My name is Ms. Mercy Dizon of the Bulaceño and Kapampangan peoples from the Philippine Islands. I am a second generation sex worker and human trafficking survivor, my mother was a Madame at a brothel in Subic Bay until my father paid her marriage fee. I was groomed with narcotic restraints and trafficked for sex at the age of 14 out of the states of Washington, Oregon, and Nevada. Surviving in the commercial sex trade for ten years after that. I am a survivor of much violence: Colonization, Domestic Violence, Assault, Kidnapping, Sexual Assault, Gang Based Violence, Human Trafficking, and as an indigenous transgender woman living in America. Currently, I serve as Chief Matriarch and founder of 501(c)3 SWATCH – Trans Palace. Proud graduate of the Native Pathways Program of the Evergreen State College where I earned my Bachelors of Arts degree centering indigenous studies. I am a consultant with the Department of Homeland Security, National Human Trafficking Technical Assistance Center, and serve on the Shared Hope International JuST Council. I have served as a systems based Advocate in Law Enforcement at the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, with 2SLGBTQIA+ & homeless youth serving agencies, and created identification and response protocols with Native American and Tribal Nations across Turtle Island (North America).
Serving Transgender Survivors
- Real Escape from the Sex Trade Programs Director Audrey Baedke and SWATCH – Trans Palace Chief Matriarch Mercy Dizon overview how to provide services to all genders. Programs often face barriers when attempting to provide services to gender diverse survivors. U.S. Transgender Survey of 2015 a survey of over 27,000 transgender individuals demonstrates as high as 64% of transgender women of color engaged in the sex trade for income in the last year. However, a majority of programs do not serve transgender community members or have little success in program engagement. Audrey and Mercy review our wins and struggles in overcoming these barriers during our time working together at REST. Additionally, we discuss how this is possible for Christian NGO’s and non-christian NGO’s alike. From responding to discomfort with current program participants and staff to planning for successful engagement with all survivors of commercial sexual exploitation our collective wisdom leads to effective program outcomes for all.