Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $800,000)
This award will fund the continuation of Legal Aid Chicago’s Trafficking Survivors Assistance Project (TSAP), which has provided specialized services to survivors. TSAP’s primary objectives are to address the individualized civil legal needs of trafficking victims from four highly vulnerable populations: H-2A agricultural workers, low-wage workers, domestic workers, and survivors of domestic violence. TSAP provides free, high-quality legal services in civil (non-criminal) matters throughout the State of Illinois, including services related to immigration, housing, public benefits, domestic relations, employment, consumer rights, education, and trafficking survivorship. Additionally, TSAP intends to expand its services by further integrating an experienced social worker into the project, to address the significant non-legal needs of survivors. These social services will fill gaps that cannot currently be addressed and will help survivors stabilize more quickly. Finally, TSAP will expand its work in the area of employment responses, seeking work-related remedies for survivors. This effort will involve know-your-rights education and post-trafficking employment counseling, which will establish a solid foundation for survivors, helping them avoid exploitation and find good, fulfilling work. In addition to providing direct legal services, TSAP works in collaboration with federal, state, and local law enforcement, local social service providers, and community- and faith-based organizations to ensure trafficking survivors are identified and referred for additional services in other areas of need. TSAP will conduct training and public awareness activities for professionals and community members in order to improve their knowledge of human trafficking and their ability to identify, respond to, and refer survivors. TSAP’s ultimate goal is to enable trafficking survivors to achieve emotional, economic, and legal independence so they can live stable, self-sufficient lives, free from trafficking and abuse.