The Center for Prevention of Abuse, in partnership with Heartland Human Care Services, is offering services for individuals who have been victims of human trafficking in Central Illinois.
Office of Victims of Crime supplied a grant that will help provide for the needs of individuals who have been victims of sex or labor trafficking in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties, as well as raise awareness about trafficking and provide help.
"Human trafficking is a widely misunderstood human rights issue," Carol Merna, executive director of The Center for Prevention of Abuse, said in an announcement. "It happens right here in Central Illinois, so we are grateful to be included and to provide the best level of care for all who come through our doors."
Indicators of human trafficking include forced labor; being threatened to work to pay off debts and protect family members; being forced into prostitution or other sexual acts; being involved in sexual acts as a minor, whether it is forced or through coercion or fraud; and having identification seized to limit personal actions and movement, as outlined in Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
"Victims of human trafficking who come to The Center may have access to our two emergency shelters, specialized counselors, and intensive case management which may include legal and financial assistance," Sara Dillefeld, director of Domestic Violence Family Centered Services, said.
Free services will be offered to victims of human trafficking, including transportation assistance; finding safe, affordable housing; legal assistance; medical and mental health services; criminal justice advocacy; links to public benefits; education; and job training and employment.