions’ Advisory board (, Stacia Freeman, Executive Director of Abolition International and director of Abolition International Trafficking Shelter Association (, Katherine Chon, Co-Founder and Director Emeritus of Polaris Project in Washington, D.C. (, Helen Sworn, Founder and International Director of Chab Dai (, and James Pond, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Transitions (

Topics will include:  “Trauma Informed Care for Sex Trafficking Survivors,” “The State of Shelters, Accountability, and the Trafficking Shelter Association,” “Strategic Planning for Shelters, Safe Homes, and Aftercare,” “What Excellence Looks Like,” “How Do We Know We Are Effective?,” “Faith in Practice.”

Are you wondering if you should attend?  This symposium is intended for: Those who currently provide domestic or international aftercare; Those interested in creating an aftercare facility or program; Those who desire to work in the aftercare arena; Those concerned about the critical need for successful restoration.



If you have any questions about the Symposium, please contact Pam Harvey at

***Transitions is an organization that provides holistic and innovative long-term aftercare for adolescent girls who have been rescued from sex trafficking.  The Naropa Community Art Studio – International (NCAS-I) formed a partnership with Transitions in 2011 and traveled to Cambodia to work with the organization in May of 2012.  The NCAS-I looks forward to a continued partnership with Transitions and fully supports their mission.  

All information gathered from

Back In The Swing of Things

PLUS!  Photos from “Festival on Main” in Downtown Longmont and 10,000 Prayer Flags for Cambodia

Naropa University students are getting back into the swing of things today, with the first week of the fall semester here.  As we all look forward to a fruitful year filled with exciting, new experiences and invaluable learning opportunities, students and faculty involved in the Naropa Community Art Studio – International (NCAS-I) have already been hard at work.

We attended Festival on Main in Downtown Longmont last Friday, August 24, where an estimated 18,000 people ventured to watch street performers, listen to live music, play games, eat local food…and make prayer flags with the NCAS-I!  A big “THANKS” to Naropa University, who shared their booth, and the City of Longmont for supporting us in raising awareness for the NCAS-I and its mission.  We walked away with HUNDREDS of handmade prayer flags generously made by attendees of the festival.  Enjoy photos below from the festival:

What do you think about our goal of collecting 10,000 prayer flags to take with us to Cambodia in May of 2013?  Would you like to help us reach that goal?  Stay tuned for the NCAS-I’s upcoming events and you can make one or a dozen!  We’ll have a booth at all of our events.

Two Upcoming Events: NCAS-I at Paramita Hall and Longmont Festival

Cambodia Trip Presentation at Paramita Hall, Thursday, August 23, 2012, 6-9 PM

The Naropa University students and faculty who traveled to Cambodia this summer as part of the Naropa Community Art-Studio – International (NCAS-I) will be offering a presentation  of their trip at Paramita Hall on Thursday, August 23, from 6-9 PM.  Enjoy a slide show and the opportunity for an informal question and answer with the group!  Paramita Hall is located on Naropa’s Paramita Campus.

“FESTIVAL ON MAIN” in Downtown Longmont, Friday, August 24, 2012, 6-9 PM

Members of the Naropa Community Art Studio – International (NCAS-I) will be at a booth at “Festival on Main” in Downtown Longmont on Friday, August 24, from 6-9pm.  The festival is a free, family event and is Downtown Longmont’s signature summer attraction, with more than 18,000 people in attendance each year.  The NCAS-I booth will be continuing the tradition of making hand-stamped prayer flags and invites all members of the community to join!  For those who attended the Matchbox Gala, you’ll remember what fun we had with this collaborative art project!  Our goal is to collect thousands of these flags by May of next year for NCAS-I’s next trip to Cambodia!

Displaced: The Cambodian Diaspora


By: Pete Pin

The story below poignantly describes how the impact of the Khmer Rouge has deeply affected the lives of Cambodian people and roots of their existence.  One of the most important lessons learned while the NCAS-I team was there is how the legacy of years past still haunt them.  Please take the time to read this one account by Pete Pin.

As a son of the Killing Fields born in 1982 in the refugee camp to which my family had fled following the Cambodian genocide, I have struggled for most of my life to understand the legacy of my people. Over the last year, I engaged in a series of conversations with Cambodian-Americans about our history and the complexity of their experience while photographing community members in Philadelphia, Pa.; Lowell, Mass. and the Bronx, N.Y.

The Cambodian people are among the most heavily traumatized people in modern memory. They are the human aftermath of a cultural, political, and economic revolution by the Khmer Rouge that killed an estimated two million, nearly a third of the entire population, within a span of four years from 1975-1979. The entire backbone of society—educated professionals, artists, musicians and monks—were systematically executed in a brutal attempt to transform the entirety of Cambodian society to a classless rural collective of peasants. That tragedy casts a long shadow on the lives of Cambodians. It bleeds generationally, manifesting itself subtly within my own family in ways that I am only starting to fully comprehend as an adult. It is ingrained in the sorrow of my grandmother’s eyes; it is sown in the furrows of my parents’ faces. This is my inheritance; this is what it means to be Cambodian.

After surviving the Killing Fields, my family, along with hundreds of thousands of survivors, risked their lives trekking through the Khmer-Rouge-controlled jungle to reach a refugee camp in Thailand. There, my mother had what she believes to be a prophetic dream. In a field, an entire city’s worth of women were clawing with their bare hands in bloodstained dirt searching for an elusive diamond. To the disbelief of everyone in the dream, she serendipitously stumbled upon it wrapped in a blanket of dirt. The following day she discovered she was pregnant with me. The significance of this didn’t dawn on me until I started photographing this project. It was a vision of hope and renewal, that we as Cambodians are endowed with an incredible resilience and strength in human spirit. I have seen this in the faces of Cambodians I have photographed and have been incredibly humbled. In the words of my mother, it is a miracle to simply exist.

As a result of the unique demographic circumstances of the genocide, there has been a paucity of reflection within the Cambodian community. Many second-generation Cambodians I have interviewed learned about the Killing Fields through secondary sources, from the Internet and documentary films. Such conversations were non-existent at home. Exacerbating the silence is an inter-generational language barrier; most young Cambodian Americans cannot speak Khmer, the Cambodian language, while their parents and grandparents are incapable of speaking English. As a result, we are the literal manifestation of Pol Pot’s attempt to erase Cambodia’s history and culture. However, in spite of this void, there exists a growing movement of young and empowered Cambodians—academics, artists, musicians, and activists—who are trying to bridge this generational chasm.

For months, the senior surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge have been tried for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Cambodia by a United-Nations-backed international tribunal that was established in 2006. Over half a decade later, and at a cost of an estimated $200 million, the court has prosecuted only one individual, Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, who presided over the execution of more than 16,000 in Cambodia’s most infamous prison. On Feb. 3, the tribunal extended his sentencing to life in prison. In spite of this ruling, the court is on the verge of collapse because of corruption and a lack of political will by the government to proceed beyond the trials of only the highest ranking surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge. This is heartbreaking. I asked my mother how she felt about this: she responded, almost tearfully, that this in and of itself could never take back her suffering. Many Cambodians I have spoken with in the course of photographing this project have echoed this sentiment. But I am convinced that justice and healing must emerge from the collective will of my people.

Pete Pin is a Cambodian-American documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was a Fellow at the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund, which supported the Bronx portion of his long-term project on the Cambodian diaspora. More of his work can be seen here.

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