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Jennifer Durant 

Durant advocates for trafficking victims

MANCHESTER - A voice at the State House for victims of domestic and sexual violence is how Jennifer B. Durant thinks of herself.

Durant, 32, was nominated for her work in helping to pass the state's law criminalizing human trafficking which took effect Jan. 1, 2010.

As a lobbyist for N.H. Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, 'I worked extensively with the stakeholders on this issue, not only to pass the bill, but to then implement the bill and help get people trained throughout the community to detect this crime,' she said.

She worked with victim advocates, law enforcement and attorneys.

'I believe that we're at the forefront of this human-trafficking movement and being really able to address it in the state,' she said.

While human trafficking is often thought of as an international crime, it is happening in New Hampshire as well, she said.

'It might present as something different ... sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, prostitution, but when you peel away the layers, you begin to identify something much bigger,' she said.

Statistics show 80 percent of trafficking victims are women or girls and 80 percent involve sex trafficking, she said. 'Of that about 50 percent are children,' she said.

'So the majority of these cases are in fact children under the age of 18,' Durant said. 'So we're talking 12, 13, 14 years old.'

'They're typically runaways or what's termed as throwaways, so they're kicked out of their homes, they're vulnerable youth that pimps often recruit and entice to get involved in the sex trade,' she said.

'There is an estimate that between 16,000 and 18,000 U.S. citizens are trafficked within the United States every year, and these are children ... These are American children,' she said.

Durant was nominated by Col. Robert Quinn, who heads N.H. State Police, Sandi Matheson, who heads the victim-witness assistance program at the state Attorney General's office and Amanda Grady, public policy director for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

'Without her work in the area of human trafficking, there is no doubt that these statewide efforts would not have been achieved,' the nominators wrote.

The coalition is an umbrella organization that provides technical and financial support to 14 member agencies who provide services to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. A portion of marriage license fees goes to support the coalition's work providing free, confidential 24-hour services. State budget cuts mean the coalition is doing more with less. 'The impact is huge for victims, for us,' she said.

In 2010, crisis centers served 16,008 victims, their children and extended family.

Durant also teaches sociology at Saint Anselm College. This semester, she is introducing a course on family violence.

'Our media, television, magazines, the Internet, often sensationalizes and unfortunately sexualizes violence and in particular violence against women,' she said. 'So that has a significant effect on our view of crime and how violent crime is handled at a real level.'

'I might not see somebody get arrested for a protective order violation but you see that on TV, so very much television and the media in general, minus the UL, sensationalizes and sexualizes violence to the point where we often disconnect reality from how it's interpreted through media.

'We have to say how is this contributing to the ongoing crime of human trafficking and trafficking minors? How is this contributing to battering or violence against women?' Durant said.

'Violence against women is still a very real thing,' she said. 'I still think we have a long way to go.'

There is a connection between domestic violence and the economy, she said. 'What we're seeing here in New Hampshire in our crisis center is that we're not necessarily serving more victims, but they were staying longer in shelter because of the economy,' she said.

Her biggest challenge is maintaining strong domestic and sexual violence laws in the state, she said. 'There are continuous attempts to weaken our current statutes,' she said. 'Knowing that if something were to pass that negatively impacts on victims, that falls on me, so that's a huge burden to have,' she said. 'But that's what motivates me.'

Working closely with Coalition policy director Amanda Grady, she said, 'We're a force to be reckoned with.'

Durant's life has been shaped by the tragic loss her family suffered when her sister Megan Durant, was killed in a freak highway accident in 1995. Megan, a freshman at Merrimack High School, was a passenger in a car when a metal engine cover flew off a truck on the F.E. Everett Turnpike, crashed through the windshield and hit Durant in the head. She died from her injuries hours later.

Jennifer Durant was 16 at the time. 'That was obviously the turning point in my life and for my family,' she said.

'As a result of that hardship and that tragedy, my parents and I, father and mother, are extremely close,' she said. Her father and mother, Dexter and Christine Durant, are her biggest supporters, she said.


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March 15 Reception

The Union Leader’s 40 Under Forty program recognizes some of the state’s brightest young achievers who have a record of professional and volunteer accomplishments in New Hampshire. It is generously sponsored by Citizens Bank and presented in partnership with the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire.

When:Wednesday March 15, 2017 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Grappone Conference Center
70 Constitution Avenue
Concord, NH 03301

Tickets: There are no physical tickets for the event. Attendees can check in upon arrival.

Click here to register

Contact: Emily Whalen
New Hampshire Union Leader
603-206-7834
ewhalen@unionleader.com

THANKS TO OUR PROGRAM SPONSOR

Class of 2017

Michael Solari, 33, Goffstown

Michael Solari, 33, Goffstown

Michael Solari, 33, of Goffstown is principal owner of Solari Financial.

Rachelle Beaudoin, 35, Peterborough

Rachelle Beaudoin, 35, Peterborough

Rachelle Beaudoin, 35, of Peterborough is an artist and lecturer of Visual Art, College of the Holy Cross.

Paul C. Smith, 36, Epsom

Paul C. Smith, 36, Epsom

Paul C. Smith, 36, of Epsom is clerk of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

Molly Sanborn, 37, Concord

Molly Sanborn, 37, Concord

Molly Sanborn, 37, of Concord is director of development and marketing at CATCH Neighborhood Housing.

Justin Slattery, 36, Concord

Justin Slattery, 36, Concord

Justin Slattery, 36, is Concord is executive director of Belknap Economic Development Council.

Rebecca Perkins, 34, Portsmouth

Rebecca Perkins, 34, Portsmouth

Rebecca Perkins, 34, of Portsmouth is associate general counsel at Enel Green Power North America.

Arnold Mikolo, 25, Manchester

Arnold Mikolo, 25, Manchester

Arnold Mikolo, 25, of Manchester is community liaison with St. Anselm College; vice president with the Congolese of New Hampshire; ESL instructor with Manchester Community College; medical...

Tilak Niroula, 28, Manchester

Tilak Niroula, 28, Manchester

Tilak Niroula, 28, of Manchester is communication manager at Bhutanese Community of New Hampshire, residential instructor at Easter Seals.

Norri Oberlander, 34, Londonderry

Norri Oberlander, 34, Londonderry

Norri Oberlander, 34, of Londonderry is vice president of North End Properties Inc., aka Landlady in Downtown Manchester

Lyndsee D. Paskalis, 34, Bedford

Lyndsee D. Paskalis, 34, Bedford

Lyndsee D. Paskalis, 34, of Bedford is an attorney (partner) with Stebbins, Lazos & Van Der Beken, P.A.

Joshua McAllister, 37, Center Conway

Joshua McAllister, 37, Center Conway

Joshua McAllister, 37, Center Conway is partner/vice-president/senior civil engineer at HEB Engineers, Inc.; varsity baseball coach, Kennett High School.

Keith Young, 33, Groveton

Keith Young, 33, Groveton

Keith Young, 33, of Groveton is partner at Geo. M. Stevens and Son Co.; moderator for the town as needed; part owner with my wife of First Step Fitness Centeral.

Doug Martin, 34, New Boston

Doug Martin, 34, New Boston

Doug Martin, 34, of New Boston is a commercial real estate advisor for Colliers International.

Ann L. Fournier, 39, Bedford

Ann L. Fournier, 39, Bedford

Ann L. Fournier, 39, Bedford is an instructor in the Department of Nursing at Saint Anselm College.

Tate H. Aldrich, 30, Laconia

Tate H. Aldrich, 30, Laconia

Tate H. Aldrich, 30, of Laconia is an English teacher and English Department chairman at Laconia High School.

Justin Boufford, 36, Manchester

Justin Boufford, 36, Manchester

Justin Boufford, 36, of Manchester is an account executive for Boyd & Boufford Insurance Agency LLC.

James Brewer, 35, Portsmouth

James Brewer, 35, Portsmouth

James Brewer, 35, of Portsmouth is vice president, middle market lender, Kennebunk Savings Bank.

Samantha Kenney Maltais, 30, Loudon

Samantha Kenney Maltais, 30, Loudon

Samantha Kenney Maltais, 30, of Loudon is principal strategist and marketing manager, SilverTech Inc.

Tyler Gouveia, 18, Nashua

Tyler Gouveia, 18, Nashua

Tyler Gouveia, 18, of Nashua is CEO and majority owner of T Town Sports, full-time student at Suffolk University.

Kati Lary Jopek, 32, Canaan

Kati Lary Jopek, 32, Canaan

Kati Lary Jopek, 32, of Canaan is regional recreation coordinator for Mascoma Valley Parks & Recreation (part time); USA Field Hockey umpire (high school and college); basketball and softball coach;...

Nate Alberts, 34, Franconia

Nate Alberts, 34, Franconia

Nate Alberts, 34, of Franconia is owner of Nate Alberts Painting; founder and executive director of North Country Community Radio.

Ryan K. Frew, 36, Manchester

Ryan K. Frew, 36, Manchester

Ryan K. Frew, 36, Manchester is head coach and general manager of the N.H. Jr. Monarchs.

Tim Baines, 37, Manchester

Tim Baines, 37, Manchester

Tim Baines, 37, of Manchester is owner and operator of Mint Bistro.

Kathleen A. Davidson, 35, Pembroke

Kathleen A. Davidson, 35, Pembroke

Kathleen A. Davidson, 35, of Pembroke is an attorney at Hage Hodes, P.A.

Sandi Coyle, 38, Exeter

Sandi Coyle, 38, Exeter

Sandi Coyle, 38, of Exeter is executive director of Granite Pathways.

Tyler Brown, 29, Manchester

Tyler Brown, 29, Manchester

Tyler Brown, 29, of Manchester is an account manager at CGI Business Solutions.

Joe Whitten, 30, Manchester

Joe Whitten, 30, Manchester

Joe Whitten, 30, of Manchester is chief executive officer of Apparel Impact.

Paul J. Bauer, 37, Newfields

Paul J. Bauer, 37, Newfields

Paul J. Bauer, 37, of Newfields is an attorney with Devine Millimet & Branch, P.A.

Matt Walsh, 38, Concord

Matt Walsh, 38, Concord

Matt Walsh, 38, of Concord is director of redevelopment, downtown services and special projects for the City of Concord.

Rio H. Tilton, 20, Seabrook

Rio H. Tilton, 20, Seabrook

Rio H. Tilton, 20, of Seabrook is a real estate agent at Lighthouse Real Estate in Seabrook, state Representative for District 37 representing Seabrook, Hampton Falls and Hampton.

Chad Theroux, 32, Manchester

Chad Theroux, 32, Manchester

Chad Theroux, 32, of Manchester is director of finance for the Precision Guidance and Sensing Solutions Product Line at BAE Systems.

Jonathan Sadowski, 39, Concord

Jonathan Sadowski, 39, Concord

Jonathan Sadowski, 39, of Concord is a special education teacher at Manchester High School Central.

Ned Sackman, 38, Concord

Ned Sackman, 38, Concord

Ned Sackman, 38, of Concord is a commercial litigation attorney and shareholder at Bernstein Shur, P.A.

Jenna Raizes, 32, Epping

Jenna Raizes, 32, Epping

Jenna Raizes, 32, of Epping is deputy general manager at New Hampshire Fisher Cats

Charles W. Kriete, 39, Salem

Charles W. Kriete, 39, Salem

Charles W. Kriete, 39, of Salem is senior vice president of Tessco Technologies.

Laura Gamache, 32, Manchester

Laura Gamache, 32, Manchester

Laura Gamache, 32, of Manchester is a real estate agent/Realtor with Gamache Real Estate Group of Keller Williams Realty.

Jessica Eskeland, 31, Concord

Jessica Eskeland, 31, Concord

Jessica Eskeland, 31, of Concord is coordinator at N.H. Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Matthew T. James, 35, Londonderry

Matthew T. James, 35, Londonderry

Matthew T. James, 35, of Londonderry is a commercial lender at Eastern Bank.

Liz Hitchcock, 38, Manchester

Liz Hitchcock, 38, Manchester

Liz Hitchcock, 38, of Manchester is a philanthropist.

George S. Hansel, 31, Keene

George S. Hansel, 31, Keene

George S. Hansel, 31, of Keene is co-owner of Filtrine Manufacturing Company and an At-Large Keene City Councilor.

Class of 2018 Nominations

Please summarize below the nominee's professional and volunteer accomplishments, and other special factors that you feel make them deserving of this recognition. Please include complete contact information for nominee.

For more information on the 40 Under 40 program, contact Shannon K. Sullivan, Community Relations Manager, 603-206-7833 or ssullivan@unionleader.com.

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