Since 2012, LAS has provided victim-centered and trauma-informed free legal services to survivors of human trafficking from diverse communities in the Chicago metropolitan area, through its Human Trafficking Initiative.
Starting in 2019, the Human Trafficking Initiative will expand and be able to provide services to survivors throughout Illinois on legal issues that arise as a result of their exploitation.
“LAS helped me achieve my goals in life to provide better life for my family. It was such a relief to be authorized to live and work in this wonderful country.”
– Lito, Human Trafficking Initiative client
You may have been a victim of human trafficking if you had to work, provide services, or engage in a commercial sex act because:
- Someone lied to you or tricked you about what you would doing
- Someone said they would or did hurt you, your friends, or your family
- Someone said you owed them money and to pay them back you had to work where they told you
- Someone took and kept your passport, immigration papers, or other form of identification
- Someone said they would report you to immigration services or have you deported or arrested unless you worked where they told you or participated in the sexual act
- You were not able to leave
OR you knew or believed if you didn’t perform the work or engage in the commercial sex act, any of the following would happen:
- You or your family or your friends would be hurt
- You or your family or your friends would be confined to a trunk, room, or other small space
- You would lose shelter or access to food or protection or anything else you felt you needed
- You would be reported to immigration services and deported
Trafficking survivors face an array of needs and problems as a result of their exploitation. It is the goal of the Human Trafficking Initiative to ensure that survivors have all of their legal and social service needs met through a combination of in-house services, referrals to partner agencies, and leveraging pro-bono resources. The legal needs of survivors vary significantly and often survivors of a multitude of legal needs. Common types of legal matters LAS assists with include, but are not limited to:
- Assisting survivors report the crime to law enforcement and ensure their rights are protected in any investigation or prosecution
- Securing work authorization and immigration relief
- Reuniting clients with family members
- Securing identification documents
- Clearing up records from arrests and convictions that resulted from their exploitation
- Filing claims to collect wages and damages owed to clients
Human Trafficking Initiative in the Legal Community
- LAS has relationships with a number of exceptional law firms in the Chicago area, who as a part of the Human Trafficking Initiative, have agreed to volunteer their skills, expertise and resources and co-counsel cases with LAS to represent survivors of human trafficking.
- LAS is part of the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force (CCHTTF), which brings law enforcement and social and legal service agencies together to work on human trafficking cases.
- Helped clients report to law enforcement and be supported throughout the process
- Assisted stabilizing clients through applying and receiving T-visas, work authorization, and green cards
- Reunited clients with their spouses and children through applying for immigration benefits for family members and connecting them with services to them to be able to come to the US
- Informed clients and community members about their rights and ways to enforce them
- In FY19, LAS conducted training and outreach events reaching over 3,691 people
TO REQUEST SERVICES
If you are not sure whether the Human Trafficking Initiative can help you; please call and mention the Human Trafficking Initiative. We have access to interpreters in 200+ languages. Se habla Español. All communications are confidential.
National Human Trafficking Hotline
1 (888) 373-7888 | humantraffickinghotline.org
Did you know? In 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline received 2,676 calls from victims and survivors.