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"A Tale of Modern Day Slavery: the Epidemic of Human Trafficking in Connecticut"

Scope of Problem
Human trafficking is a taboo and undiscussed topic within America; a horrifying and
disturbing concept, Americans refuse to accept its existence within its borders.
However, ignorance does not result in nonexistence, and human trafficking continues to
flourish within the land of the free. States such as Connecticut are no different as
Governor Dan Malloy discloses, 300 child victims of human trafficking have been
reported in Connecticut since 2008 (Gov.). In 2015 alone twenty-nine cases
appeared. Of those twenty-nine cases, thirteen involved minors (Connecticut). Human
trafficking is becoming a rampant problem within Connecticut, an issue the state must
As defined by United States law, human trafficking can be divided into three groups: 1.
Children under eighteen who are lured and manipulated into commercial sex, 2. Adults,
individuals eighteen or older, who are induced into commercial sex through fraud, force,
or coercion, and 3. Children and adults forced to perform a labor or service through
force, fraud, or coercion (Domestic).
While human trafficking does not discriminate there are three primary groups that share
the common trait of vulnerability, a quality exploited and manipulated by human
traffickers. They target run-aways and homeless youth who are isolated from friends
and family, foreign immigrants who become indebted to traffickers as they attempt to
enter the nation for work, and those who have been exposed to domestic violence,
sexual assault, war, and social discrimination. Best exemplified by this is Connecticuts
youngest human trafficking victim, an innocent two year old child who was sexually
exploited for money (Bisaro). Upon rescue, survivors are placed within a methodical
process, step by step the individual is analyzed and his/her medical state is recorded
[See Appendix A]. There is little support as the victim is processed through the system
by social workers.
There remains a detrimental notion that human trafficking does not exist within
Connecticut, resulting in cruelness and contempt from society towards survivors.
Abducted teenagers, mothers lured under false pretenses, atolen children are trafficked
around the state, sold as property, and once they escape, are labeled as prostitutes,
liars, cheaters, attention-seekers. Society assumes the individual was a prostitute,
someone who sells sex by choice. However, a qualifying trait of human trafficking is
force and unwillingness human trafficking victims are forced into their
circumstance, they are not there by choice. Deception is common among trafficking
victims; instead of offering aide and acceptance society harbors contempt and disgust,
rejecting the innocent and abused. These misconceptions must end as they are
inaccurate and harmful to the victims. Rather than escaping and recovering survivors
must hide their history and avoid their past, choosing to suffer in silence than come
forward and speak of their horrifying experiences. Not only are victims attempting to
recover from physical ailments due to abuse, but many suffer from post-traumatic stress

disorder, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse; misconceptions existing within

Connecticut prevent survivors from opening up and seeking assistance in recovering
from these side effects of human trafficking.
Change is necessary; Connecticut cannot continue to ignore human trafficking
within the state. Education is crucial to end inaccurate notions and help those in need.
Victims should no longer suffer in silence and their traffickers roam free within the state.
Survivors must stop being treated like criminals and instead by seen as victims. Human
trafficking survivors are not prostitutes by choice, they did not willingly enter such a
lifestyle, and they must be treated with kindness and compassion.
Mission Statement
Connecticut is negligent in protecting its citizens from human trafficking; a serious
deficits in education, law enforcement, and the community fail to identify and properly
aid human trafficking victims. By incorporating the Safe Horizon Anti-Trafficking
Program (ATP) into Connecticut, law enforcement will be well equipped and prepared to
remove individuals from the human trafficking ring while Civilians will be exposed to the
reality of human trafficking, removing misconceptions surrounding the topic. Upon
rescue, the Anti-Trafficking Program guarantees protection, therapy, and mental and
medical assistance to the victims. Connecticut must integrate Safe Horizons AntiTrafficking Program into their legal system as it effectively results in success, protection,
and recovery.
Goals and Objectives
1. Integrate Safe Horizons Anti-Trafficking Program into Connecticuts
survivor rehabilitation process to ensure victims receive proper attention by the
year 2020.
1. Assign a Voices of Hope leader to each survivor to offer
2. Evaluate survivors mental and physical state upon rescue
and 1 year after rescue, report findings to Safe Horizons database
2. Educate both law enforcement and citizens about human trafficking,
identifying victims, and opportunities for prevention.
1. Incorporate a mandatory ATP class into the police academy
2. Require a human trafficking unit within a senior
Contemporary Issues class (or equivalent).
Evaluating Resources
Connecticuts human trafficking program, Love146, is a limited resource that can offer
restricted aide. Safe Horizons Ani-Trafficking Program offers a far superior and effective
path to recovery.
1. Love146: the Current Human Trafficking Program in Connecticut

Love146 is a United States based program dedicated to ending child trafficking in both
the world and America. However, as it is dedicated primarily to children, the program
fails to address adults suffering from human trafficking. There is a sufficient lack of the
programs presence within the community; while it is supposed to spread education
Love146 is not present in schools, businesses, or other organizations in the state which
results in ignorance and nativity from Connecticut civilians. A relatively young
organization created in 2004, Love146 lacks the ability to effectively ensure human
trafficking victims remain safe while also ensuring a development in education.
Implementing a new, more in-depth program is costly, and while Connecticuts Love146
program is less expensive, it fails to ensure victims recovery; unlike Safe Horizons AntiTrafficking Program, survivors in Connecticut are not provided with all the medical and
therapeutical services they need to adapt and survive. Connecticut currently
contributes $2, 699, 246 to Love146, a program solely focused on children and human
trafficking (Annual). Excluding adults from the recovery process limits Love146s
effectiveness and efficiency, a fault Safe Horizons ATP avoids. Though Safe Horizon is
an expensive program, requiring $12,799,398 from the state, it encompasses not only
human trafficking, but domestic and child abuse, rape and assault, stalking, and
homeless youth. It also gathers another $39, 724, 409 through fundraisers and
donations (Report). Covering a broad array of topics, Safe Horizon provides both
medical and legal support to victims and survivors, ensuring that its individuals receive
enough opportunities to return to a normal life. Not only would Connecticut receive an
expert program dedicated to ensuring the health of human trafficking victims, but an allencompassing source for protection, education, and assistance in multiple threatening
1. Misconceptions and Myths
A key component of aiding victims of human trafficking is education as it
eliminates the inaccurate and detrimental stigma that victims always willingly participate
in the trafficking rings. There remains an inaccurate belief that women (and some men)
choose to be prostitutes, that they have a choice and can leave when they please. This
misconception is detrimental; those who are involved in human trafficking are not
prostitutes as prostitution requires consent. In fact, according to Prostitution Research &
Education less than half of prostitutes willingly sold themselves, as 60% of prostitutes
reported being forced into the trade (Gilchrest). Human trafficking victims face
discrimination, prejudice, and disgust for crimes they were unwillingly coerced into.
Other misconceptions such as victims seek help when they are in public, that they
willingly identify themselves as victims, creates an inaccurate perception that those who
do not seek help do not want it. However, in multiple cases the victim is silenced due to
specific instructions by the trafficker regarding how to behave when talking to law
enforcement or social services, (Myths). Victims fear the wrath of their traffickers and

do not initially trust law enforcement due to a past of manipulation and exploitation. Fear
and initial mistrust results in neglect and isolation as society perpetuates the notion of
victims being criminals undeserving of help and need to be punished for their crimes. A
disconnection develops between the community and the reality of the situation as
people believe inaccurate myths. Misconceptions haunt victims, preventing them from
obtaining security and safety after rescue due to harsh judgments from society.
1. Educating Youth About Human Trafficking
Enacting a mandatory human trafficking unit within a senior history classes would prove
to be extremely beneficial, education would destroy misconceptions while exposing high
schoolers to life threatening dangers. At Coventry High School there is a Contemporary
Issues (CI) class that a majority of the senior class takes, and despite having curriculum
based solely on modern day conflicts it fails to address many current issues. In a
survey taken by the 2016 senior class, 49.2% of students said they have never
discussed human trafficking in a class, those who had discussed it said it was vague
and in classes such as Advanced Placement (AP) English, an Early College Experience
(ECE) class, and Latin American Students [See Appendix B]. Not once was human
trafficking discussed in a contemporary issues class; a human trafficking unit must be
incorporated into high schools as it ends misconceptions and instead creates
compassion and understanding for victims.
1. Educating Law Enforcement About Human Trafficking
The Connecticut Police Academy must incorporate a human trafficking unit into their
curriculum to ensure police officers can recognize and aide victims of trafficking.
Currently in the Academys curriculum human trafficking is taught alongside gambling,
prostitution, and organized crime in a four hour lesson (Summary). Assuming each
topic is divided equally, young cadets receive an hour long lesson on human trafficking
while also shifting through three equally broad topics. One hour is not enough time to
properly learn, understand, and remember key facts and details about human trafficking
and the victims. The current system fails to address the severity of the situation and
new officers face in-exposure and misunderstanding due to a lack of knowledge on the
subject. In the field this could prove detrimental to survivors rescue, court experience,
and recovery process.
Implementing the Plan
Initially Safe Horizon is more expensive than Love146, resulting Connecticut citizens
seeing an increase in taxes. However, this organization offers far more opportunities
than Love146; Safe Horizon provides care and safety not just for human trafficking
victims, but the homeless, rape victims, child and domestic abuse victims, protection
from stalking, while also offering counseling and group support for these suffering
individuals (ATP). Connecticut receives an organization that encompasses multiple

taboo issues, providing its citizens with a safe and secure location to go to for
assistance and aid.
In order for ATP to be a successful program, integration will take place over a four year
period and be completed in 2020. The first two years will be dedicated to finding a
location in Hartford, establishing a center, hiring and training employees, and creating
connections with local police departments. The following year will involve extensive
marketing, exposing Connecticut citizens to Safe Horizon to ensure victims are aware of
a safe location as Safe Horizon finishes establishing its location in the capitol city. The
final year is when the organizations door will open, welcoming victims and survivors
into a safe and secure environment where they can receive care and protection.
1. Aiding Victims in the Recovery Process
Once the center is open and established a Voices of Hope leader will be partnered with
a victim of human trafficking as a component of the recovery program. This leader acts
as a mentor, providing guidance and advice as the survivor adjusts to his/her new found
freedom. Voices of Hope leaders also promote policies through which survivors are
afforded the right to necessity reproductive health care, sue their trafficker, exercise
victim witness rights, [and] participate in anti-trafficking efforts, (Human). Due to the
Voices of Hope leaders being past victims of human trafficking, mentors and survivors
can establish a bond through shared experiences and understanding. Victims can feel
safe and secure in an accepting environment. Safe Horizon provides survivors with
shelter and housing referrals and admittance to public benefits, ensuring survivors are
well taken care of and do not relapse back into the trafficking ring as a source of
income. Another crucial part of the recovery program is a required mental and physical
evaluation and a follow-up evaluation one year later. An evaluation ensures survivors
receive necessary aide due to physical or mental ailments such as drug abuse, sexually
transmitted diseases, anxiety, depression, and any physical injuries. This information
will be stored within the Safe Horizons database and shared with the involved police
department. The following year survivors will be re-evaluated to ensure a healthy
transition back into society.
1. Educating Youth About Human Trafficking
Within high schools, a unit about human trafficking will be incorporated into the senior
Contemporary Issues course (or equivalent). Since the class already exists, the school
will face no extra expenses as it already has qualified teachers to educate the students.
Teachers will spend a minimum of one week on human trafficking, discussing and
removing misconceptions. The unit could mirror Ohio State Universitys human
trafficking course, in which students learn about both domestic and global trafficking,
delving into what human trafficking is, how to identify victims, different factors involved
in trafficking, and laws and policies surrounding the issue [See Appendix C]. Sources

such as Kevin Baless and Ron Soodalters novel The Slave Next Door: Human
Trafficking and Slavery in America Today can be utilized to provide pupils with first
account stories and experiences, rejecting the notion that trafficking does not exist in
America. The topic of trafficking should be exposed only to the senior class due to the
maturity of the content; underclassmen would find the topic difficult to understand or
would not take the lesson seriously, hindering the impact of the lesson. Education then
eliminates misconceptions and myths surrounding human trafficking as currently many
students have received little to no instruction about the issue of human trafficking within
America. Educating citizens provides victims with the opportunity for identification; not
only will the victim escape the trafficking ring, but the stigma surrounding the individual
will disappear as the misconceptions are eliminated from the population. Instituting a
course within the Contemporary Issues Course would remedy this issue as it would
provide student with a basic understanding of a complex issue. Mrs. Sparks, a CI
teacher, explained that human trafficking could be incorporated after genocide; the
week long unit that would enlighten sheltered students and expose the realistic horrors
of not only the world but America, demolishing the notion that it doesnt happen here
1. Educating Law Enforcement About Human Trafficking
The Connecticut Police Academy must incorporate a mandatory stand-alone human
trafficking course into their curriculum, ensuring new police officers will be able to
identify and aid those in need. Within the twenty-two week program, the mandatory
human trafficking class will last a minimum of four hours (an average class block in the
academy), as it addresses topics such as what human trafficking is, how it is legally
defined, how to identify victims, and survivors relief opportunities. Should an instructor
feel he/she is inadequate on the topic a Safe Horizon representative will come in and
provide instruction and presentation on the topic, offering accurate information and an
insight into victims experiences in the trafficking rings. Such exposure to information will
ensure young police officers have an understanding of human trafficking and are able to
protect and have compassion for survivors. Educating law enforcement is key; once
police officers understand the victims, survivors will feel far more secure in the presence
of law enforcing, allowing for a faster recovery process.
Gaining Support
1. Educating Youth About Human Trafficking
In a survey conducted among seniors at Coventry High School about half of students
revealed they have never discussed human trafficking in the classroom, a startling lack
of knowledge as young adults are most likely to be exploited by traffickers. Those who
had discussed the topic in class disclosed the ambiguity of the lesson, one student
claiming, It was brought up as a problem in the US but never really discussed [see

source C]. The senior class remained indecisive on the topic of human trafficking as
45.9% opted to remain neutral when asked if prostitution was a choice while 47.5%
agreed that many victims were forced into the trafficking ring. Students continued to
report muddled responses, as a variety of seniors reported indecisive and neutral
answers. This is both shocking and alarming; these young adults are about to exit their
sheltered homes and be exposed to the horrors of the world. Seniors must be educated
on the reality of Connecticut, of America, so they can protect themselves and their
fellow peers from such exploitation.
Education is also necessity for combating the misconceptions surrounding human
trafficking victims; students must understand the complexity of the victims and remove
the disillusion that human trafficking does not occur within America. When asked how
common human trafficking was in Connecticut, 36.1% remained neutral on the matter,
preferring to avoid a definitive stance. In reality, an 18-year-old girl was rescued from
human traffickers just outside Hartford, last September. She was held against her
will for a monthduring this time she was trafficked sexually and physically abused
repeatedly. (Wenzel). Her captures were not found nor charged until last month and
the investigation is still on-going. Abused, exploited, and assaulted, the victim could
have been any 18 year old, any senior who participated in the survey. Students must be
educated about human trafficking prevention and identification to not only protect those
already victimized by the traffickers, but to protect themselves from becoming victims.
1. Educating Law Enforcement About Human Trafficking
The involvement of law enforcement is a critical aspect in elevating knowledge and
support about human trafficking. Pete Sheiy, lead investigator for human trafficking in
Connecticut recently disclosed in an interview, [human trafficking is] new in the sense
of the laws were only recently enacted specifically to address human trafficking and that
its been going on for years and years, emphasizing the lack of legal involvement with
traffickers and the victims [See Appendix D]. Despite common misconceptions, he
asserts that human trafficking is quite old within Connecticut and continues to be an
issue in todays society. Although the Constitution State is beginning to re-evaluate its
legal process and make improvements it is not enough; larger action must be taken. He
goes on to explain the process of charging traffickers, a complicated and frustrating
process. Sheiy explains how prosecutors often prefer slam dunks, cases in which
fifteen victims are pointing their finger at one trafficker, which results in minor cases
(such as only one victim acting as witness) becoming prostitution cases due to them
becoming a he said, she said situation, making it difficult for the law to charge
traffickers (Sheiy). Educating law enforcement and enacting an effective recovery
program will ensure the prosperity of victims upon removal from the trafficking rings.
Without such adjustments change will be impossible and survivors will continue to suffer
in silence and misunderstanding.

Final Call to Action

Connecticut is a state dedicated to ensuring its citizens safety and security,
however, ignoring the issue of human trafficking puts all citizens at risk. Action must be
taken against human trafficking, as society cannot continue to punish its victims as
criminals. Education is key to ending traffickers monopoly on human beings; by
destroying misconceptions the public empowers survivors and removes authority from
the true criminals. Compassion and understanding flourishes when ignorance ends,
welcoming victims into a secure environment in which they can recover and move
forward with their lives. Enacting Safe Horizons Anti-Trafficking Program will ensure
Connecticut survivors receive the best care and begin to live prosperous, happy lives.
Without education and the Anti-Trafficking Program, innocent girls, boys, women, men,
mothers, and fathers will continue to be exploited, their most basic human rights stolen.
Human trafficking must end and Safe Horizons Anti-Trafficking Program is the first step
towards liberation.