- Los Angeles County with a Special Focus on South Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Long Beach, and the South Bay
Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $800,000)
California, especially the greater Los Angeles (LA) area, is the ultimate destination for thousands of victims trafficked for commercial sex and labor exploitation. There are a small number of organizations in LA providing services to specific trafficking populations (such as sex trafficking victims and/or youth) but the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) uniquely provides comprehensive services to victims of all forms of human trafficking (including victims of sex and labor trafficking) - no matter their age, gender or nationality. Opened in 1998, CAST has served more victims of human trafficking than any other agency in the U.S. CAST’s approach to serving victims of human trafficking couples community collaboration with individualized service delivery. CAST has spent over two decades developing a victim-centered, trauma-informed, rights-based approach that addresses the social and legal needs of survivors and moves them toward self-sufficiency, and is able to reach underserved groups that other agencies do not including foreign nationals, victims of labor trafficking, transition-age youth, and LGBTQ and male victims.
Demand for CAST’s services continues to increase; however due to limited resources, it continues to be at capacity. Under the proposed project, CAST will enhance the scope of services offered to 150 victims of human trafficking in LA County (most of whom will be adult females) in order to help them achieve their goals including increased independence, self-sufficiency, and feelings of safety and well-being. This will be done by providing comprehensive, individualized services to 150 victims (50 a year) including emergency response/intake, immediate needs support, case management, emergency shelter and legal services; enhancing collaboration with and training 45 local partners (900 people) to ensure victims are properly identified and referred; and providing 150 victims with referrals to other essential services. Funding will ensure that CAST can provide trauma-informed, expert services to victims in as timely a manner as possible.
The program will serve victims across LA County, one of the largest markets for trafficking in the United States due to its substantial immigrant population, runaway and homeless population, proximity to international borders, large number of ports and airports, thriving sex industry, and large, diverse economy. CAST will also reach victims in underserved areas of the county including South LA, the San Fernando Valley, Long Beach, and the South Bay.