It is very dangerous to approach a suspected pimp or try to rescue a trafficking survivor. If you believe that someone is in danger, call 911 immediately.
Please review these intervention tips.
Anyone may encounter a trafficking survivor. Many people, simply by virtue of their roles, could potentially interact with someone who has been trafficked. These roles include, but are not limited to:
- Close Relationships (family, friends, neighbors, schoolmates, co-workers, etc.)
- Health care professionals (e.g., paramedics, doctors, nurses, emergency room personnel, medical clinic personnel, community lay health advisors, etc.)
- Human service workers (e.g., social workers, rape crisis advocates, health department workers, department of social services workers, teachers, etc.)
- Law enforcement (e.g., local police departments, state highway patrol, sheriff departments, FBI, State Bureau of Investigation, undercover officers, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, airport police officers, etc.)
- Members of religious communities (e.g., monks, rabbis, imams, priests, deacons, pastors, etc.)
- Attorneys (e.g., Public Defenders, District Attorneys, divorce lawyers, employment lawyers, immigration lawyers, Legal Aid attorneys, etc.)
- Businesses (store clerks, hairdressers, nail salons, home security installers, etc.)
Many people wonder; if trafficking is a global problem, why haven’t we seen more survivors in our offices, hospitals, and agencies? Barriers to identifying them include, but are not limited to:
Trafficking survivors can be hidden.
Traffickers will limit the survivor's contact with the outside world to prevent them from seeking help or escaping. Trafficking survivors are often immigrants, young people, people of lower socioeconomic status, and/or members of other groups who rarely have a strong presence and voice in society. Many do not speak English, which makes them more dependent on their traffickers for everyday communication and getting their basic needs met.
Traffickers may move survivors regularly.
To avoid detection by law enforcement, traffickers may regularly move survivors to different locations. If unfamiliar with the area, they cannot establish relationships with people who may help them.
Lack of trafficking awareness among general public and health, legal, and human service professionals.
Many people think of trafficking as something that occurs in far away countries, such as Thailand, Russia, or Mexico. This lack of awareness amongst those who could provide support makes identifying trafficking survivors more challenging. To equip concerned citizens in North Carolina who may come in contact with a trafficking survivor, we provide a resource directory for North Carolina (see Appendix A).
Some law enforcement and first responders mistakenly identify trafficking survivors as willing workers. Sex trafficking survivors in particular are at high-risk for deportation
Many people may wonder why trafficking survivors don’t routinely seek out and access services specifically designed to assist them. There are many barriers that survivors must overcome to access services. Barriers include, but are not limited to:
- They may not speak English or may not speak English well.
- There may be a lack of bilingual and bicultural staff to assist trafficking survivors.
- Believing lies exploiters have told them.
- They may feel embarrassed, ashamed, hopeless, nervous, or afraid, especially in cases where they were forced into prostitution and/or physically and sexually abused.
- They may not know the law and are often not aware that what has happened to them is illegal.
- Exploiters will often tell them that if they try to seek help, they will be arrested or deported by immigration.
- Exploiters often threaten them and / or their families with physical harm.
- Those who have been jailed or detained may not understand or believe that representatives from community organizations are independent from the law enforcement agencies that have taken them into custody.
- Exploiters tell them that police in the United States do not care about them and will not help them.
- Cultural differences, differences in communication styles, and the level of abuse inflicted on a particular survivor are also barriers that prevent them from trying to access support services.
Assess the risks of speaking with the person you suspect is being trafficked. Always speak to her/him alone.
There are a number of risks associated with making initial contact. Before approaching or conducting an interview, it is important to understand these risks. Simply approaching someone in a trafficking situation could compromise her/his safety. The traffickers might try to penalize her/him by taking more drastic measures or moving her/him to another location.
Some may be able to leave the trafficking situation on her/his own. Others may need assistance.
If you become aware of someone who is still in a trafficking situation and wishes to leave, it is best to contact a law enforcement agency to assist her/him.
Appendix B contains specific questions to ask potential victims.
Whenever possible, seek the survivor’s permission before reporting or attempting to assist.
- They always have a choice on whether or not they communicate with law enforcement or receive any services. Trying to make survivors participate in any type of program deprives them of autonomy and the right to self- determination. Survivors of human trafficking should be empowered to make their own decisions about the care they would like to receive.
- They may be eligible to receive emergency medical assistance even if they are not willing to report their case to law enforcement.
- If they want to pursue a criminal case against the traffickers, they will be required to report their case to law enforcement.
- If they want to receive many of the immigration benefits available to survivors of trafficking, they will also be required to report their case and cooperate with law enforcement.
If the person is in immediate danger, call 911. If the person is not in immediate danger, contact agencies that provide housing, health, employment, public benefits, and legal services for assistance. See Appendix A for possible resources for victims of trafficking.
Survivors of human trafficking should have access to services that are comprehensive, victim-centered, and culturally appropriate, including long-term care, to promote autonomy. Additionally, survivors should have access to vocational training, skill development courses, financial counseling, and educational scholarships.
All engagement with survivors, as well as all anti-trafficking work, should incorporate a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach to minimize re-traumatization and ensure an understanding of the impact of trauma on the individual.
The victim-centered approach seeks to minimize re-traumatization associated with involvement in the criminal justice process by providing the support of service providers, empowering survivors as engaged participants in the process, and providing survivors an opportunity to play a role in seeing their traffickers brought to justice.
A trauma-informed approach includes an understanding of the physical, social, and emotional impact of trauma on the individual, as well as on the professionals who help them.
Survivors know firsthand how to improve anti-trafficking efforts and should be hired and compensated for their expertise. It is important for agencies and organizations to create opportunities to employ survivors as staff members, consultants, or trainers. Survivors, like any other employee or consultant, deserve financial compensation for their time and expertise.
Government agencies, victim service providers, law enforcement agencies, non-profit organizations, and businesses should listen carefully to survivor recommendations and incorporate survivor input in both the design and implementation of anti-trafficking policies, programs, trainings, and advocacy efforts.
Agencies and organizations interacting with survivors should protect survivors’ identities and privacy appropriately and establish policies and procedures on confidentiality.
Do not make promises that you cannot fulfill. Aside from the possible criminal prosecution, survivors may have a number of civil legal remedies. They may be able to obtain monetary compensation from their traffickers and may be eligible for immigration assistance and some public benefits.
Law enforcement officials, service providers, and government agencies should avoid making promises and commitments they cannot keep. In particular, they should not promise services to gain a survivor’s cooperation.
When engaging with survivors, do not push them to recount their personal story unnecessarily. Similarly, don’t share the details of a survivor’s story without gaining permission and providing context for how the information will be used.
The use of graphic language or shocking imagery to depict human trafficking promotes myths and misconceptions about this crime and can re-traumatize survivors.
It is a survivor’s decision to participate in any outreach, marketing, social media, or publicity. Publishing a survivor’s name or story without their informed consent could compromise the survivor’s safety and well-being. If a survivor is willing, always ask how they would like to be described (e.g., survivor, advocate, etc.) and allow the survivor to review any material for accuracy before publication.
If the survivor is in immediate danger, call 911.
United States Department of Justice: Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force Toll Free Complaint Line: 1-888-428-7581. You can report trafficking crimes or get help by calling the Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force (TPWETF) Complaint Line at 1-888-428-7581 (voice and TTY). This line is funded and operated by the United States Department of Justice. Operators have access to interpreters and can talk with callers in their own language. The service is offered on weekdays from 9 AM to 5 PM EST. After these hours, information is available on tape in English, Spanish, Russian, and Mandarin.
United States Department of Health and Human Services—Rescue and Restore Campaign Information and Referral Hotline: 1-888-3737-888. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) was designated as the agency responsible for helping victims of human trafficking become eligible to receive benefits and services so they may rebuild their lives safely in the U.S. As part of this effort, DHHS has initiated the Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking campaign and the Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline, 1-888-3737 888, which connects victims of trafficking to nongovernment organizations (NGOs) who can help victims in their local area. The hotline
helps intermediaries determine whether they have encountered a victim of human trafficking, helps connect victims to resources, and coordinates with local social service organizations to protect and serve victims of trafficking.
Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force Complaint Line
You can report trafficking crimes or get help by calling the Trafficking in Persons and Worker Exploitation Task Force Complaint Line at 1-888-428-7581 (voice and TTY). This telephone line is operated by the United States Department of Justice. Operators have access to interpreters and can talk with callers in their own language. The service is offered on weekdays from 9 AM to 5 PM EST. After these hours, information is available on tape in English, Spanish, Russian, and Mandarin.
United States Department of Health and Human Services—Rescue and Restore Campaign Information and Referral Hotline:
DHHS has initiated the Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking campaign and the Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline, 1-888-3737-888, which connects victims of trafficking to non-government organizations (NGOs) who can help victims in their local area. The hotline helps intermediaries determine whether they have encountered a victim of human trafficking, helps connect victims to resources,
and coordinates with local social service organizations to protect and serve victims of trafficking.
It is important that the victim of trafficking be given access to an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that she/he has legal representation and protection
throughout the certification process, immigration relief process, and criminal court process. There are several organizations which offer FREE legal assistance to victims of trafficking.
FBI or US Attorney’s Office
The United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (Criminal Division) has the primary enforcement responsibility for trafficking crimes. It works closely with the FBI, US Attorneys Offices, and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section to investigate and prosecute cases of trafficking in persons and worker exploitation.
Social Services Provider/Case Manager
A social service provider can help with crisis intervention, physical and mental health issues, housing issues, and management of the victim’s case. Some organizations can only assist with case management after the person has been certified as a victim of trafficking by a federal agency. Since certification can take a long time and is not guaranteed, multiple social service providers may need to be contacted to meet a victim’s immediate needs.
Interpreters: It is important to speak with a victim in her/his own language. Contact information for interpreters may be obtained from the following sources (Information in this manual is accurate as of April 2007):
North Carolina Court System, Administrative Office of the Courts The North Carolina Courts maintain an online Directory of Certified Court Interpreters of Spanish and Non-Certified Interpreters of Other Languages which contains the names of certified Spanish court interpreters and non-certified interpreters of other languages working in North Carolina. This directory can be accessed via the internet. For a list of state certified interpreters in Spanish, go to: State-Certified Court Interpreters in Spanish
For a list of non-certified interpreters of languages other than Spanish, go to: Non-Certified Court Interpreters Other than Spanish
International House: 322 Hawthorne Lane Charlotte, NC 28204 (704) 333-8099 www.ihclt.org. The International House website lists available interpreters in many languages. Although most of these interpreters are located in Mecklenburg County, they often can interpret for agencies over the phone.
LanguageLine: 1-877-886-3885. LanguageLine allows consumers to set up an account for “pay as you go” interpretation
services. They employ highly skilled interpreters who can be connected to you within minutes. LanguageLine has access to interpreters who interpret over the phone 24 hours a day.
Legal Assistance: It is important that the victim of trafficking be given access to an attorney to ensure that she/he has legal representation and protection throughout the certification process, immigration relief process, and criminal court process. The following agencies provide free legal assistance to victims of trafficking:
Legal Aid of North Carolina, Battered Immigrant Project: (assists victims of sex trafficking throughout the state) Rona Karacaova, BIP Coordinator, (704) 971-2589 Jennifer Stuart, BIP Attorney, (919) 856-3196
Legal Aid of North Carolina, Farmworker Unit: (assists victims of labor trafficking throughout the state) 224 S. Dawson St. Raleigh, NC 27601. Mary Lee Hall, FWU Director, (919) 856-2180; Lori Elmer, FWU Attorney (919) 856-2180. FWU Client Line: 1-800-777-5869
North Carolina Justice Center, Immigrants Legal Assistance Project: (assists victims throughout the state). 224 S. Dawson St., Raleigh, NC 27601. Attracta Kelly, ILAP Director, (919) 856-2185; Kaci Bishop, ILAP attorney, (919)-856-3195
Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Immigrant Justice Project: (assists victims in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, and Union counties) 1431 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28204. Hannah Little, IJP Director, (704) 971-2610; IOP Spanish Intake Line: 1-800-247-1931
North Carolina Justice Center, Eastern Carolina immIgrants’ Rights Project: 224 S. Dawson St., Raleigh, NC 27611. Kate Woomer-Deters, Attorney (919)-861-2072
INVESTIGATION OF A TRAFFICKING SITUATION AND/OR PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division (Criminal Division) has the primary enforcement responsibility for involuntary servitude and peonage statutes. It works closely with the FBI, U.S. Attorneys Offices, and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section to investigate and prosecute cases of trafficking in persons and worker exploitation. The Civil Rights Division also funds and staffs the national complaint line for reporting trafficking crimes.
George E. B. Holding, 310 New Bern Avenue, Suite 800, Terry Sanford Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse Raleigh, NC 27601-1461
Anna Mills S. Wagoner P.O. Box 1858 Greensboro, NC 27402, Federal Building, Suite 726 Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Gretchen C. F. Shappert, 227 West Trade Street, Suite 1650 Charlotte, NC 28202, Room 233, U.S. Courthouse 100 Otis Street, Asheville, NC 28801. Phone: (919) 856-4530; (336) 333-5351; (336) 631-5268; (704) 344-6222; (828) 271-4661. Fax: (919) 856-4487; (336) 333-5438; (336) 631-5308; (704) 344-6629; (828) 271-4670
Federal Bureau of Investigation
FBI Charlotte Office: (Headquarter office for North Carolina—can connect people to local FBI offices), 400 South Tryon Street, Suite 900, Charlotte, NC 28285. Contact person: SA John Price 24-hour number: (704) 377-9200
CASE MANAGEMENT AND ASSISTANCE WITH BASIC NEEDS
Lutheran Family Services Carolinas, 112 Cox Ave., Raleigh, NC 27605. Phone: (919) 861-2806. Fax: (919) 832-9876. Contact person: Allison Glendinning, Immigration Counselor
LFS Carolinas provides case management services and financial assistance to precertified and certified victims of trafficking in North and South Carolina. LFS is able to provide financial assistance for basic client needs such as housing, food, medical care, and mental health services. LFS case managers are culturally sensitive and speak a variety of languages. The project is funded by a subcontract with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
North Carolina Refugee Program, Division of Social Services. Contact person: Lynne Little (919) 733-4458 x270, Marlene Myers (919) 733-4650
North Carolina Refugee Program receives funding from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and contracts with non-profits within the state to provide services to ORR certified victims of human trafficking. The Office of Refugee Programs may be able to refer you to a local agency that assists certified victims in your area.
Salvation Army National Trafficking Consultant (703) 399-6644
World Relief Refugee Services of North Carolina: 2029 North Centennial Street, High Point, NC 27262. Phone: (336) 887-9007/Fax: (336) 887-5245. Contact person: Mark Kadel
World Relief has some funding to assist victims of trafficking with basic needs such as shelter and food.
North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault: 183 Wind Chime Court, Suite 100, Raleigh, NC 27615. Contact person: Lynne Walter, Prevention Education Coordinator (919) 870-8881, 1-888-737-CASA
The North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA) is the statewide coalition working to end sexual violence through education, advocacy, and legislation. NCCASA can also refer victims of trafficking to local rape crisis centers across North Carolina. The services local rape crisis centers offer include, but are not limited to individual and group counseling, court accompaniment, education and awareness work, hospital accompaniment for forensic medical exams (i.e. rape kits), 24-hour hot lines, and 24-hour response to instances of sexual violence through Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART). Some local rape crisis centers may also be able to assist with immediate needs, such as temporary housing.
North Carolina Victim Assistance Network: PO Box 28557, Raleigh, NC 27611-8557. Contact person: Garrietta Proutey (919) 831-2857, 1-800-348-5068
The North Carolina Victim Assistance Network (NCVAN) promotes the rights and needs of crime victims by educating North Carolina’s citizens and public policy leaders about the devastating impact that crime has on society. Serving their members as a statewide network, they provide information and referrals on over 1,500 victim service and criminal justice agencies, victim assistance programs, and advocacy groups.
North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence: 123 W. Main Street, Suite 700 Durham, NC 27701. Contact person: Ivonne Ortiz (919) 956-9124, 1-888-232-9124
The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCCADV) works to create social change through the elimination of the institutional, cultural, and ndividual oppressions that contribute to domestic violence. NCCADV can refer victims of trafficking to domestic violence programs across North Carolina, and the services these programs offer include emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, food and clothing assistance, and assistance locating housing.
Please note that these are sample questions. Not every question may be applicable to the case you encounter.
Traveling to the United States/to the job destination
- How did you hear about this job?
- What kind of job did you think you would be doing? What kind of work were you told you would be doing?
- Were you told you would have to pay money up front if you wanted the job? Could you keep your passport and travel documents with you when you traveled?
- During your trip here, could you stop to use the bathroom when you needed/ wanted to?
- How were you treated during the trip?
- Was the vehicle you traveled in overcrowded? Was your money taken away from you?
- Were you allowed to take breaks from work when you needed/wanted to?
- Did you have any days off from work? How many?
- Did your employers take part of your paycheck? Why did they tell you they were taking part of your paycheck? How did your boss treat everyone?
- Did you have your own room to sleep in?
- Did you have a bed to sleep on?
- Did you have to sleep on the floor?
- Could you leave when you needed/wanted to?
- Did you have to pay for where you were living? How much per day, week, month?
- Could you go shopping by yourself? Or did you have a chaperone?
- Did you have to ask to get food?
- Were the doors and windows always locked?
- Did someone guard the house? Did this person have weapons? Were there bars on the windows?
- Was there heating and air conditioning?
- Were there showers or bathtubs?
- Were you allowed to drive? Or did someone else always drive? Could you call anyone you wanted to call?
- Could you send and receive mail?
- Did your employer ever threaten you? What kind of threats did your employer use?
- Did your employer ever say anything to discourage people from leaving? What did your employer say?
- Were people afraid to leave? Why?
- Did your employer say bad things about Americans? What did you employer say?
- Did your employer say bad things about the police? What did your employer say?
- Did your employer say immigration would deport you if you tried to leave?
- Did your employer tell you bad things would happen to your family if you tried to leave?
- Was anyone ever hit, beat up, or abused?
- Was anyone ever hit, beat up, or abused for working slowly? Was anyone ever threatened that they would be hit, beat up, or abused if they worked slowly?
- Was anyone ever hit, beat up, or abused for trying to escape? Was anyone ever threatened that they would be hit, beat up, or abused if they tried to escape?
- Was anyone ever killed for trying to escape?
- Was anyone ever raped or sexually assaulted for working too slowly? Was anyone ever raped or sexually assaulted for trying to escape?
Control of Documents
- Once you arrived in the United States, were you given your identity documents? Who keeps your travel, identity, and other important documents?
The following is a brief safety assessment to help determine the immediate risks and safety concerns faced by potential victims:
- Do you have any concerns about talking with me?
- Do you think that talking to me could pose any problems for you, your family, or your friends? If yes, what types of problems?
- Do you feel this is a good time and place to discuss your experience? If not, is there a better time and place?
Excerpts from : NC Human Trafficking Task Force Manual