Human Trafficking
and Slavery:
Tools For An Effective Response
Presented by
Kay Buck, Executive Director
Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST)
© Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST), 2003. All Rights Reserved.
What is CAST?
• Founded in 1998 in Los Angeles
• Mission: to assist persons trafficked for the purpose
of forced labor and slavery-like practices and to work
toward ending all instances of such human rights
• Dedicated exclusively to services and advocacy for
trafficked and enslaved persons in the U.S.
• Utilize collaborative approach with government
agencies and community organizations to respond to
cases of trafficking
CAST’s Activities
• Intensive case management and comprehensive legal
assistance services for trafficked persons
• Opened first U.S. shelter for trafficked persons
• Part of Leadership Team of the Los Angeles
Metropolitan Human Trafficking Taskforce
• Local, national and international policy advocacy
• Training and technical assistance for NGOs and GOs
• Public education, outreach and community organizing
Human Trafficking
Some rough estimates of the scope of the
• In the U.S. 15-18,000 women, children and
men trafficked annually
• Two million people trafficked worldwide
• Twenty seven million people in slavery
around the world
• Nine billion dollar business
Compared to Drugs or Arms,
Human Trafficking:
• Is more profitable
• Produces continuous profits
• Involves little or no risk
Victims of Trafficking and
Violence Protection Act
• A comprehensive law
– Prevention
– Prosecution
– Protection
Human Trafficking
• “Whoever knowingly recruits, harbors,
transports, provides, or obtains by any
means, any person for labor or services in
peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude or
forced labor. . .”
US Criminal Law
• Anyone who is being manipulated or forced to
work against his/her will or provide services
for the benefit of someone else (involuntary
Three Elements of Trafficking
a person,
For the purposes of
Involuntary Servitude
Debt Bondage
Sex Trade
A woman came to see Aurelia’s mother in her Mexican village to offer Aurelia a job as a
cook in America. She promised that Aurelia would make $200 per month and could go
to school. The woman brought Aurelia into the U.S. by car and took her to a bar in
Texas. Aurelia was told she would be working in the bar and had to pay off a $7,500
debt to the owners by working as a prostitute. When Aurelia refused to do the work and
asked to go back home, the owners beat her and threatened to harm her mother if she
did not do the work.
Trafficking Vs. Smuggling
Crime or violation
against a person
Contains element of
coercion (cannot
consent to
Subsequent exploitation
and/or forced labor
Trafficked persons seen
as victims by the law
• Unauthorized border
• No coercion
• Facilitated illegal entry
of person from one
country to another
• Smuggled persons
seen as criminals by the
Modern-Day Slavery:
A Prison Without Walls
Shackles and chains have been replaced by:
• Threats of deportation
• Withholding documents
• Threats to family members in home country
• Isolation
• Verbal abuse
• Psychological coercion is often coupled with
threatened or actual physical violence and
sexual assault
Some Examples Trafficking
and Slavery
Domestic service
Criminal activity
Restaurant work
• Other informal labor
Other Examples in the U.S.
African church choir
Pacific Islander pig farmers
South American cattle herders
Asian school teachers
U.S. Citizens Can Be Victimized
Michael Allen Lee recruited homeless men from the streets of Orlando or other
cities to work in Florida's citrus fields with promises of good wages. However,
instead of the US$35 to $50 a day that workers in the citrus industry could normally
expect, Lee's workers were rarely paid more than $10 a day despite working from
dawn to dusk.
Lee would deduct the cost of food, a place to sleep and other "expenses", such as
charges for the sacks they used to collect the fruit, from their wages. One worker
had $110 deducted from his weekly wage for food and rent alone. This despite the
fact that the official charge for the bunk or mattress where they slept was $30 a
week and that they only received between $5 and $10 a day for food. Those who
complained or tried to escape were threatened with violence.
One worker, George E. Williams, did escape and went to the police. Williams had
previously been beaten unconscious by Lee, dragged to a pick up truck and taken
to another location where he was beaten again. Lee then made Williams wipe his
own blood off the walls.
Seven months after Williams' escape he and more than a dozen other workers filed
a lawsuit, with the assistance of Florida Rural Legal Services, against Lee and the
company that hired him, Beville II Inc.
Who Are Trafficked and
Enslaved Persons?
Women, children and men
Varying ages
Varying levels of education
Voluntary migrants
– Seeking to improve their situation
Why People Decide to Migrate
Civil unrest
Political persecution
Escape from genderbased discrimination
• Adventure/opportunity
Photo by J. Maillard, International Labour Organization
Why Migrants Are Vulnerable
to Human Traffickers
• Immigration laws/policies
– Demand for migrant work, but lack of safe,
legal ways to migrate
• Ethnic, religious, national discrimination
• Dependence on third parties for
information about migration
Who Are The
Human Traffickers and
• Organized crime
• Neighbors, friends, family members,
village chiefs, returnees
• Agricultural operations
• Owners of small or medium-sized
• Families (including diplomats)
How People Are Recruited
• Acquaintances or family
• Newspaper ads
• Fake employment
• Front businesses
• Word of mouth
• Abduction
Photo by J. Maillard, International Labour Organization
A Human Rights Approach
To Human Trafficking and Slavery
• Focuses on situation, needs and rights
of trafficked and enslaved persons
• Respects individual autonomy and
• Is empowering and non-judgmental
• Connects rights of the individual to
prosecution of traffickers and
NGO and Government
U.S. Attorney’s office
Federal VW coordinator
Federal public defender
DHS agents & VW
FBI agents, VW coordinator
Pre-trial Services office
State Labor Agencies
Diplomatic Security Service
Office for Victims of Crime
• Local law enforcement
• Local district attorney
• Main Department of Justice
– Civil Rights Division,
Criminal Section
• Department of Labor
• Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission
• Internal Revenue Service
• Office of Refugee
NGOs and Government: What NGOs
Can Bring To The Table
• Referrals of cases from the community
• Care for victim’s human service needs
• Coordination between agencies and victims
during criminal or civil proceedings
– Work to ensure trafficked person understands
legal processes
– Provide cultural info and language assistance
• Social and emotional support to help victim
be an effective witness or plaintiff
Identifying Trafficked Persons
Identifying Trafficked Persons
• Ways that trafficked persons are
• Guidelines for identifying whether or not
a person is “trafficked”
Finding Trafficked & Enslaved Persons
• Direct outreach
CAST Sex Trafficking Outreach Program (STOP)
NYC Task Force outreach tools
Legal Aid Foundation of LA comic strip
Coalition of Immokalee Workers community
• Education campaigns for general public
ORR “Campaign to Rescue and Restore Victims of
United Nations Public Service Announcements
• Training
Local/federal law enforcement
Community organizations
Government Agencies
Which Law Enforcement Agencies
Might Discover A Trafficked Person?
 DHS investigations,
anti-smuggling unit,
work site
enforcement unit,
asylum office,
detention center,
border patrol
 FBI civil rights or
organized crime
 Department of Labor
 Local police and
district attorney
 DOJ complaint line
 U.S. Attorney’s
 Victim Witness
 Public Defender
Countries of Origin
• Victims can be American citizens
• Whatever you look for, you will find
• Be aware of victim stereotypes
– Race, class, gender
• Language, culture and world views present significant
challenges to everyone working to identify and assist
• Consider these factors when strategizing outreach to
potential victims
Victim Encounters with
Law Enforcement
That Were Trafficking
Domestic Violence
Illegal Immigration
Wage dispute
Attempted Suicide
Informant on other criminal matter
Who Else Might Discover a
Trafficked Person?
 Community
 Good Samaritans
 Consulates or
 Other trafficked
 Witnesses
 Clinics
 Private attorneys
 Customers/clients of
the trafficked person
 Mental health
service providers
 DV advocates
Call CAST for Help!
Providing Social Services to
Survivors of Trafficking
What Range Of Services Will
Need To Be Provided?
• Trafficked and enslaved
persons have suffered
from serious physical,
psychological and
possibly sexual abuse.
• An extensive network of
culturally and
linguistically appropriate
service providers is
required to meet their
urgent and acute
• Interpretation
• Housing, food & clothing
• Medical care (emerg. &
long term) & health
Mental health care
Legal & immigration
ESL training
Independent living skills
Safety planning
Job placement &
employment education
Human rights education
Repatriation and Reintegration
• Steps:
– Obtain identification and travel documentation
– Link with NGO in country of repatriation to help
assess family situation, safety, available services,
accompany client through immigration, etc.
– Arrange for safe travel and re-entry
• Cost of plane ticket (who will pay?)
• Shipping of client personal belongings (who will pay?)
– Follow-up with client as appropriate
• Organizations that may be able to help
– International Organization for Migration
– Freedom Network Contacts
– State Dept./USAID Grantees
Challenges of Assisting Trafficked and
Enslaved Persons
Photo by J. Maillard, International Labour Organization
Lack of resources/infrastructure
Special needs population
Diverse cultures/languages
Multiple survivors
Complex legal needs
Lack of awareness and cooperation among
government and non-government agencies
New laws still being implemented
Long term clients
Lack of experience at all levels
Staff secondary trauma
Rewards of Working With Trafficked and
Enslaved Persons
• New field of victim services
• Highly motivated clients
• Assisting an “un-served”
• New laws to assist and protect
• Survivors’ justice
• This is human rights work
dedicated to protecting the most
basic right to bodily integrity and
Photo Feruzzi/Los Angeles Times
El Monte Slave Shop Workers, 1999
“I feel that I have been
reincarnated… I have gained my
CAST client

Human Trafficking: Basic Tools For An Effective Response