Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $800,000)
The New Mexico Immigrant Law Center (NMILC) will implement the "Bridging the Gap: Expanding Legal Services for Immigrant Human Trafficking Survivors" project and focus primarily on Spanish-speaking Latino immigrant victims of human trafficking. With a geographic service area covering the entire state of New Mexico, the purpose of this project is to address the unique challenges faced by immigrant victims of human trafficking in a border state by providing comprehensive support to survivors of both labor and sex trafficking, with 75% of resources dedicated to labor trafficking survivors and 25% to sex trafficking survivors. Immigrant victims of human trafficking typically experience additional barriers, such as lack of language access, racism and discrimination, and fear of deportation, which exacerbate their vulnerability and limit access to support services. This project seeks to overcome these barriers by offering tailored services and fostering collaborative relationships with community-based, culturally specific partner organizations to create a holistic support network for immigrant trafficking survivors. Primary activities include culturally competent, trauma-informed direct legal representation and consultation for immigration-related matters; case management to assist survivor’s legal cases and address their other needs; training for service providers and law enforcement; and active participation in the New Mexico Human Trafficking Task Force. NMILC expects to serve at least 110 unduplicated trafficking victims during the three-year grant period, provide at least 24 training sessions, and attend all 12 of the quarterly Task Force meetings. Expected outcomes include increased access to legal services, improved coordination among service providers, heightened awareness of human trafficking issues impacting immigrants, and increased safety for immigrant victims of human trafficking. The project also aims to reduce immigrant communities' vulnerability to trafficking by addressing systemic barriers and providing culturally specific services. The intended beneficiaries are immigrant victims of labor and sex trafficking, particularly Spanish-speaking Latino immigrants residing in New Mexico. By strengthening NMILC's capacity as a culturally specific organization to provide essential legal services, the project aims to facilitate self-determination and healing for immigrant human trafficking survivors.