Connecticut’s Task Force on Domestic Violence in Immigrant Communities
Testimony of Ahava Kids
Raymond Bechard, Founder & President
Erin Albright, Legal Aid
September 26, 2008
Much of Human Trafficking is a commercialized subset of Domestic Violence, especially within Immigrant Communities. It should be recognized that trafficking victims are, in reality, victims of a number of crimes including domestic violence, and as such deserve recognition, protection and special consideration from the State of Connecticut.
It is imperative that this reality be brought to the attention of Connecticut’s Task Force on Domestic Violence in Immigrant Communities simply because so many forgotten lives are at stake; and many of those lives are quite young.
There is real danger in not recognizing and responding to the realities of human trafficking and its inseparable relationship to immigrant peoples and the vulnerabilities they face.
Ahava Kids, a human rights organization based in Connecticut, exists to rescue and care for young victims of human trafficking here in the United States and around the world. During the fulfillment of that mission, we have discovered the complex challenges facing victims of commercial sexual abuse, which is the major focus of our work in the United States, along with situations of forced labor. Today’s discussion will concentrate mostly on commercial sexual abuse / human trafficking and its close relation to domestic violence in immigrant communities.
Before we review the facts we have learned from our work, it is useful to know both the federal and the Connecticut statutes on trafficking.
As defined by Federal law, “trafficking in persons,” includes “sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age”; or “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.”