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    Trafficking victims have rights guaranteed under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the National Crime Victims' Rights Act,
    including the right to seek civil damages in U.S. federal courts.

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    Federal prosecutors have brought criminal cases across the United States alleging trafficking of domestic workers into forced labor.
    Pro bono litigators have brought civil trafficking cases, obtaining awards for victims.

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    The International Labor Organization estimates that 20.9 million people are held in forced labor and servitude around the world.
    Yet prosecutors brought only 7,705 cases in the entire world in 2012.

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    Trafficking occurs in all labor sectors, including construction. In 2013, federal prosecutors in Ohio indicted the owner of a roofing
    company for allegedly trafficking workers from Mexico into forced labor. The defendant pled guilty to fraud charges.

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    In 2011, federal prosecutors brought 125 criminal trafficking cases total, including 101 for sex trafficking of adults and children.

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    The U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver recently obtained guilty verdicts in a trafficking scheme to bring nurses to the United States for
    forced labor. The court ordered the two defendants to pay $3.7 million in restitution to the victims.

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    Diplomats and international organization officials have faced criminal and civil charges for trafficking and exploitation of domestic
    workers in the United States. In one civil case brought in federal court, a trafficking survivor obtained a $1 million verdict against
    a diplomat.


“I feel like the powerful people are on my side now.”

—Trafficking Survivor, referred by HT Pro Bono

HT Pro Bono trains talented pro bono attorneys to represent trafficking victims in the United States.  It makes referrals on a case-by-case basis, providing mentoring and extensive technical assistance for complex civil, immigration, and criminal cases. HT Pro Bono attorneys monitor the developing case law, focusing on impact litigation in the federal courts. HT Pro Bono also conducts research and maintains a comprehensive database on federal civil trafficking cases. It works in concert with other groups to promote policy reform that will end the scourge of trafficking.

In the ten years since Congress created a civil remedy, trafficking victims have filed just 129 cases. Pro bono attorneys give victims the chance to hold traffickers accountable, gain restitution, and reclaim their lives.


Victims in need of assistance should contact The National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888.