Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $500,000)
The Office for Victims of Crime is committed to enhancing the nations capacity to assist crime victims and provide leadership in changing attitudes, policies, and practices to promote justice and healing for all victims of crime. Through the FY 2018 Field-Generated Innovations in Addressing Elder Financial Exploitation solicitation, OVC seeks to support projects which focus on elder financial exploitation through innovative collaborations between the financial industry and others to better detect and respond to victims. These efforts should build the capacity of victim service providers and financial industry representatives to enhance fraud detection and provide trauma-informed, age-appropriate services and resources for victims.
Victims of labor trafficking are currently being served by Metropolitan Family Services at physical locations in Cook and DuPage counties. This project will expand these direct services in the area and build capacity throughout the state. From FY 2015 to FY 2017, LAS served 52 clients (57 cases). Approximately 70% of cases have involved primarily labor trafficking and 30% have involved primarily sex trafficking. Under this project, Metropolitan Family Services will 1) identify worksites that are staffed by workers brought in on guest worker visas, 2) engage in effective direct outreach to workers vulnerable to labor trafficking, and 3) expand capacity in Illinois to identify and work with victims of labor trafficking. LAS will conduct 15 trainings and 12 public outreach events. The first part of the project will be to identify the employers who are bringing in foreign guest workers, identify the location of their work and living sites, and create a database providing a list of the work dates and contracts using data that are partially available from the Department of Labor Cert website. MFS will leverage this database to create a map of the worksites and the contracts that are connected to the employers in order to identify where potential labor trafficking victims may be located. Utilizing the map and database created through this project, LAS will engage in direct outreach in order to provide services, referrals, and technical assistance. LAS will work closely with local, state, and federal agencies who have access to worksites through regulatory or statutory authority.