January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we will be posting survivor stories, statistics, and information about trafficking on our social media as part of our new campaign, Seeing Trafficking in 2020 – Bringing Trafficking Survivors into Focus. Please follow USCRI on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to learn more, and donate here to support survivors.
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of a labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of adults and children are trafficked worldwide, including here in the U.S. It can happen in any community, and traffickers target individuals regardless of age, race, gender, or nationality. Please visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline for more information.
Since 2011, USCRI has supported over 4,200 foreign national trafficking survivors in their journey to rebuild their lives through the Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (TVAP). Caring case managers across a multi-regional network of service providers ensure that survivors have a safe place to live, access to medical and mental health care, educational and employment opportunities, financial assistance, and a host of other comprehensive case management services needed to stabilize and re-establish their ability to live independently.
Last year, USCRI’s TVAP network served over 900 foreign national survivors from 77 countries of origin—the top five being Mexico, Honduras, Philippines, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
Targeted training and technical assistance on trauma-informed responses and services to anti-trafficking providers is provided through USCRI’s Project TRUST (Trauma Response to Uplift Survivors of Trafficking). With a focus on survivor empowerment and inclusion, USCRI’s Project TRUST is based on an understanding of the lasting physical, emotional, and psychological impacts of trauma.
“USCRI is unique in our survivor-informed approach,” says Project TRUST’s Charlee Borg. “We have an advisory committee of consultants composed of trafficking survivors from different backgrounds and trafficking experiences. They help create programming and ensure that all voices are heard.”
In 2019, TVAP and Project TRUST collectively provided training and technical assistance to over 250 social services organizations across the U.S.
In addition to these two national programs, USCRI Des Moines has begun to provide regional capacity building and comprehensive services to foreign national survivors through its Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Services (TAPS) Program.
“We’re finding there is a lack of knowledge on human trafficking—especially labor trafficking—so we are going out into the community and providing training to law enforcement, medical providers, and social services organizations,” says Kerri True-Funk, director of USCRI Des Moines. “The training dispels common myths about trafficking, identifies the local industries where this is a common practice, and teaches people the warning signs to look out for.”
As we move into the new year and new decade, USCRI pledges to continue to advocate for and support trafficking survivors.
Want to help? Donations to USCRI may be directed to trafficking survivors. Donate here and select “Survivors of human trafficking” in the dropdown menu.