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News

Human Trafficking: Under-reported and Overlooked

Like Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking is a crime based in an abuse of power over another person. This form of modern-day slavery involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain labor, domestic servitude, or a commercial sex act against another person’s will.

 

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, out of all fifty states and Washington DC, California had the highest volume of calls to the National Hotline for Human Trafficking in 2016. Orange County alone saw 225 human trafficking survivors seeking assistance that year. Human Trafficking victims can be any age, gender, race, or nationality, and because human trafficking is a crime based in control, survivors often feel dependent on the person who is causing them harm. Even after leaving the abusive situation, a survivor might encounter many barriers to independent living.

 

WTLC received a million dollar grant from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in 2017 to grow our Human Trafficking programs. To be spent over the course of two years, these funds have helped build our housing program and supportive services to meet the varied needs of survivors of human trafficking. In a 2008 study by the US Department of Health and Human Services, service providers and law enforcement personnel were asked to describe the needs of survivors of human trafficking. A common response was, “What DON’T they need?” Survivors might need any combination of medical treatment (either one-time or ongoing), emergency shelter, clothing, food, counseling, job training, permanent housing support, transportation, childcare, identification paperwork, immigration legal services, language assistance, and more.

 

WTLC’s Human Trafficking Program works with survivors to address all aspects of their recovery needs.  The Bridge Housing Program provides shelter options so survivors can transition into independent living without the added stress of housing instability; Clinical Advocates help survivors process and recover from the trauma of their experiences; Legal Advocates work with survivors to identify their legal options, helping them navigate the court system with confidence; Case Managers provide a range of additional supportive services ranging from the provision of basic needs to financial empowerment services to resource and referral support.

 

Human Trafficking is a crime that is all too often ignored or overlooked—with your support, we can ensure all of Orange County’s survivors are able to find independence and recovery.