ADVOCACY FOR SURVIVORS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Our Advocacy Hotline
Connecticut Legal Services is joining the fight against human trafficking by providing free legal help to people who have been trafficked.
If you or someone you know has ever felt forced to do work that they did not want to do, or work that was different from what was promised, we may be able to provide free legal help for the survivor and their family.
To learn more, call our human trafficking hotline:
This is not an emergency line. In an emergency, or if someone is in danger, call 911.)
CLS' Human Trafficking Advocacy Project
Civil legal services can make an enormous difference in legal and life outcomes for human trafficking survivors. Survivors may been help with restraining orders, child custody, or divorces. They may need access to government benefits if they cannot work because of physical or emotional trauma, or help overcoming barriers to housing, employment, or obtaining legal residency status in the United States. And legal services can help them vindicate their rights as victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system.
To help, CLS has hired a human trafficking fellow -- a lawyer who will provide civil legal help to survivors and who will also statewide fight to end human trafficking. To learn more about our human trafficking work, contact our human trafficking advocacy fellow, Wesleigh Anderson.
Human trafficking is the abuse and exploitation of people for economic gain.
Under federal and international law, trafficking involves an action, such as recruiting, moving, or obtaining a person; a means, such as force, fraud, or coercion, and a purpose of involuntary servitude, debt bondage, slavery, or commercial sex.
Human trafficking is a serious and likely growing problem in Connecticut, and across the United States.
The extent of human trafficking can be hard to measure, but in 2006 the U.S. Department of State estimated that between 14,500 and 17,500 people were trafficked into the U.S. each year. That number likely underestimates victim, because it doesn't include U.S. citizens and people who are never able to seek assist or report to law enforcement.
The Polaris Project, an anti-trafficking organization, identifies Connecticut as part of a zone with an especially high prevalence of trafficking, largely because of the state's location along the route from New York to Boston. Connecticut's Department of Children and Families identified 212 children in 2017 alone who were suspected of being victims of trafficking. The number of adults trafficked in Connecticut is likely even higher.
Human trafficking can take many different forms. Although it sometimes involves moving people across borders, people can be trafficked without ever leaving in their home state or community. Forced labor and forced commercial sex can affect people of any gender and any age. And a person’s “consent” doesn’t change whether or not they have been trafficked – a person who has been tricked or persuaded into entering a trafficking situation is kept there by the trafficker’s use of power and control.
These are a few scenarios of what trafficking can look like. But these are just examples – trafficking can also look very different from any of these situations.
- A spouse or intimate partner who uses threats, violence, or abuse to force a person to do domestic work in the house.
- A person who is promised a good job, only to discover that once they’ve arrived they’re forced to work in conditions they did not expect, such as with less pay, no breaks, or without being able to freely leave.
- A person, especially someone under 18, who is lured into a relationship that seems romantic at first, but then they’re forced or induced into doing things by the perpetrator that they don’t want to do, like have sex with other people for the perpetrator’s economic gain.
Learn more about how to recognize some signs of human trafficking.