The Center for Prevention of Abuse is expanding its services to address the specific needs of victims of human trafficking.
It’s part of a three-year, $228,000 Federal grant that supports the Center’s multifaceted approach.
The Center was one of two grant recipients statewide, due to an increase in the number of human trafficking cases in the Peoria region.
Director of Family Centered Services Sara Dillefeld says it’s difficult to pinpoint precise numbers because cases are sometimes categorized as domestic violence. She says many victims of trafficking are forced into the sex industry by their partners.
“By training our staff on what human trafficking actually is, it has allowed us to identify people that before we wouldn’t have seen as victims of human trafficking,” Dillefeld said.
The federal definition of human trafficking includes what can be considered modern-day slavery.
Dillefeld says the grant provides access to pro-bono legal counsel for victims as well as translation services, for situations where a victim may not speak English.
Though, she says in many cases, victims are US citizens who are unable to leave an oppressive situation for fear of retaliation.