Assistance for Human Trafficking Victims
Last updated 08/17/17
The Office of Community Services (OCS) administers the Comprehensive Service for Human Trafficking Victims through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Victims of Crime (OVC). This program utilizes federal funds and does not require any financial assistance or matching funds from the State.
Comprehensive Service for Human Trafficking Victims
The purpose of the program is to provide timely and high-quality comprehensive services to victims of human trafficking as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 and to enhance inter-agency coordination in the provision of services to trafficking victims over a three-year period. The goal is to ensure provision of trauma-informed, culturally competent services to male and female victims of sex and labor trafficking identified or living in the City and County of Honolulu.
The program is being administered by three participating service agencies under the overall guidance of OCS, pursuant to their respective contract. Those agencies are the Susannah Wesley Community Center (SWCC), the Pacific Survivor Center (PSC), and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (Legal Aid).
- The Susannah Wesley Community Center (SWCC) is the lead agency in the program. It has hired and supervises the program coordinator and case management staff to provide direct victims assistance and coordination of services. SWCC staff works with local law enforcement to identify potential victims and to provide eligibility assessments for the victims so that they may obtain services. SWCC assists victims in obtaining the “certification” from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). SWCC identifies resources appropriate for potential application by clients. SWCC arranges and coordinates appropriate sheltering of the victims, including but not limited to, rental assistance, and developing a transition plan to ameliorate the victim’s specific challenges, including immigration and documentation issues.
- The Pacific Survivor Center (PSC) provides physical, mental health, and dental examination, and treatment of the client population. PSC shall provide as necessary, individualized and group counseling to assist adult victims with trauma, cultural adjustment and other issues. In addition, PSC will devise, develop, and present training for medical professionals or other interested parties to increase awareness of human trafficking issues, including specific health and mental needs of victims, and coordinate these trainings with SWCC and Legal Aid.
- The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (Legal Aid) screens and assesses victims to ensure that they meet the definition of human trafficking as described by the TVPA. Legal Aid provides legal assistance to these victims, including but not limited to, explanation of client rights and responsibilities, litigation and witness assistance in criminal prosecutions if needed, and family and civil matters. Specifically, these services include, but are not limited to assistance with applying for T visas, immigration relief, adjustment of status, and general advocacy on matters resulting from the client’s situation as a human trafficking victim. Legal Aid is also responsible for developing and presenting training to providers of trafficking services or other interested parties such as law enforcement to increase awareness of legal barriers, orient trainees to the experiences of victims in the justice system, and offering perspective and best practices with regard to issues of sensitivity in service.