COALITION TO ABOLISH SLAVERY & TRAFFICKING (CAST)
Through broad community outreach on local, state, and national levels—via media advocacy, public education, leadership development, and coalition building—CAST spotlights the issue of trafficking so that more victims will be assisted. CAST works with government officials, law enforcement agents, service providers, and community-based coalitions to build a broader anti-trafficking movement. CAST’s advocacy work is directly informed by the real experiences of the clients it serves. CAST empowers survivors of trafficking to become advocates through the Survivor Advisory Caucus, a one-of-a-kind leadership development program. Members of the caucus speak publicly on behalf of all survivors of trafficking, raising awareness on important policy issues effecting victims.
CAST’s legal services program works collaboratively with clients, community-based organizations, public-interest attorneys, and numerous government agencies to ensure survivors of trafficking are provided linguistically appropriate, culturally sensitive, and victim-centered legal services.
Legal services include:
• Representation in removal proceedings
• Securing release from detention
• Advocacy to protect rights as victim witnesses
• Preparation for criminal trial
• Advocacy to obtain Continued Presence and Certification as a trafficking victim to establish eligibility for refugee benefits
• Assistance in filing T-Visa, U-Visa, and VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) applications
• Obtaining child custody and restraining orders To comprehensively respond to survivors’ urgent legal needs, CAST coordinates networks of pro bono attorneys and founded the Trafficking Legal Clinic (TLC), the first legal services clinic dedicated to serving trafficking survivors in the United States. CAST also established one of the
country’s first grassroots task forces in collaboration with law enforcement to work closely to identify, assist, and investigate trafficking cases.
CAST started the first shelter in the United States specifically designed to meet the needs of trafficking survivors. The CAST shelter not only provides physically and psychologically safe housing, but also services that other shelter programs are not always able to provide. CAST shelter residents have access to a multi-cultural, multi-lingual staff with extensive expertise in working with survivors of trafficking and other forms of trauma.
CAST’s social services goal is to help clients recover from years of abuse and trauma so they may become self-sufficient. These services include access to food, shelter, and job training, as well as intensive case management (information, assistance, and legal education); mental health services (counseling, art therapy, peer support); education and life skills training (English as a Second Language, computer literacy, and financial management classes); and alternative non-Western healing therapies that are culturally appropriate. With CAST’s social services model, clients are transformed from victims to survivors, and in some cases, advocates.
CAST provides outreach, education, and practical training to law-enforcement members, social service workers, health and human service officials, attorneys, and community- and faith-based organizations who may come into contact with trafficked persons. This training helps to identify trafficked persons and ensure that they will be treated as victims rather than criminals. The training philosophy is based on a human rights framework. CAST is a member of the Freedom Network Institute on Human Trafficking and implements the training curriculum locally, statewide, and nationally. CAST has also trained internationally in Venezuela, Thailand, Mexico, China, Italy, the Philippines, and Canada. CAST has worked with international visitors from around the world to expand global collaborations. CAST conducts public outreach at high schools, colleges, faith-based forums, community...