The U.S. Department of Justice has awarded more than $100 million in funding, through the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), to combat human trafficking and provide vital services to trafficking victims throughout the United States. For a complete list of individual grant programs, award amounts, and jurisdictions that will receive funding, visit the DOJ webpage here.
SOAR Online is a series of training modules launched in 2018 by the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center and Postgraduate Institute, in collaboration with federal partners. A new SOAR for School-Based Professionals Module equips those serving middle and high school students to better understand how human trafficking-related issues impact youth. Visit the SOAR Online page for full CE/CME information and register for SOAR Online.
In 2018, 127 cases of human trafficking were reported in Pennsylvania, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. At the 2019 Rural Human Trafficking Summit hosted by the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health at Penn State Tuesday, advocates said that to target and stop trafficking, the public needs to first recognize the situation.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline reported nearly 8,000 cases of sex trafficking in 2018, and about 1,200 case of labor trafficking. The organization says the statistic doesn’t necessarily mean sex trafficking is more prevalent than labor trafficking, only that people are more aware of the former.
Jane Guerino, a survivor of sex trafficking, said most people don’t believe trafficking is happening in Pennsylvania or outside of urban areas. She was abducted at the age of 30 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
“It is here. It’s in your backyard. It is with your children, and you don’t know it and you don’t realize it until they’re abducted or they’re taken into trafficking,” she said.
Guerino is the president of the Glory House in Allentown, a transitional home for victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. She warned that dating websites and the internet as a whole are often used by traffickers to lure potential victims into trafficking. Young girls and women should be especially vigilant and cautious, she said, as they’re the most likely targets.
Guerino, who was one of the speakers at the summit, said medical professionals and law enforcement agencies need more training on recognizing signs of human trafficking in victims. They may come in contact with emergency rooms or police officers while showing bruising or displaying anxiety.
Shea Rhodes, who directs the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation at Villanova University, talked about prosecuting the traffickers and buyers in the billion-dollar industry instead of the victims.
“Pennsylvania is really starting to — and our legislature is recognizing that, unless we target the sex buyers to drive down that demand for commercial sex, the traffickers are going to continue to capitalize and be able to make money,” Rhodes said.
She helped push the state to enact a comprehensive legislation that defines both sex trafficking and labor trafficking in 2014, “the most meaningful change” from the legal perspective.
“Every year since that law has gone into effect, we’ve been working with the legislature to continue to move that ball forward,” Rhodes said.
One of the additions is a Safe Harbor Law, which the state enacted in 2018, ensuring child victims of human trafficking don’t get prosecuted for prostitution or other crimes.
“We really need to change the public perception as to what prostitution is,” Rhodes said. “And all of those terrible synonyms and the stigma that goes along with that particular crime. It’s actually, in our opinion, exploitive, and we don’t think anyone, who is being either sold for sex, or selling sex because they have no other way to survive, should be criminalized.” So far, the 2014 legislation has led to 46 convictions in the state.
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, you can get help by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.
Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health to Host Rural Human Trafficking Summit on October 29
University Park, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) will hold the first Pennsylvania Rural Human Trafficking Summit on October 29, 2019 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, PA.
The summit will focus on national and state efforts to address human trafficking, the law enforcement response to trafficking, and community- and health care facility-based strategies and education to address trafficking.
According to the Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH), approximately 40.3 million modern slaves are in service worldwide, with approximately 25 million being forced into labor and sex trafficking. It is estimated that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.
Human trafficking is not just a global issue, but a local issue. Rural America, and rural Pennsylvania, are not immune to trafficking. According to data from the NHTH, 275 reported cases of human trafficking were reported in 2018 in Pennsylvania, ranking the state 11th in the nation for human trafficking.
Isolation, geography, and transportation routes that facilitate human trafficking in rural areas allow human trafficking to go undetected. The lack of economic opportunities in many rural areas also make individuals more vulnerable to trafficking. Education, awareness, and an understanding of local, state, and federal resources are essential to identifying potential human trafficked individuals and assisting them in getting the help they need.
The October summit will feature a “surthriver,” a victim of human trafficking who was able to escape this modern day slavery. She will share her compelling journey into and through human trafficking and how she survived—and thrived. She now directs a human trafficking recovery program in northeastern Pennsylvania to aid others to escape the bonds of trafficking.
Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking.
Trauma caused by traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings. Language barriers, stigma, fear of their traffickers, and/or fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, making human trafficking a hidden crime.
National estimates indicate that approximately 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women, and health care providers are often the first professionals to have contact with trafficked women and girls. Nearly 50 percent of trafficked individuals saw a health care professional during their exploitation, putting health care providers and facilities on the front lines of identifying and potentially stopping human trafficking.
The summit is sponsored by PORH; the Region III Office of the Health Resources and Services Administration; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the Eastcentral and Northeast Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center; the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, and the Governors Office of Homeland Security.
Registration and additional conference information can be found on the Rural Human Trafficking Summit website at cvent.com/d/z6qs99.
PORH formed in 1991 as a joint partnership between the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Penn State. The office is one of 50 state offices of rural health in the nation funded under a program administered by FORHP and is charged with being a source of coordination, technical assistance, networking, and partnership development.
PORH provides expertise in the areas of rural health, agricultural health and safety, and community and economic development. PORH is administratively housed in the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State University Park.
Editors: For more information, contact Terri Klinefelter, outreach coordinator, Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, at 814-863-8214 or email@example.com.
The risk of human trafficking is higher for children and youth in foster care, and the child welfare field has increased its efforts to develop an effective response. With funding from the Children’s Bureau, grantees across the nation have been developing programs to address human trafficking that leverage available resources and form partnerships in local communities.
Read these lessons learned briefs to see what grantees have learned during their journey to address various human trafficking issues, and help your community take advantage of their findings to keep children safe and thriving.
- Human Trafficking: Coordinating Resources
Bringing together specialized resources to better serve victims of human trafficking can have unique challenges. Grantees are building service capacity in their communities by establishing awareness, building multidisciplinary teams, and making sure the appropriate information gets shared between agencies and partners.
- Human Trafficking: Working with Faith Based Groups
Learn about the partnerships grantees formed with faith-based organizations and the benefits and challenges they encountered. Using real-life examples, this publication shows how child welfare agencies can identify service gaps, find community resources that can help, and build successful partnerships.
- Human Trafficking: Developing Housing Options
Securing safe and appropriate housing for victims of human trafficking is a challenge in many areas. Read how agencies identified appropriate housing options, took advantage of the resources they had—such as existing foster parents—to fill gaps, and supported the providers in their area.
Listen to how the Miami CARES Project brings together more than 10 government and community agencies within Miami-Dade (FL) County to forge a collaborative, systematic approach to identifying minors who are, or are at risk of becoming, victims of human trafficking.
Your feedback is important. Be sure to let us know how we’re doing by taking our survey! For more information, visit our website, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us toll-free at 1.800.394.3366.
See below for presentations, videos, and handouts on addressing human trafficking and domestic violence.
- Video #1: “What is Human Trafficking?”
- Video #2: “Hidden America: Chilling New Look at Sex Trafficking in the US”
- Handout #1: Human Trafficking Indicators
- Handout #2: Human Trafficking Indicators
- Handout #3: Power & Control Wheel for Human Trafficking
- “Serving Human Trafficking Victims and Survivors: An Introduction for Domestic Violence Providers.”
The Grantee Connection provided updates on grant to address child welfare population human trafficking.
Grants to Address Trafficking Within the Child Welfare Population: Nine 5-year grants were awarded in 2014 to develop their child welfare systems’ response to human trafficking.
Read the latest newsletter from Connecticut’s Human Anti-trafficking Response Team (HART) and a new article, Stopping Human Trafficking on the Law Enforcement Front Lines, written by and for law enforcement partners.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has mobilized toward a National Human Trafficking Prevention Action Plan, which was formally announced on April 24th by Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson during the opening session of the 21st National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect.
“Today, we are rolling out an initiative to develop a robust national human trafficking prevention action plan. We seek partnerships with states, tribes, non-government organizations, and the private sector to amplify national and local conversations on what is working to prevent human trafficking and scale out solutions. We seek to collaborate with state and county child welfare systems and researchers to reduce vulnerabilities to trafficking. We want to identify the youth in our care who are at high risk for human trafficking so that we can intervene before another child experiences the trauma of human trafficking.” – Lynn A. Johnson, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families
Request for Information
The Office on Trafficking In Persons (OTIP) welcomes input from diverse perspectives on strengthening the Nation’s efforts to prevent human trafficking at primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention levels and that impact any level in the socio-ecological model (individual, relationship, community, and societal).
OTIP seeks information on existing programs, education, and activities to prevent the human trafficking of children and adults. OTIP aims to learn more about prevention activities pertaining to sex trafficking, labor trafficking, specialized populations, domestic victims, and foreign victims of trafficking.
The feedback received will inform a national human trafficking prevention resources clearinghouse and the development of a National Human Trafficking Prevention Action Plan.
How do I submit information?
Please share with any partners that may be interested. Thanks!