Folks who have experienced human trafficking have a number of rights and remedies available to them.
- Under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), all people who have experienced human trafficking (any gender, any race, any sexual orientation and any immigration status) are eligible for services.
- There are case management programs that exist in the Chicagoland area for people who have experienced human trafficking. These programs are able to help with safety plans, exiting a trafficking situation, emergency needs (food/ shelter, etc.) and longer term needs (healthcare/ counseling, etc.).
- People with these lived experiences may also be eligible for benefits. This may include TANF, shelter, legal assistance, Medicaid, SSI, refugee cash and medical assistance (if foreign born), health screening, food stamps, social services (case management), and immigration relief.
- People who have experienced human trafficking in the U.S. and are not U.S. citizens may be able to apply for special immigration visas. There are many lawyers in the Chicago area who can help with these applications for free.
- There are specific units that investigate and prosecute human trafficking crimes in the Chicagoland area. People who have experienced human trafficking can make criminal reports against people who exploit them.
- People who have experienced trafficking may be able to get free help from lawyers to demand rights such as being paid for work they did while in the trafficking situation, getting money for the emotional, physical, or mental harm that was done to them, or even requesting things like an apology or for things that were taken from them to be returned. They may also be able to get other forms of free legal help with things like protective orders, name changes, or legal problems that came up while they were experiencing trafficking.
YOUR RIGHTS WHEN INTERACTING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT
- You have the right not to speak with law enforcement.
- The Chicago Police Department has to abide by their general orders.
- Officers must treat people with respect
- Officers must use pronouns as requested and address an individual by their preferred name rather than what is on a government issued ID
- Officers must not stop, detain, frisk, or search any person for the purpose of determining that person’s gender
- Officers must not consider a persons’ gender identification as reasonable suspicion that the individual is or has engaged in a crime, including prostitution
- Officers must not disclose a person’s gender identity to others
- You do not have to disclose your sexual or gender identity to law enforcement when making a report. You do not have to disclose your immigration status either.
- Officers will ask you for your legal or given name. Let them know how you prefer to be called. They should not ask you about your anatomy or other invasive questions, unless it is clearly required as part of a criminal investigation.
- If you choose to make a report, provide any information that you think will help the investigation. If you have evidence that hate was a motive, ask that the officer flag your report as a hate incident. It will be investigated by a special team. A hate crime is a crime motivated by prejudice on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, or other grounds.
- You can always ask for a “white shirt” (supervisor) or for the LGBT Liaison officer.
- Write down the responding officer’s name and badge number, and ask for the police report # or incident report.