Identification is our first step in determining if a woman is a survivor of trafficking. It involves interviewing a potential survivor and deciding whether she meets criteria for trafficking as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The TVPA defines trafficking as the act of recruiting, harboring, transporting, or obtaining a person for compelled labor or commercial sex acts through the use of force, fraud, or coercion.
Wang, a woman referred by the Human Trafficking Intervention Court at Midtown Community Court and a participant in one of our counseling groups at Restore, was provided education on the TVPA definition of sex trafficking, alongside her peers. After the group session, she came up to her counselor and said, “the definition of trafficking that you talked about… I think that happened to me.”
WHY is IDENTIFICATION IMPORTANT?
When a foreign-national woman is identified as meeting TVPA criteria for trafficking, she can then gain access to state and federal funding, immigration relief, and social services specific to survivors of trafficking.
GOVERNMENT FUNDING: The U.S. Department of Justices Office for Victims of Crime and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Trafficking in Persons disperse money to service providers working with survivors across the U.S. to provide comprehensive case management.
IMMIGRATION RELIEF: After we identify a survivor of trafficking, we refer her to a partner organization who provides immigration legal services. With support from her immigration attorney, a survivor can pursue a T visa, which places her on a path to U.S. citizenship.
SOCIAL SERVICES: At Restore, the most frequently requested social services are job training, ESL instruction, and housing. In response, we’re investing in our Economic Empowerment and Safehome programs, specifically developed to address survivors’ needs.
*Name has been changed to protect client’s privacy.