Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the practice of exploiting adults and children in conditions of sexual and labor servitude. It is often referred to as “modern slavery,” because human trafficking victims are often forced, through sexual, physical and/or psychological violence, to perform work under slavery-like conditions.

Traffickers use a variety of coercive methods to control their victims, including luring their victims with false promises, withholding identification, or travel documents, using or threatening to use violence against the individual and/or their family, paying very little or not paying at all for work, and sometimes demanding that the victim repay them for having provided shelter or food.

Everyone deserves fair wages and safe working conditions!

Girl in corner with someone handing money to another person

Individuals who are undocumented can be more vulnerable to certain types of human trafficking. It’s important to know that regardless of your immigration status, all people that work in the United States have the right to be paid at least the minimum wage. They have the right to a safe and healthy workplace, and not to be forced or tricked to stay at a job against their will. All people that work in the United States have the right to keep their passport and other identification documents in their possession, and the right to report abuses without retaliation.

Who Does It Affect The Most?

Source International Labor Organization (ILO)

Gender of Victims

Jobs Categories of Victims

Migrant workers and indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to forced labor. 

Globally, 3.8 million adults are trafficked for forced sexual exploitation and 1 million children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation.

Young boy being held against his will with hands over his mouth
Chain cargo train door with two hands reaching out

What Does Human Trafficking Have To Do With Domestic Violence?

It’s important to acknowledge that there is a significant overlap between human trafficking and domestic violence. There is a clear similarity in the pattern of behaviors that abusers and traffickers use to maintain power and control over their victims. Trafficking that occurs within a romantic relationship is called intimate partner trafficking. This happens when an abuser compels their partner, by force or coercion, to carry out forced labor, involuntary servitude, or to engage in commercial sex acts. Even outside of intimate partner relationships, trafficking victims often live with their trafficker and may be subjected to physical abuse, manipulation, and the same methods of control that victims of domestic violence are subjected to.

If you believe that you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner trafficking, or experiencing trafficking at the hands of a family member, support is available. Please call our 24-hour hotline at 860.763.4542 to speak with an advocate who can help you safety plan and discuss your options. 

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.

If you are concerned about yourself or someone that you know experiencing trafficking, contact the US National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888, or

text BEFREE to 233733.

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services

According to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, they administer two immigration benefits that encourage victims to come forward and work with law enforcement and other certifying agencies.

T Visa

T nonimmigrant status, also known as the T visa, is for victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons. Victims can remain and work in the United States for up to four years once granted T nonimmigrant status. T nonimmigrant status may be extended beyond four years in limited circumstances; victims can also apply for a Green Card, also known as lawful permanent residency, if they meet certain requirements.

U Visa

U nonimmigrant status, also known as the U visa, is for victims of certain qualifying criminal activities, including domestic violence, sexual assault, hate crimes, human trafficking, involuntary servitude, and certain other serious offenses. Victims can remain and work in the United States for up to four years once granted U nonimmigrant status. U nonimmigrant status may be extended beyond four years in limited circumstances; victims can also apply for a Green Card, also known as lawful permanent residency, if they meet certain requirements.

It’s important to know that eligibility for both T and U visas generally requires the victim to assist or cooperate with law enforcement in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of human trafficking or qualifying criminal activity. For T visas, there are some exceptions and exemptions to this requirement where the victim was under 18 years of age at the time of victimization or suffers physical or psychological trauma. For U visas, there are some exceptions and special rules for those under 16 years of age and victims who are incompetent or incapacitated. For more information, refer to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services website.

What Can I Do For Myself?

Abuse happens in all types of relationships. If you are being abused, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are some steps you can take to increase your safety and/or make leaving the abusive situation easier.  If you need to talk to someone about it, help is available. Our 24-hour hotline number is 860.763.4542

Don't Retaliate

This can result in you being arrested. If things are escalating, separate yourself from the other person, whenever possible. Think about your support system. Is there a friend or a relative you can call or go visit? Once you feel physically safer, calling the hotline to speak with an advocate may also be helpful. Our hotline number is 860.763.4542. Please remember that if you are afraid for your safety, it’s best to call 911. 

Collect Evidence of Abuse

If you can do so safely, creating a timeline of events and compiling evidence of abuse may help you moving forward, especially if you choose to file a police report or apply for a civil restraining order. This could be a personal diary or calendar where you’ve documented the abusive behavior, digital evidence like threatening texts, emails, etc., screenshots of excessive missed calls, and threatening voicemails. If you are unsure of what types of information might be helpful, call our hotline and speak with an advocate.

Create a Safety Plan

Create a safety plan. This can help you plan how you’re going to leave, whether you plan to leave temporarily, or stay separated. Safety plans can look different for everyone. A safety plan might include packing a go-bag, opening your own bank account, or keeping important documents and medications somewhere safe. One of our domestic violence advocates can help you develop a realistic safety plan that is tailored to you and your personal needs.

Practice Self Care

This one can be challenging for any victim/survivor, especially if there are children in the home, but taking care of you, first, is an important step to learning how to move forward. This is important regardless of whether you plan to stay or leave the abusive relationship. Self-care can look different for everyone. It could be taking up a hobby, prioritizing time with family and friends, joining a support group, having some time to yourself each day to do something that you enjoy, or speaking with a therapist who has experience working with victim/survivors.