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Human Trafficking: How to Get Help

Human Trafficking degrades and victimizes countless individuals every year through forced labor, sexual exploitation, and other forms of servitude. Victims are often physically abused, psychologically coerced, and fearful of reporting their abuse to authorities.

Trafficked individuals are forced, tricked, or coerced to work in a variety of jobs or in the sex industry.  These victims are often emotionally and economically dependent upon their abusers, and remain silent as their worlds grow smaller and more dangerous. Along with our partners in law enforcement and the advocate community, we’ve made it easier for trafficked individuals to report crime and obtain services.

Where does human trafficking occur?
Human trafficking occurs in our own city, and can occur in any neighborhood. Victims may live and work among us as domestic servants, restaurant workers, and workers in the commercial sex industry (such as massage parlors, strip bars, or escort services).

Can a U.S. citizen be the victim of human trafficking?
Yes. Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking, regardless of citizenship. Both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens can be victims. There is no requirement that a trafficking victim crossed any city, state, national, or international border. Trafficking can even be by a victim’s own family members.

Common ways Traffickers maintain control:
•    Debt – requiring the victim to pay off a debt.
•    Documents – taking the victim’s legal papers and documents.
•    Deportation – threatening to report the victim to immigration authorities.
•    Family – threatening to harm the victim’s friends and family.
•    Drugs – providing the victim drugs to make him/her more compliant.
•    Abuse – abusing the victim physically and/or sexually.

Examples of Sex Trafficking:
International Case:

Lee is a 17 year-old girl who lived in a small town in China. Smugglers in China promised Lee that they would bring her to New York and find her a job in a nail salon in exchange for $50,000, which she could pay back from her wages. Once in New York, the traffickers took Lee’s passport and other identification and told her she had to work in a brothel in order to repay her debt. She was told that if she refused, she would be reported to immigration authorities and that traffickers in China would harm her family.

Traffickers often use a combination of methods to maintain control over their victims.  Here, the traffickers used deception, debt bondage, document seizure, and threats to force her into prostitution. The traffickers also attempted to prevent her from speaking to the authorities by threatening deportation.

Domestic Case:  
Laura is a 15 year-old girl who lives in Manhattan. Her mother’s boyfriend sexually abused her. When Laura told her mother what had happened, her mother threw her out. Not having anywhere else to go, Laura went to the Port Authority where she was approached by a man in his 30s. He told Laura she was beautiful and that he would take care of her as her boyfriend. After they were living together, he told Laura that they needed money and that prostitution was the only way to earn it. Before she was prostituted for the first time, the man gave Laura cocaine to “take the edge off.” From then on Laura was required to give all of the money she made to this man. If she refused to be prostituted on a particular night, the man would hit her and threaten to tell her family that she was a prostitute.

Domestic sex traffickers often prey on “at-risk” children. These are children whom have unstable family lives and have often been the victims of sexual and physical abuse. Domestic sex traffickers recruit by making false promises, providing drugs, or utilizing other enticements. Once involved with the trafficker, the victim is prevented from leaving through psychological and physical coercion.

What happens if a victim comes forward?
Victims often do not tell anyone about their situation because they are afraid that the trafficker will follow through with his or her threats, or they fear being arrested and deported. In reality, trafficking victims may be eligible for both financial and immigration assistance from the State and Federal governments.

A victim of human trafficking may be entitled to assistance such as:
•    Immigration relief
•    Housing
•    Mental health treatment
•    Legal services
•    Health care

What can I do?
I am a victim.

If you are victim of Human Trafficking it is important for you to know that there are alternatives and people to help you.  If you are in danger or need an immediate response, please call 911.  If you are not in immediate danger you can also call the New York County District Attorney’s Office’s Human Trafficking Referral Hotline at 212-335-3400.

I think someone is a victim.
Victims of human trafficking are often in plain sight. They may be providing you services or interacting with the public in some way. If you believe that someone may be the victim of human trafficking it is important that you try to get her help. If you believe the victim is in immediate danger please call 911.  If you have a suspicion of human trafficking please call the Human Trafficking Referral Tipline at 212-335-3400.

HOW TO CONTACT US:
 New York County District Attorney’s Office Human Trafficking Program
80 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013
212-335-3400 (Human Trafficking Referral Hotline)

USEFUL NUMBERS:

City Bar Justice Center • Immigrant Women & Children Project
42 W. 44th Street, New York, NY 10036
Telephone: 212-382-4711 • Fax: 212-354-7438
Website: www.citybarjusticecenter.org
Special Populations: Immigrants, Minors, Sex Trafficking, Labor Trafficking
Services Provided: Community Education/Training, Immigration, Legal Services, Referrals, Trafficking Victim Services

Covenant House
Telephone: 800-999-9999 • TTY: 800-999-9915 • Fax: 212-989-9098
Website: www.covenanthouse.org
Services Provided: Crisis Counseling, Emergency Housing (boys and girls ages 18-20, and ages 16-18 if ACS is contacted)

Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS)
201 W. 148th street, Ground Floor, New York, NY 10039
Telephone: 212-926-8089 • Fax: 212-491-2696
Website: www.gems-girls.org
Services Provided: Community Education/Training, Court/Police Accompaniment, Crisis Counseling, Domestic Violence (General), Emergency Assistance/Transportation, Job Training, Long Term Counseling, Referrals, Trafficking Victim Services

New York Asian Women’s Center • Project Free
39 Bowery PMB 375, New York, NY 10002
Telephone: 212-732-0054 x133 • Fax: 212-587-5731 • Hotline: 1-888-888-7702
Website: www.nyawc.org
Languages: Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin), Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Laos, Japanese, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali
Services Provided: Community Education/Training, Court/Police Accompaniment, Crisis Counseling, Domestic Violence (General), Immigration, Emergency Assistance/Transportation, Health Services, Long Term Counseling, Public Assistance, Referrals, Shelter/Housing Assistance, Emergency Housing (Adult and Children), Stalking, Trafficking Victim Services

Safe Horizon • Anti-Trafficking Program
50 Court Street, 8th Floor, Brooklyn, NY, 11201
Telephone: 718-943-8631 • Fax: 718- 943-8653 • Hotline: 800-621-4673 (HOPE)
Website: www.safehorizon.org
Special Populations: Female Victims, Male Victims, Immigrants, Sex Trafficking, Labor Trafficking
Services Provided: Community Education, Court/Police Accompaniment, Crisis Counseling, Domestic Violence, Immigration, English as a Second Language Classes, Emergency Assistance/Transportation, Health Services, HIV/AIDS (Referral), Job Training (Referral), Legal Services, Long Term Counseling, Public Assistance (Referral), Referrals, Sexual Assault, Shelter/Housing Assistance (Referral), Emergency Housing (Adult and Children), Stalking, Trafficking Victims Services

Sanctuary for Families • Immigration Intervention Project
110 Wall Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10038
Telephone: 212-349-6009 • Fax: 212-566-0344
Website: www.sanctuaryforfamilies.org
Languages: Over 35 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and French.
Special Populations: Domestic Violence, Trafficking Transgender, and Immigrant Victims
Services Provided: Community Education, Crisis Counseling, Domestic Violence (General), Immigration, English as a Second Language, Emergency Assistance/Transportation, Job Training, Legal Services, Long Term Counseling, Public Assistance, Referrals, Sexual Assault, Shelter/Housing Assistance, Emergency Housing (Families), Trafficking Victim Services, Emergency Food and Clothing, Advocacy

Sex Workers Project / Urban Justice Center
123 William Street, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10038
Telephone: 646-602-5617 • Fax: 210-533-4598
Website: www.sexworkersproject.org
Special Populations: Female Victims, Male Victims, Transgender Victims, Immigrants, Sex Trafficking, Labor Trafficking
Services Provided: Community Education/Training, Court/Police Accompaniment, Domestic Violence (General), Immigration, Legal Services, Long Term Counseling, Referrals, Trafficking Victim Services

New York City Mayor’s Office – Let’s End Human Trafficking
Website:  http://home2.nyc.gov/html/endht/html/home/home.shtml
Services Provided:  Information and other resources about human trafficking

Please note this resource list is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a recommendation of any of the specific services provided by the programs. This brochure does not list every human trafficking resource available in New York City.