Funds & Services
Providing services to survivors of human trafficking is critical, as is the funding for those services. States provide many different types of services, from legal services to housing assistance, which differs state to state. In addition, the funding for these services varies greatly across states, with some setting up special funds to address human trafficking while others provide for targeted services in budget line items.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 establishes the 3P approach to addressing human trafficking encompassing prevention, protection, and prosecution. Since 2000 the concept has been expanded to include partnership, recognizing the need for multiple agency coordination in order to properly address the issue.
Trafficking survivors require a range of different services, which vary depending on the specific needs of the individual survivor. Required services may include shelter, advocacy, health care, legal assistance, mental health services, or many others. For example, an Evaluation of Services for Domestic Minor Victims of Human Trafficking, released in 2015, documented the demographics of child trafficking survivors as well as the services provided by three grant-funded direct service providers in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. The report details what the client needs were at intake including:
- Case management
- Legal services
- Crisis intervention
- Safety planning
- Health care: medical, dental and sexual health care
- Mental health treatment
- Housing: long-term, emergency and transitional
- Employment/vocational assistance
- Assistance obtaining benefits
- Family reunification or family counseling
- Victim assistance/legal advocacy services
- Substance/alcohol abuse treatment
Survivors of sex and labor trafficking face complex legal issues that often require expertise in many areas of the law, including criminal, civil, immigration law and more. For example, one survivor may need legal assistance in many, if not all, of the following areas:
- Vacating & Expunging Criminal Records: survivors often have criminal records including crimes committed as part of or in furtherance of the trafficking activity (e.g. theft, drug possession or sales, loitering, prostitution etc.)
- Family Law: some survivors may need help getting out of an abusive relationship that led to the trafficking, or they may need assistance getting custody of their children.
- Immigration: survivors may have been brought to the United States illegally and need assistance gaining legal status in the country. This often comes in the form of a T or U visa.
- Victim/Witness Advocacy: the court process can be intimidating, particularly for human trafficking victims. Victim/witness advocacy can help survivors navigate the legal system while protecting their rights and safety.
- Identity Theft: identity theft is a large issue for survivors of human trafficking. Assistance reversing the damaging effects of identity theft, or just helping survivors get proper identification, can be invaluable.
- Obtaining Public Benefits such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, SNAP, Medicaid or others.
Housing needs of trafficking victims vary, and service providers employ different options to meet the emergency, transitional, and long-term housing needs of their clients, including through a variety of emergency and transitional shelters as well as group and independent living options, working with landlords, housing authorities, and other partners. Survivors, service providers, law enforcement, and other stakeholders cite housing as a top priority of victims of all forms of trafficking.
The evaluation of services to domestic minor sex trafficking survivors, cited above, also looked at what needs of the trafficking survivor were identified at intake. Nearly 75 percent of the client/survivors identified housing, either emergency, transitional, or long-term, as an area of need upon intake.
Trauma-Informed Services Delivery
It is important when providing services to victims of crime, particularly human trafficking survivors, to do so in a trauma-informed way. This includes recognizing the impact that prior trauma can have, identifying the signs of trauma in clients and knowing how to respond in a way that does not re-traumatize. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified Six Key Principles of a Trauma-Informed Approach:
- Trustworthiness and Transparency
- Peer Support
- Collaboration and Mutuality
- Empowerment, Voice and Choice
- Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues
State legislation regarding services for human trafficking survivors varies greatly. Some states require an agency or commission to develop a plan for providing services to trafficking survivors, others include programs to provide services to survivors, child welfare population specific statutes, or other, more specific services such as immigration.
Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act requires states to identify youth most at risk of becoming child sex trafficking victims and provide services for them to prevent them from being trafficked.
See below for examples of how states have addressed the provision of services to human trafficking survivors.
Plan to Provide Services to Trafficking Survivors
These statutes require specific departments to coordinate with other agencies, nongovernmental organizations and/or service providers to develop a plan for providing services to human trafficking survivors. Some statutes specify that they are for child survivors only, others apply to both labor and sex trafficking, while others are general to all human trafficking survivors and can be broadly construed.
- Ark. Code § 12-19-103
- Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 54-234
- Ga. Code § 49-5-8
- La. Rev. Stat. § 46-2161 et.seq.
- Minn. Stat. § 299A.795
- N.J. Stat. § 52:4B-44
- N.J. Stat. § 52:4B-44.1
- Penn. Stat. tit. 43, § 1499
- Tenn. Code § 71-1-135
Programs to Provide Services
These statutes are programs established to provide services to survivors of human trafficking. They are generally applicable to all human trafficking survivors, child and adult, who are survivors of both sex and labor trafficking.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.223
- N.M. Stat. § 30-52-2
- N.Y. Soc. Serv. § 483-BB
- Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 748.2
- Penn. Cons. Stat. tit. 18, § 3051 et.seq.
- Tex. Govt. Code § 531.381et.seq.
- Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-709
Child Welfare Specific Provisions
These statutes address children who are survivors of human trafficking and are currently, or are eligible to receive child welfare services, including secure foster care placements. The Connecticut and Texas statutes address both sex and labor trafficking. California and Florida address commercial sexual exploitation only and the others are general to human trafficking.
- Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §16524.7 et.seq.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 17a-106f
- Fla. Stat. § 409.1678
- Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.954e
- Tex. Fam. Code § 262.011
- Tex. Hum. Res. Code § 42.0531
- Wis. Stat. § 48.48
Services to Non-Citizen Survivors
These statutes generally extend public benefits to non-citizen/immigrant survivors of human trafficking. They are broadly applicable and generally apply to both sex and labor trafficking.
- Ark. Code § 12-19-104: immigration
- Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 18945
- Fla. Stat. § 402.87
- N.Y. Soc. Serv. § 483-DD
- N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-43.11(d)
State Special Funds
At least 22 states have created funds to pay for anti-trafficking efforts, including training of law enforcement and attorneys general and for the provision of services to survivors of human trafficking (see map). A study released in 2015 highlights the impact of state investment, “any state investment in human trafficking … is important in generating human trafficking arrests and prosecutions.”
States also generate funds for services by levying fines on sex traffickers and purchasers of commercial sex.
For example, in Louisiana the crime of purchasing commercial sexual activity carries increased fines based on the number of convictions and the age of the person from whom sex is being purchased. If the person is under 18, the maximum fine that can be imposed is $50,000; for those who purchase sex from children under 14, the maximum fine is $75,000. California’s law fines those convicted of labor, sex and child traffickers up to $500,000 in addition to providing for prison sentences.
Examples of states that created statutory special funds to provide training and services are included in the map and the citations below. The statutes vary from state to state. Georgia, Louisiana and Oregon have funds that apply only to children who are survivors of sex trafficking. Arizona, California and Hawaii specifically mention that the fund is available to both child and adult survivors of sex and labor trafficking. The remainder are general to all survivors of human trafficking and may be applied broadly.
- Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-114
- Ark. Stat. § 16-92-119
- Cal. Govt. Code § 8590.7
- Cal. Rev. and Tax. Code § 18809.2
- Ga. Code § 15-21-200 et.seq.
- Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 706-650.5
- Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 730, § 5/5-9-1.21
- Ind. Code § 5-2-6-25
- Iowa Code §915.95
- Kan. Stat. Ann. § 75-758
- Ky. Stat. § 529.140
- La. Rev. Stat. § 15:539.2
- Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 10, § 66A
- Mich. Comp. Laws § 752.975
- Miss. Code § 97-3-54.8
- Mont. Code §44-4-1504
- Neb. Rev. Stat. § 81-1429.02
- Nev. Rev. Stat. § 217.500 et.seq.
- N.J. Stat. § 52:17B-238
- Ohio Rev. Code § 5101.87
- Or. Rev. Stat. § 147.480
- Tenn. Code § 39-13-312
Instead of providing a special fund, some states provide for specific services in line items of budget bills. For example, Virginia (2015 HB 5002) reads:
“Out of this appropriation, $100,000 the first year and $100,000 the second year from the general fund shall be provided to contract with Youth for Tomorrow (YFT) to provide comprehensive residential, education and counseling services to at-risk youth of the Commonwealth of Virginia who have been sexually exploited, including victims of sex trafficking…”