Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program
Established in 2001, Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program (ATP) is one of the largest service providers for survivors of human trafficking in the United States. The program’s services are open to women and men, transgender individuals, and children who have been compelled to work against their will. Human trafficking commonly occurs in areas such as domestic servitude, health care, manufacturing, construction, agriculture, food service, beauty salons, and the commercial sex industry. Since its founding, the Anti-Trafficking Program has assisted more than 500 survivors of human trafficking from over 60 countries.
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a gross violation of human rights. It is the illegal trade in human beings through recruitment or abduction, by means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of forced labor, debt bondage or sexual exploitation. Human trafficking is also referred to as modern day slavery. Trafficked persons are often forced, through sexual, physical and/or psychological violence, to perform work under slavery-like conditions. Of the estimated 700,000 to 2 million people who are trafficked globally each year, thousands are trafficked to or within the United States. New York City has been identified as a hub for human trafficking. The city is a logical place for trafficking to occur because of its large population of immigrants, its close proximity to major international ports, and its concentration of many formal and informal industries where severe labor rights violations can go undetected. Human trafficking does not always involve crossing an international border. Safe Horizon’s Streetwork Project works closely with the Anti-Trafficking Program to provide services to trafficked youth including United States citizens and lawful permanent residents.
A Unique Approach
Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program maintains a two-tiered approach to fighting the epidemic of human trafficking. First, we provide an intervention model that combines intensive case management with the provision of legal services, as well as referrals for other supports. Second, we recognize that client services alone will not turn the tide on human trafficking. In response, our Anti-Trafficking Program also offers a range of services including education, awareness raising, technical assistance, training and advocacy to foster systemic change.
Comprehensive Model of Service Delivery
Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program delivers services that are survivor-centered, trauma-informed and rights-based by providing intensive case management and legal services to survivors of trafficking. The program has proven its capability and effectiveness in delivering a continuum of direct services to a large and varied population of trafficked persons:
- Culturally and linguistically sensitive services
- Shelter and housing referrals
- Supportive counseling and empowerment groups
- Linkages to other services
- Assistance with material needs
- Facilitation of access to public benefits
- Legal assistance
- Advocacy through the criminal justice system
The Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program provides comprehensive legal services to survivors of human trafficking, including immigration assistance, criminal justice advocacy, and affirmative civil litigation. Survivors often require a wide range of legal services in order to stabilize and move beyond their victimization. ATP’s attorneys are among only a few in the country dedicated to working on human trafficking issues full-time. Representing survivors of human trafficking is complex, and it is also a lengthy process. Some cases may take as long as six or seven years to reach a resolution. Legal representation for foreign nationals demands a holistic understanding of criminal, civil, and immigration legal systems, and how they may intersect for a survivor. It also requires well-developed working relationships with service providers, law enforcement, and government agencies.
The program’s expert legal staff conduct a full assessment to identify each survivor’s specific legal needs and goals, including immigration relief; provision of rights-based education; and advocacy for the duration of the criminal justice process at the federal and state levels. Program attorneys also work with the client to explore possible civil remedies and wage and hour claims and discrimination suits in state and federal court, and with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Labor to ensure that the client is presented with all possible remedies available to them under the law. Each survivor is an active participant in the development of his or her service plan, which is updated throughout the attorney-client relationship. Through ATP, survivors have an advocate on their side as they apply for immigration remedies and work with law enforcement throughout the criminal justice process, including investigation, prosecution, and sentencing of their trafficker.
We recognize the changing needs of clients and the value of consistent feedback and direct involvement. With this in mind, ATP is facilitating the participation of current and former clients in our survivor-led advocacy group, Voices of Hope. This group of survivors is representative of the diversity of our client population and includes survivors of both sex and labor trafficking from Benin, Chile, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Nigeria, and the Philippines. Voices of Hope provides a space for members to support one another through building a community, taking on various anti-trafficking projects of their choosing, as well as informing our work by providing feedback about our program and services.
In response to clients stating that they wanted to learn more about the field and how they could be involved, several clients joined ATP staff in 2012 on a trip to Washington, DC, where they attended a Congressional hearing, joining other client advocates to speak out about human trafficking. Many group members have provided the direct perspective of trafficking survivors at conferences around the country.
National Training and Technical Assistance
The Anti-Trafficking Program responds to client needs and emerging issues in the field by developing an array of best practice materials. ATP can provide tailored trainings and presentations to meet the needs of many audiences.
- Since 2004, Safe Horizon has provided anti-trafficking education to more than 6,500 professionals throughout the United States. We have partnered with the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Freedom Network Training Institute, the Intergovernmental Institute on Research, the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, the New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, and many other organizations.
- The program has trained more than 7,800 first responders on ways to identify and assist trafficked persons. Audience members include law enforcement, social service providers and others.
Safe Horizon ATP works in partnership with our local, national and international networks to advocate for humane and responsive policies towards trafficked persons and to pursue new research and policy agendas that will lead to improved protection for survivors and the eventual eradication of this crime.
Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program advocates for better laws, policies and practices to protect the rights of survivors of trafficking and help them seek justice for the crimes they have suffered. Our advocacy efforts are rooted in the experiences of our clients and our direct service staff. By ensuring that the voices of these fundamental stakeholders help to shape our efforts, we also ensure that our work is truly beneficial to the people we serve and does not result in unintended detrimental consequences.
Safe Horizon works with elected officials and government agencies at the local, state and federal levels to raise awareness of human trafficking. This approach aims to increase the political will of policy makers to ensure that adequate human, technical and financial resources are employed to combat human trafficking and support survivors of this crime. Safe Horizon promotes policies and interventions through which survivors are afforded the right to: accept or decline assistance; comprehensive, survivor-centered services that meet their individual needs; culturally-competent services; necessary reproductive health care; decide whether or not to report the crime to law enforcement; exercise victim witness rights; sue their trafficker; and participate in anti-trafficking leadership efforts. We also work with the public and private sectors to promote development of policies and practices that address the root causes of these crimes.
Sharing Best Practices around the Globe
The Anti-Trafficking Program also focuses on the global aspects of trafficking by working with advocates and law enforcement from around the world.
- Through the U.S. Department of State International Visitors Program, the Anti-Trafficking Program staff has conducted informational exchanges with over 600 dignitaries and officials from every region of the world. Key visitors include federal level prosecutors, leaders of social service agencies and members of national legislatures.
- The Anti-Trafficking Program was selected as a civil society organization participating in the Organization of American States meeting of National Authorities on Human Trafficking held in Venezuela in March 2006.
- In 2005 and 2010, Safe Horizon was the U.S. representative at the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women consultancy meeting for human trafficking social service providers held in Bangkok.
Safe Horizon collaborates with other agencies working on human trafficking issues and has taken leadership roles in building coalitions with advocates across the country and in New York State. Safe Horizon is a co-founder of the Freedom Network (USA), the Freedom Network Training Institute, and the New York Anti-Trafficking Network. Safe Horizon is a member of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST), the Global Alliance against Traffic in Women (GAATW), and the New York City Anti-Trafficking Task Force.
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please call the Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking Program at 718.943.8652 (Monday-Friday, 9-5). After hours, call Safe Horizon’s 24 hour toll-free Hotline at 800.621.HOPE (4673) or call the National Trafficking Resource Center at 888.373.7888.
For technical assistance, program information, and general inquiries contact the ATP at email@example.com.