November 10, 2010
National Human Trafficking Resource Center Newsletter
Welcome! This monthly newsletter is a new tool created by the NHTRC to share relevant and timely information and events with the anti-trafficking field.
Each issue will include:
- Featured events, including conferences, webinars, and training opportunities
- Resources and training tools for practitioners
- New hotline trends and monthly vignettes
- A call for response from the anti-trafficking field
At the close of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are highlighting the relationship between domestic violence and human trafficking--particularly in the context of inter-familial trafficking and intimate partner trafficking.
The NHTRC has developed a diagram that illustrates the methods of control and manipulation used by traffickers to keep victims in situation of forced labor and commercial sex. This diagram, inspired by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Program's Duluth Model, is posted below.
You can read more about the intersections of human trafficking and domestic violence on Polaris Project's North Star Blog.
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Through the State Department distribution of the Know Your Rights campaign pamphlets to non-immigrant visa holders entering the United States, the NHTRC has seen increased call volume from a number of different foreign born visa holders experiencing diverse types of exploitation.
The hotline receives many calls from H-2A and H-2B workers, and also noticed a large influx of calls from J-1 visa holders. From January 2009 to October 2010, the NHTRC received over 250 calls referencing the J-1 visa program. Over one third of the callers were identified as potential victims of labor exploitation, and over one quarter of the callers were Russian speakers. Callers were often recruited to work as lifeguards and in summer camps, au pair programs, and the hospitality industry.
J-1 visa program participants are often younger students who are traveling abroad for the first time often with limited resources and diverse levels of English language capacity. Participants are particularly vulnerable to labor trafficking, given the presence of third party agents who often arrange housing, transportation, and job placement in the U.S. Due to these and other factors, the J-1 visa program creates an environment ripe for exploitation and trafficking by employers and recruiters who target these visa holders.
Callers contacting the NHTRC hotline about the J-1 visa program expressed a variety of concerns about their rights, and often identified problems with either their direct employer, visa sponsor, or both. Callers referenced various abuses, including document withholding, threats of deportation, wage and hour violations, and working conditions that were vastly different than the jobs they were recruited for.
Click here to view sample hotline calls referencing the J-1 visa program.
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This month's vignette highlights the role of schools in identifying potential trafficking victims. It also shows the linkages between sex trafficking and online forums, and the correlation between history of sexual abuse and increased vulnerability to sex trafficking.
A man called the hotline from Toledo, OH after his 14-year-old niece ran away from home. The niece had experienced sexual abuse in the past, and the man was concerned that she might be in trouble. After speaking with his niece’s teacher, he learned that she may be involved in commercial sex under the control of a potential pimp.
The teacher had spoken with multiple students in the niece’s high school who indicated that the niece had an older boyfriend who sometimes picked her up from school. The students also directed the teacher to multiple postings advertising the niece for commercial sex on Backpage.com. The postings claimed the niece was an adult.
After trying unsuccessfully to contact his niece via cell phone, the man contacted the NHTRC hotline for advice on how to help his niece. The NHTRC reported the information to a federal anti-trafficking task force. The man called the hotline back a few days later to report that his niece had contacted him from a payphone, since the pimp monitored the niece’s cell phone. Law enforcement was called and the niece was picked up at the payphone and brought back to her home safely. With the help of the task force and local service providers, the potential victim is currently safe and receiving services, and the pimp has been arrested.
Note: Vignettes are based on hotline calls received at the NHTRC. Names, locations, and other identifying information has been changed and/or omitted to preserve the confidentiality of the populations we serve. Vignettes are meant as examples of the types of calls received by the hotline and are for informational purposes only.
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We are compiling information on the number of shelter beds in the U.S. for human trafficking victims. Once compiled, this information will be redistributed to all members of the USA-TIP listserv.
If you know of any shelters or programs that offer bed space, please fill out this form.
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