The mission of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Anti-Trafficking Program (ATP) is to educate on the scourge of human trafficking as an offense against fundamental dignity of the human person; to advocate for an end to modern day slavery; and to provide training and technical assistance on this issue.
What We Do
Each year, an estimated 17,000 vulnerable men, women and children are trafficked across our borders and then forced into slavery. Many are fleeing terrible situations in their home countries, and come to the United States to find a better life. Unfortunately, the nightmare often begins when they reach our shores.
For over a decade, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been a national leader in advocacy and education to eradicate sex and labor trafficking. Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) leads efforts to combat trafficking in human persons, carrying out the commitment of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration to protect the life and dignity of the most vulnerable. Our initiatives include advocacy, awareness raising, training and technical assistance, and integration services.
How to Identify a Human Trafficking Victim
As a service provider, you may have an opportunity to identify and assist a victim of human trafficking. These are some red flags:
- Seems anxious, fearful or paranoid. Avoids eye contact.
- Tearfulness or signs of depression.
- Unexplained bruises or cuts or other signs of physical abuse.
- Appears to be in a relationship with someone who is dominating.
- Never is alone and/or always has someone translating or answering questions on their behalf.
- Not in control of their own finances.
- Presents with secrecy or unable to answer questions about where they live.
- Inconsistent details when telling their story.
- Has no identification such as a license, passport or other ID documents.
- Inability to leave their job or residence. Says they cannot schedule appointments.
- Being a recent arrival to the United States and does not speak English.
- Is under 18 and providing commercial sex acts. Or at any age unwillingly providing commercial sex acts.
- Is afraid of law enforcement or receiving help from an outside entity.
If you can find an opportunity to get he/she alone, ask him/her the following screening questions:
- Can you leave your job or house when you want?
- Where did you get those bruises or is anyone hurting you?
- Do you get paid for your employment? Is it fair? How many hours do you work?
- (If foreign national) How did you get to the U.S. and is it what you expected? Are you being forced to do anything you don’t want to do?
- Are you or your family being threatened?
- Do you live with or near your employer? Does your employer provide you housing? Are there locks on doors or windows from outside?
- Do you owe debt to anyone?
Be part of the solution…
1. Be observant. Identify victims in your community and respond appropriately.
2. Be informed. Sign up for our web-based trainings and/or e-newsletter at: www.usccb.org/stopslavery.
3. Spread the word. Help us distribute posters and other resources in your community. For resources, contact us at 202.541.3357.