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Special Report: Spotlight on 150 Human Trafficking Cases

by CBJC Staff December 3, 2013

Today the City Bar Justice Center’s Immigrant Women & Children Project (IWC) released a Special Report, Spotlight on 150 Human Trafficking Cases, that reflects over a decade of direct representation of low-income immigrant survivors of human trafficking in the New York City metropolitan area and informs the Justice Center’s advocacy and policy recommendations. The Special Report by Suzanne Tomatore, Director of the IWC, and Laura Matthews-Jolly, Staff Attorney at the IWC, provides a snapshot of 150 IWC human trafficking cases handled from 2002 through the summer of 2013. These cases involve a number of complex legal issues in the areas of immigration, civil litigation, restitution, and criminal justice advocacy.

The analysis of data brings to light human trafficking trends of immigrant survivors in the New York City metropolitan area. Victims were from 39 different countries, and the data includes a breakdown of the top five countries of origin for both labor and sex trafficking survivors. Of the 150 human trafficking cases, 54.6% involved labor trafficking and 45.3% involved sex trafficking. Domestic work was by far the most frequently reported form of labor trafficking, representing nearly 80% of the labor trafficking cases. While it is known that domestic workers can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation due to the isolating and often hidden nature of the work, the fact that nearly 80% of the labor trafficking cases were domestic workers was higher than anticipated. Also of note: in 26 of the 150 cases, the trafficker was in the diplomatic service. The victims in these 26 cases were all domestic workers, some of whom reported sexual and/or physical assault during their trafficking.

Additionally, the findings show that the average age of the victim at the time of trafficking was 23 years old. This is an older average age than previous studies have shown, and is in contrast to frequent—but disputed—claims that the average age of entry into prostitution is 12 to 14 years of age. This data serves as a reminder that young adults who are trafficked need help and legal assistance just as younger victims do.

Finally, the Special Report offers recommendations for anti-trafficking efforts. One of these recommendations is to “provide legal and social services for trafficked persons of all genders and ages, and promote acceptance of people who do not conform to stereotypical trafficking experiences.” The Special Report further recommends that lawyers working with human trafficking survivors approach anti-trafficking work from a human rights perspective.

The Special Report can be read here: http://bit.ly/1g4023K


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