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The Human Trafficking Legal Center Launches Harriet Tubman Fellowship for Labor Trafficking Survivors



WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Human Trafficking Legal Center is thrilled to launch the Harriet Tubman Fellowship. The Fellowship is inspired by Harriet Tubman, the courageous American abolitionist who helped more than 300 people escape from slavery.

Inspired by Tubman’s legacy of freedom, the Harriet Tubman Fellowship will provide support for trafficking survivors as they pursue individualized career training. The goal is to support these survivors as they seek long-term economic opportunities and leadership positions in the public and private sectors.

Read more: Harriet Tubman Fellowship Press Release

House overwhelmingly passes Fredrick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act



In a landslide vote of 414-11, the House of Representatives passed comprehensive legislation authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act for five years and strengthen and expand successful anti-trafficking programs to bolster the fight against modern-day slavery.

“This critical legislation reauthorizes funding for FY2024 through 2028—a total of five years—to continue current year enacted appropriation and authorization levels to enhance programs, strengthen laws, and add accountability,” said Smith, who authored the landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and four subsequent anti-trafficking laws.

Named in honor of the renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Smith’s bill—the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act (HR 5856)—now moves to the Senate, where it is expected to garner broad consensus.

You can view the press release and video by clicking on the link provided here.

Attorney General Bonta Urges Congress to Offer Funding for Crime Victims



Attorney General Bonta has joined a coalition of attorneys general representing 32 states and territories urging Congress to provide critical support and services to victims and survivors of crime by taking steps to increase the Crime Victims Fund (Fund) with short-term, bridge funding. The balance of the Fund, which was established under the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA), has decreased significantly in recent years. It is projected that compared to 2023 funding, the 2024 funding for victim services grants will be 41% or $700 million lower nationwide year over year.

“We must take immediate action to replenish the Crime Victims Fund to prevent the closure of numerous victim service programs across the nation,” said Attorney General Bonta.

Read more here.

CAST Nominated for The For Freedom Impact Award



Cast has been nominated for The For Freedom Impact Award, which highlights organizations that Freedom United has partnered closely with on modern slavery campaigns in 2023, raising awareness and securing significant changes for a world more resilient to modern slavery.

Voting is now open to the public  and will continue through January 25th. The winner at the end of the month. Vote for Cast here.

Blumenthal & Hawley Introduce New Bipartisan Legislation Ending Forced Arbitration in Human Trafficking



On National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced new legislation to hold human traffickers accountable by giving victims of trafficking crimes the opportunity to seek justice through the courts.

“Forcing victims of modern-day slavery into a rigged arbitration system deprives them of one of the most powerful tools they have to hold their traffickers accountable: access to justice,” Blumenthal said. “This narrowly crafted and bipartisan legislation will make human traffickers pay for their crimes.”

Read the press release: Forced Arbitration Press Release

Saving Critical Services for Crime Victims: An Op-Ed by Cast CEO Kay Buck



The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) supports state and local programs aimed providing services to victims of crime, including those who have been trafficked, through the Crime Victims Fund (CVF). Unlike other government programs funded by taxpayer dollars, the CVF is financed by fines and fees collected from the prosecution of white-collar crimes at the federal level. However, this year, the VOCA program is facing a significant shortfall of $700 million, which will directly impact the ability of victims of crime to access the much-needed services they require. Read Kay’s Op-Ed on VOCA funding in Capitol Weekly here.

Are You a Survivor of Human Trafficking?



Cast helps people who have been forced, threatened, or tricked into any kind of work, including commercial sex, by providing legal and social services.

You could be a human trafficking survivor if… (READ MORE)

FREE Cast Resources Available to Media, Policymakers, Community Members and Philanthropists



CAST is a go-to resource for media, policymakers, community members and the philanthropic community to access information about human trafficking. Check out our Resources page here.

 

 

Measuring the Impact of Cast Services Over Time



Human trafficking can have numerous lasting impacts on survivors’ lives. These include mental health impacts, such as depression and PTSD; physical health impacts, such as chronic pain, injuries, and exposure to sexually transmitted infections; housing instability or homelessness; and legal issues related to immigration, child custody, eviction, and vacatur or expungement of criminal records.

Anti-trafficking organizations are tasked with identifying and addressing these needs. This can be a considerable challenge, often requiring a combination of direct support and referrals and carried out while navigating complex systems and funding requirements. A related challenge concerns impact. Put simply, how do we know whether our services are working? What counts as a meaningful improvement in clients’ lives?

Read more in our briefing note: Measuring the Impact of Services Over Time

Forced Criminality Interactive Dashboard



Cast was selected as one of 25 organizations across the U.S. to leverage data and technology to advance racial equity in policing, prosecution, and prevention. This initiative was supported by the Urban Institute and Microsoft Justice Reform. Our project was specifically focused on ‘Forced Criminality’, which refers to the act of traffickers forcing their victims to commit crimes such as theft, leading to criminal records that can jeopardize their future and well-being. Cast has created an interactive dashboard that features an analysis of our client data, guidelines for practitioners who are interested in collecting such data, and free resources. We’ve also included an accompanying document for social service providers below.

Practitioner Guidelines – Documenting Forced Criminality