Kimberly Chang, Allison Chang, and Jocelyn Chang

Recorded March 18, 2021 Archived March 18, 2021 42:05 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ddv000568


Daughters Kimberly Chang [no age given] and Allison Chang (48) discuss with their mother Jocelyn Chang (75) the topic of human trafficking and how their family history as Asian/Native Hawaiians overlap with this issue.

Subject Log / Time Code

KC shares how she initially got involved with her work in human trafficking.
JC notes those who have been the biggest inspiration in her life.
KC and AC talk about the letters they uncovered from their Paternal Great Grandmother.
KC, AC, and JC reflect on the current events surrounding the murder of several asian sex workers.


  • Kimberly Chang
  • Allison Chang
  • Jocelyn Chang

Recording Location

Virtual Recording

Partnership Type



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00:05 My name is Kimberly Chang. Today is March, 18th, 2021. And I'm here today with my sister Allison Chang, and my mother Jocelyn Chang.

00:17 My name is Allison Chang. The date is March 18th, 2021. My physical age is 48. My spiritual age, is 36 and I am here with my sister, Kimberly Chang, and my mother Jocelyn Chang.

00:34 Aloha, I'm Jocelyn Chang. And I am the mother of Kimberly and Allison Chang. I am, I guess I would say 75. And today is March 18th 2021.

00:55 So Kim, why don't you tell us how you became involved in working to help victims of sexual trafficking or human trafficking?

01:03 Thanks Allie for asking this question. I think you already know the answer, but, you know, that I am a family doctor and I work at Asian Health Services, which is a Community Health Center. In Oakland, California, because of patients that are C are very vulnerable and medically underserved and don't speak English. Many of them are immigrants and refugees. And I came to this work because some of our patients, many of our patients were being sex trafficked in the streets of Oakland. And these were youth. Patience. Young patients Children and Youth

01:40 Do you think anyone has inspired you to kind of take on this charge or two to be? So empathetic to the people in these situations?

01:52 Yeah, I think my family, I think Mom. I'm looking at her right now on this video. Mom Jocelyn, you're a big inspiration to me. I mean, I think you always talked about your work with them as a speech pathologist then and you're always very compassionate and gentle with those kids when we were growing up. Can you tell me? Can you tell us about about that? Cuz I was really inspiring to me. Well, thank you for the compliment. But I think you all have it in you that you all have the Bell, the Hawaiian Spirit, call the Ohana, where we take care of each other and you know, is to respect each other and do things for each other, but when you do

02:40 All were young. I was, I had my clinic up at one of the schools, which was about, I believe, three blocks away, the Waialae school. And I remember taking you all with me to meet some of the children. They were all handicapped children and it was nice that you all had the exposure because life is not all about everything, nice and everything. Happy life is all about meeting other people and doing other things and getting that exposure. But I think it's not just me. I think your whole family, everybody watching everything that everyone did for each other really had an impact. What I think. Dad Dad also instilled in us. This very deep sense of right and wrong. There's definitely

03:39 Some, some things that are writing some things are wrong and as human beings, as members of the community, it was not just our responsibility to live in that Community. But to help the community, I see, that's that's really true. Dad are our father, Irving Chang was a with the prosecutor for many years in. And I think you're right by Lee dad. Definitely had a very ingrained sense of right and wrong as a prosecutor as a lawyer. And he always stood up for the underdog. He always wanted to stand up for the other Underdog. He would always root for whoever he thought was at a disadvantage and I think

04:19 I think you're right. I think that did did influence me and the work for human trafficking and working at Asian health services. And so, how do you? I mean you have the same parents? So what do you, what do you think? How do you think you play into this?

04:38 Why I planted by helping you. My legal career? Has a code that I'm in, I started off as a litigator and now I'm an ethics and compliance attorney for Corporation. So, as a corporate conscience, we kind of try to to make sure that, you know, if corporations are truly citizens, then they also have also have to be aware of the community and the conscious and what they add and detract from the community. So you like I think we do it in different ways. You are actively working in the community and I'm working within an entity trying to guide that corporate conscience. Didn't didn't you connect him with some of your, your your relationships with your, with your attorney friends. Who were

05:38 Yeah, I think what one of the things that I like to do is talk just talk to my friends about their work and see what they're doing. And what am I lost? Friends? I was working at the national District Attorneys Association and we'll head visit her, and deceive your got to chatting about what kind of work she was doing. And she was doing a lot of work with on the legal side up with sexually trafficked minors. And I told her I said, my sister is doing that exact same work, except from the medical side. They said you guys should talk and he said that's great, but it's together and Jim got in touch with her and they hit it off because they were really, really trying to solve the same problem. But from two different sides and when they combine, you know, is it wasn't just one plus one equals two, it was exponential would like one plus one, equal 10, and I think that really helped him get a lot.

06:38 Knowledge around the problem, not as just a medical problem. But as a, as a, as a holistic problem for you, listening to me, first of all,, but I can talk to you about what kind of work I'm doing. And that one piece. I'm going to share. Mom. Mom. Did I tell you about the station? I mean, I don't know if I did a very, very lately. I've been in in at Asian Health Services for for several years, working in the team's, the next scene, patient. And seeing that this issue was occurring. I started in 2003 and

07:27 And I just thought that it was my role was okay. I'm just going to take care of your sexy transmitted infections. I'll just give you a pregnancy test or or or or Birth Control prescription said she needs. And knowing that that these youths were being harmed, their being beaten, their being played with drug substances. And there being, they would tell us that they are selling themselves in Oakland. And I just thought, my role was to be a doctor and treat their medical issues until until Ally. You gave me, that that connection and there was a patient who came in one night was really, really sick. She has a high fever. She has swollen joints yet. That's heartbeat and I told her she needs to go to hospital.

08:22 Because you couldn't return outpatient with. I thought she was going to die. And then she told me straight up. She says I'd rather die than go back to jail. And I didn't understand what she meant by that. Until we ask her more questions and she told us that on a previous hospitalizations for a miscarriage, instead of being discharged home. He was discharged to the county jail because there was a bench warrant for her, arrest for failing, to show up to court on charges of solicitation or prostitution and he was only 15. And so I remember thinking, wow, this is a patient who is suffering who has no control over the situation that she's in and she's a kid.

09:03 And why is she being arrested for something? That is definitely not her choice. And so you said set me up with with the attorney and I showed the story and and we started working together, talking about the medical intersection and how these there's a lot of trauma and they should be treated as victims and provided support services. So that was a big

09:25 Big big help for the movie, you know, the law tries to get things, right? And sometimes it fails and sometimes it succeeds but the best part of being a lawyer that you can always hit it. You can always change course. And and what I think your work is done, Kim you and and you know, your colleagues has been to change the narrative around sexually trafficked people human beings and that, you know, they're not, they're not, it's there a lot of the times they're victims and it's not by choice and that narrative, I think has been missing, especially for minors within the law on and that story I think, you know, brought it home is that this is a fifteen-year-old girl for statutory. Rape, someone at 15 can't give consent under the eyes of the law. So how is it that she can be? She can be guilty of a prostitution charge. When she

10:25 Can't give consent under the eyes of the law and I think that changed, you know, the law can change. And that's, that's the beauty of of of how long Works in this country. And its is a change because of a lot of the word because of that relationship that you you provided and in a lot of the work that a lot of Advocates it and myself have done. So that's your right. This is incredible thing. I know that when Kim started on this work and you know, she was on in Oakland and she had patients come in off of International Boulevard in Oakland and, you know, giving giving her car away to some of her patient in her one of her patients and, you know, pretty much giving all of her worldly possessions to her patients. What it what did you think about it? Okay, that's great. And dad said they did, we just we send her through college and Olive.

11:25 So, she could give everything away. And I said, no, I don't think she's giving everything away. She is being empathetic and he was joking. He said, you know, I think we brought our kids up the right way. I think part of living is part of giving, and he was very proud of the way each and every one of you have turned out because it wasn't, it was is not all about gaining. All these possessions for yourself. I also remember where I think we were in New York.

12:05 And,

12:07 I think we took a trip to New York to get you settled in in college one of you anyway, and I remember taking.

12:21 I think Dad and I took you folks for it for a ride down to downtown and the exposure that you got being in New York City and all over, have really made you what you are today. I think it made you see that there's more than what you got from Hawaii. I think Kim weren't you exposed to all the maybe you saw it in New York and wasn't aware of it, but I know for me, certainly, when I went off to college in Ohio. I saw, I thought things that happened with women prostitutes in downtown that I really wasn't aware of until later on when I got older.

13:08 I mean, like when I got married and married your father and he did some work with police work and saw human trafficking, but I don't know when you were exposed to it. But I believe that you all were exposed to it from being in New York City and then all your travels, it definitely wasn't the New York City of today. I remember, we are being pretty CD back then and

13:45 And and volunteering for one of the homeless shelters. And and and it was is downtown downtown Honolulu near Chinatown and there's a street called Hotel Street. And I remember you were driving me to the volunteer place cuz this is before I had a license in and we saw a lot of folks who were down and out unsheltered homeless, a lot of women who are being prostituted. And I remember we had a conversation about that in the car and I I remember feeling really disheartening that our community and our society.

14:30 Haven't been able to address or help the folks to her or on Hotel Street. I remember that one night. That's just coming back to me right now. I think this is really, really actually Through the Ages. Mom. Don't you think that the capacity of humans to be mean to each other? I mean, yeah, right. I mean you aren't you working?

14:59 Yeah, you went to college during the Vietnam war and and and you know, during the Civil Rights Movement and I mean, just it's astonishing, isn't it? I mean, I truly my eyes were opened when I went off to college and all of this was non-existent in my life. I mean, it was I was aware that things were going on, but I was not aware of why it was going on and how to, how to help are you aware of why it's going on now? Yes, much more aware through your work. Kim. Sorry, but I do for me, is kuliana and, and Kiana in Hawaiian means your responsibility your community, and you take care and know that that sense of Cleona.

15:59 What is is strong and you take care of yourself? You take care of your family. Take care of your friends. You make sure? I mean, just even you know, this this past summer, you know, you had a friend who was who's pretty much Homebound and every night you take dinner over to her. I mean, you know, blocking a couple of blocks away and you know, she's not related. She's not, you know, she's not someone who grew up with, but but she's kuliana, right? You take care because we always talked about this. Mom, bring up in Honolulu. In Hawaii where

16:42 It's an island and the community knows each other. It's a small island or small set of islands and people know each other people are related. We're community. And we know when people are having hardships and we want to, we try to help and you helped and you share.

16:59 I adding that is interviewed a lot of the values for the work that I do in human trafficking at at Asian health services. And where of that when you go and eat at all of your possessions, and she said, you know, it's Ohana, it's Kim. I mean, Ali your your word kuliana and it's all so poor no respect and Lee, you know, you take care of each other and Kim doing your work is. I hope it spreads and I think it it's infectious. I think there are people around you that see, the kind of work that you're doing. And, and hopefully, more people will get involved.

17:51 What's what's the, what's your work 2.0? What's what's next? I mean, the laws have changed you've gotten a lot accomplished in these past 20 years, but what's that? I mean where it where do you see this morning? What would be your your biggest hope for for your work to accomplish?

18:15 We didn't prepare this question, Ali Direction was to give Aid to the prostitutes and two.

18:40 I want to give Aid to them, help them, build a foundation, help them build a family is much broader than just sex trafficking. And the, you know, there's a lot of overlap between the different types of Oppression that people experience. So it's, it's, you know, I think a lot of it has to do with rights civil rights, making sure that people have access to systems of care. Protection, Healthcare legal, the Civil Rights, legal representation and axes and why? Like, I started off doing human trafficking work because of sex trafficked, minors, Children and Youth.

19:24 I think what I see now in my piece of practice is that there's quite a bit of explication Labor, exploitation of the pieces that we see patients for restaurant workers patients, who are working in massage industry are nail salon or construction. So there's or Home Health Care, Health Care, domestic work on. These are the pictures that I see who are, who are in many ways invisible from protections, systematic protection in society. And so, I think that would be an extension or expansion of the work not just looking at,

20:08 Human trafficking under a legislative definition, but looking at how people treat each other in terms of expectation and

20:18 You know, I think Allie asked me the question. What a hard question about, what to look to the future and I'm not really sure why I will let it unfold as it in full, but I like to look more at the past and the history. And what I thought was interesting talking to you folks about this in preparation for this conversation was that just recently Ali, you uncovered some old documents, and old letters from one of our great-grandmothers and maybe you can share a little bit about that cuz I had writing. And so I just want you to tell me.

20:52 I might, I might add two to the conversation that if Allie didn't sift through all the documents and find this, I would not. I was so then aware, that life has come around full circle for Kim to be doing what she's doing, the kind of work that she's doing. But Ali. Go ahead and tell your your story about the document. Okay? Well, it's not really my story. But anyway, it's not what you uncovered in the documents.

21:29 Yeah, you know, I'm mom, you are there. Can you? I think where you there at 10, or maybe I had you on the phone, but I was recently going through some old papers and trying to sift through them and came across some really old letters from 1960.

21:49 Oh, sorry. No, it's October 2019 31. So really, really old letters that were written by our great grandmother. Who was born in 1860 something? And we have never met her, our grandmother was actually an older mother and she was born in 1901. So she she passed away when we were in high school. So we don't really get to know her either. But I'm going through these papers. We found a letter from her mother.

22:18 That told this really Fantastical story not in a good way how when she was 10 years old. She was kidnapped from Vietnam as a child and she was put on a ship and then and taken to China and sold as a maid to a man. And after she got entered, the man lifting her as a concubine then sold her to a house of ill repute in where she was a brothel where she was viciously beaten and and mistreated by The Madam of the house that the owner of the of the brothel. And she, she goes through this whole recounting of her life history to our grandmother and a very eloquent and lyrical way of talking about how she was the, you know, sold and beaten and bruised.

23:18 She would cry everyday and she finally the cook at the brothel, you know, this one person who altered, the probably the the course of our lives and our history told told this young girl who was being beaten the next time you see a police officer run outside and ask him for help.

23:39 So the the the woman,

23:45 That the woman who was beating her didn't know. Until when our great-grandmother ran out to the police officer in Hong Kong at the time in the 19. I think this is the 1870s was already a British colony so that the police officer took her before a judge, probably a British judge and he took pity on her and he wrote about, she wrote about how the judge had a tear in his eye. When she saw. When he saw her injuries and sent her to an orphanage, which then sent her to the Swiss missionaries in Hong Kong who then raised her until she was 18. So, you know, that the story is, is mind-boggling that in our history. We actually had someone who was a slave who eschews human trafficked and to think that we're part Vietnamese here, here we are in our in our late forties thinking that we're Part B means is just mind-blowing because, you know, we have no history and in being Vietnamese, we don't know anything about it, the language. I mean, sure, we we can go to Vietnamese restaurant, but we don't have any of that of that history.

24:45 It's kind of a kind of reorient, your whole world where you're thrown off and you say, wow, you know, we have this whole side of us. And and I don't think our dad knew right, mom. Do you think that he never mentioned anything about it to me? I think your your your father's mother Grandma. I think she just put it aside because coming in to Hawaii and taking a boat and attending Columbia University and meeting her husband who attended Yale and getting married in New York and then all that history. I think she was. I think she did not want to, even think about it. I think she wanted to be American.

25:28 Yeah, it was, it was a story. Yes. It was. I just called it. Really? Yeah, I just found it really.

25:44 You know, it to me, it was a sign of resilience and and hope in the sense that, you know, this, this young girl was kidnapped and sex trafficked and they were trafficked as a domestic worker back in the 18 late 1800 and her, her descendants are us.

26:05 Right. I mean that just that is crazy that just created to be a tenant in it. And it means is an in it. It's kind of like well the stories go on people's lives, go on things continue and people continue to have stories and so so

26:21 I just think it's fascinating and we'll never know how are descendants of her teacher, future Generations, turn out but we hope they can, they can they can have a good life and not have to suffer. So much, I hope is the key word, right? Hope I'm sure she was hopeful and it comes through in her letters that that she kind of she was very, very sad about what happened. But it at the, her life turned out. Okay, I mean, you know, she married a man who was fine. It was a lay Minister and they moved to the big island of Hawaii and she had a lot of kids and, you know, maybe it's not exactly what she would have chosen. I don't know. We don't know but but you know, at least we know that our grandmother sent her trousers and wrote her letters and and and, you know, I mean but but our grandmother ask her, you know, what happened, in your early life. Can you tell me about it? It comes to really let her than, you know, this is all just read it.

27:21 This is the part where she after she would, this is after she was kidnapped and she was taken to the ship. And she said at night the ship set sail. He brought me to the cabin here. It was crossed with a lid and looked and I looked closely. I saw many women and children, young and small. Some of them were young mothers. Some just got married. The older ones aged between 15 to 20, and the younger ones were about 6 to 10. All of us were crying. We cried and cried and we refused to eat.

27:52 And I can't read all of it. Cuz it the letters are quite long. But you know, she recounts this with such vivid detail that you, she was definitely scarred for life and probably didn't share it much because of that.

28:11 Yeah, I think about also about the immigration histories of our ancestors and I think Mom on your side cuz that story, Ali was was our dads mothers are paternal grandmother's mother on your side. I think about how Google your grandfather was born in 1900, how we think part hit his, you know, his, his father came to to Hawaii and his trainees allowed. And I think about all of these exclusionary immigration policies and how down deformation happen. So, can you I mean, I think, I think we're part Hawaiian, right? Well, let's see. Need, the Chinese came into

29:04 808, I want to say.

29:08 And only the Chinese men were allowed into Hawaii.

29:14 And I believe that his, his wife was of Hawaiian ancestry and

29:26 She, she was born in the 80s.

29:33 My grandfather was born in 1900. She was born in in 18 - 18. Anyway, they were married and my grandfather was born in the 1900, but she might his father.

29:54 His father was, was the first generation, so they were brought in to be laborers on the, on the sugarcane Fields after the

30:08 Are they mom wasn't lung Boone's wife? She was the one who we believe was was half Hawaiian, right? Because her father was Chinese and her mother was Hawaii and her mother was Hawaiian. So is actually that, that woman's father who was the first generation of the time of the Chinese that came in? Yes, yes, but we don't know his name and we don't know her real name. Real name.

30:41 So that was Mom's great-grandfather's.

30:47 No, Mom's great-grandmother's.

30:50 Weather.

30:51 Yes.

30:54 My mother's father's mother's mother. I know if I told you this mom in a lie, but I I'm just reading the proofs of this textbook chapter that. I just finished with a co-author on the historical roots of human trafficking and our textbook chapter, how immigration policies in the United States particular, the around Asian Asian. The Pacific Islanders have have have landed itself to creating already for a agents and Pacific Islanders in the United States, and vulnerabilities to be exploited in traffic. And so, I think about all of these policies that excluded women and zombie formation and and and, and people brought in for for labor for cheap labor, inexpensive labor. Who who were not

31:53 Necessarily welcome to be a part of the United States, but their labor was needed. And I think about how a lot of that really what's going on with the anti-aging.

32:10 Currently.

32:12 Well, the anti anti, any immigrant Rent-A-Wreck, right? Who we rely on to farm our food and pick our fruits and vegetables to get it to the grocery store. And yet we're treating them as less than human by saying, you can't come here and you can't stay here, but will gladly, use your free and cheap labor. Did you know that Farm Workers are excluded from any labor? Protect from the most of these labor protections? They're not allowed to form unions or have any way to certain wage and labor protections and the that really lend themselves to be

32:51 Highly at risk for being trafficked or exploited. I mean, you never do. They were probably very low wage earners at those massage parlors and it's it's really tragic and it's sad that there is a segment of the population that we we rely on for cheap labor and for goods and services or whatever. And yet, we will not extend the same protections to them. I mean, even the, even how the press or the the authorities are presenting, this issue is like they were doing something illicit or illegal and therefore even though they were victim, they kind of deserved it and it was their fault. And, you know, I don't know if or if it

33:51 You know, reframing it to these were murdered people people in Cold Blood. You know, it's it's it's really sad that again, you know going back to that. Question. Mom is like you've seen it. You seen the that just how awful humans can be to one another. There's there's a life. And there's a person who was someone's friend or, or sister, or brother or a child or mother that if we go back to, we can also see how good people are to each other like that cook, who helped the great grandmother.

34:35 Escape from the brothel like the community. Like mom taking her friends dinner every night because she's not feeling well. And it is, it was covid and she didn't have

34:50 A lot of family to help her during her illness alike, the work that that my health center does or even you, Allie being an ally to this work and just without getting any benefit back, providing connection, providing Foundation money, providing resources and really rallying up people in your

35:19 Work was totally not connected to Social Services or Healthcare with routing them up and being an advocate in an ally for four people.

35:29 Who need it. So you do you talk about Pope? And and I think there are a lot of people who are willing to help that just need to be asked. And so asking is the main thing and getting out there. But, you know, cam, I do get benefit. I, I see the work that you're doing. I see that lives that you have changed and I get free t-shirts. What you just easier.

35:53 What? Technically, they might be considered teachers that you you help to find, but we all work together and I think I mean that's the way we can try to maintain that kaliyana for Community, broadly defined. So, defining our community and expanding our, our idea of who we include

36:20 I think that's important. I think, you know, when you look at how Mom can touch yourself and people across her path. They become part of her, Ohana her kuliana and she takes care of them. Like you do read, read, one of our friends. We didn't meet him until I would say about what Mom about 5 years ago. Ten years ago, maybe maybe a little bit more than that, but he's part of our family now and then goods and, you know, text every now and then and I think that happens, you know, when people come in and out of your lives, you you treat them as part of your own and that becomes part of your Ohana and your kuliana, but Kim was telling us, we have 10 minutes. So two more questions. What do you want to say? Ken? What it? What is, what is the the most moving thing for you and doing this work?

37:20 I think the most moving thing and doing this work is that there are so many people doing it now and that we've really been able to Marshal a movement of people who care about others. And I think,

37:35 It's not really about human trafficking. It's not really a buck labor, or second location is about really tapping into those core values of

37:43 What is our shared humanity and tapping into that as people and then how do we

37:50 Tap into that shared humanity and translate it to policies that benefit everyone, right? It's because there's a lot of policies that exclude policies by definition Divine who's included and excluded. So how do we make the policies broader? So that everyone is included in systems of care and protection and access to that. And so it's about love, really? I get this is a story about love.

38:19 What can I like? I like how Asian Health Services has catapulted you into making this infectious movement with a lot of people. It's not just is not just with Asian Health Services, but you know, people like us at home. My mother is friends have learned about your work and they're involved. I mean, not in the sense where they're physically involved, but they're they're sending donations and they're looking on to all of what's going on with your work and with Allie and her friends are all, you know, wondering what you're doing. And and I think that in itself has made everyone aware.

39:05 And like you say you love, I think people generally want to help and people generally want to love others and I think that's right, and I think the hope, you know, the hope

39:21 The hope is that, is that what you're doing? Kim will alter someone's life. Three generations from hell, right. I mean to have that one cook who helped rescue or you know, advise our great-grandmother and how to get out of that brothel or that one police officer then, and you're the first that, right, you're the one, you're the one who's been alter those life. And I think that, that's, that's powerful you right. There might be someone who who is doing the same taping, or something better or something greater. And it's because of the one who helped their ancestor, you know, move on to something better.

40:13 Right, so we'll never hear. That story will never hear, but we can believe it other people's lives and we don't know what those Ripple effects are going to be. And so, you want to make those Ripple effects Full Of Love, full of hopeful of Charity, full of compassion, and as big as you can make them,

40:45 So are we out of town? Are we on time has been over 10 minutes?

40:51 I know, thank you. Well, I just want to save mom and Allie. Thank you so much for all of your your love and your support. And and it just really being being my best friends and my family. I love you guys and thanks for including, you know, they see that when you raise children, you don't really teach them, they teach you, and it's true, because my life has become a lot, a lot better and a lot. My my perspective on life has become a lot wider because of all of my children and people around me.

41:28 Yeah, and I want to shout out to Matthew and Jacob and I didn't hurt and your kids kids will one day be able to go into the Library of Congress and access system and say that was that was my grandma with her sister and her mom make the day this recording.