Each year, an estimated 17,000 vulnerable men, women and children are trafficked across our borders and then forced into slavery. Many are fleeing terrible situations in their home countries and come to the United States to find a better life. Unfortunately, the nightmare often begins when they reach our shores.
Through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities is providing comprehensive case management services to foreign-born victims of trafficking through the Trafficking Victims Assistance Program (TVAP). This program guides victims to “stability” by assessing their needs, coordinating services and providing financial assistance to secure safe housing, access to counseling and medical care and other basic needs for up to one year.
What Is Trafficking?
Human trafficking is an offense against the fundamental dignity of a person and a form of modern day slavery. Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.
Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues within the sex industry, including residential brothels, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution.
Labor trafficking has been found in diverse labor settings including, domestic work, small businesses, large farms, and factories.
Who We Serve
In order to enroll in TVAP, individuals must be a foreign-born victim of a severe form of trafficking. Family members and minor children of victims of trafficking may also be eligible. You can refer someone directly using the form below or by contacting (513) 672-3785.
You may have an opportunity to identify and assist a victim of human trafficking. Know the signs:
- Seems anxious, fearful or paranoid. Avoids eye contact.
- Tearfulness or signs of depression.
- Unexplained bruises or cuts or other signs of physical abuse.
- Appears to be in a relationship with someone who is dominating.
- Never is alone and/or always has someone translating or answering questions on their behalf.
- Not in control of their own finances.
- Presents with secrecy or unable to answer questions about where they live.
- Inconsistent details when telling their story.
- Has no identification such as a license, passport or other ID documents.
- Inability to leave their job or residence. Says they cannot schedule appointments.
- Being a recent arrival to the United States and does not speak English.
- Is under 18 and providing commercial sex acts. Or at any age unwillingly providing commercial sex acts.
- Is afraid of law enforcement or receiving help from an outside entity.
How You Can Help
If you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, take the following actions:
- Ask the person if you can help him/her find a safe place to go immediately.
- If the person needs time, create an action plan with him/her to get to a safe place when he/she is ready.
- Call the human trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888. The hotline has language capabilities, so any individual can call directly.
If you need more guidance, you can call and talk through the case with USCCB anti-trafficking program staff at (202) 541-3357.
If you can find an opportunity to get he/she alone, ask him/her the following screening questions:
- Can you leave your job or house when you want?
- Where did you get those bruises or is anyone hurting you?
- Do you get paid for your employment? Is it fair? How many hours do you work?
- (If foreign national) How did you get to the U.S. and is it what you expected? Are you being forced to do anything you don’t want to do?
Are you or your family being threatened?
- Do you live with or near your employer? Does your employer provide you housing? Are there locks on doors or windows from outside?
Do you owe debt to anyone?