Assistance for Victims of Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is a crime. According to the United States Department of Justice, it is the second largest international criminal industry, second only to the drug trade. Any person, regardless of race, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, or immigration status may be a victim of this crime.
Victims who are trafficked are forced to work against their will in commercial sex, massage parlors, escort services, erotic dancing establishments, pornography, and sweatshops/factories. Labor trafficking often exists in industries such as agriculture, construction, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, but may be found in any industry. Some victims are forced, tricked, or coerced into marriage; others into begging and peddling. Human trafficking victims often suffer physical and psychological abuse at the hands of their traffickers, resulting in health problems, mental illness, and addiction. The need for assistance and treatment among victims is great.
Help for Victims of Human Trafficking
If you are a victim of human trafficking, you may be eligible for services in New York State that will assist with shelter, food, medical care, protection and legal assistance. If you are a victim of human trafficking and an immigrant, you may be eligible for services as well as help from the federal government with adjusting your immigration status. If you are a U.S. citizen, or a child of one, or have a qualifying immigration status, you may be eligible for public assistance benefits and can connect with a Human Trafficking Liaison at your local department of social services.
OTDA funds providers in New York State that will help victims of human trafficking become secure, independent individuals. View list of New York State Human Trafficking Providers. Anyone who suspects they may be a victim or a witness to human trafficking is encouraged to call the Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888, which will help with locating resources within your community. You can also text “HELP” to 233733 (BeFree).
If you are experiencing an emergency, please contact your local police department or dial 911.
New York State Response to Human Trafficking
The crime of human trafficking is astounding in its breadth and in the depth of need it creates for victims. Under New York State Law, trafficking is an act of forced labor or sexual servitude under specific means, for the benefit of the perpetrator. Any law enforcement agent can make a referral for services if he or she believes a person to be trafficked. In 2015, Governor Cuomo signed a law that allows established social and legal service providers to also make referrals to the New York State confirmation process.
Through OTDA, New York State funds the Response to Human Trafficking Program (RHTP), which provides case management and referral services to New York State-confirmed human trafficking victims. The focus is on those who would otherwise have no access to needed services: those who have not yet been certified by the federal government and those who are beginning to work in coordination with an investigation or prosecution and have been confirmed as a victim by OTDA and the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Services may include shelter/rental assistance, health assessment, medical care, mental health counseling, legal services, food assistance and other identified service needs.
If you are interested in training on recognizing the signs of human trafficking, or how the New York State referral process works, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assistance for Law Enforcement
The RHTP service system can assist local law enforcement in their pursuit of prosecutions of traffickers while also providing victims with the support necessary to regain their lives and return home and/or seek lawful immigration status in the U.S.
OTDA works closely with our partner agency DCJS to train local law enforcement and assist with investigations and prosecutions.
Interagency Task Force
The Interagency Task Force (ITF) on Human Trafficking is co-chaired by the Commissioners of OTDA and DCJS. The ITF includes membership from key state agencies who work in the area of human trafficking. It shares best practices on serving vulnerable populations at risk of trafficking and supports the efforts of all state agencies involved in the ITF to eliminate the scourge of human trafficking in New York State.
The ITF released a poster to heighten awareness among the general public. Informational cards are also available for distribution to hotels, health care facilities, social service districts, or other areas where human trafficking victims may be present.
- View the Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking Poster
- View the Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking Palm Card
- View the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) Hotline Poster
- View the Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking 2017 Annual Report
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