Freedom Network USA engages with federal agencies and lawmakers to advance a human rights-based approach to human trafficking. We promote policies that address the root causes of trafficking, guarantee the protections and rights of trafficked persons, and encourage survivor leadership in efforts to combat human trafficking.
Current Advocacy Efforts
Expanding and Improving Access to Services for Survivors
Human trafficking survivors report significant barriers to accessing comprehensive, trauma-informed, supportive social and legal services. Without access to trauma-informed and completely voluntary services like housing and food assistance, legal services, healthcare, mental healthcare, and immigration assistance, survivors struggle to choose and complete their own path of recovery.
FNUSA fights harmful policies and advocates for the expansion of services to survivors. This includes advocating for funding increases for federal victim services programs, providing recommendations to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to improve their grant programs, and promoting policies that support survivors of all types of trafficking, ages, genders, and immigration statuses.
In 2022, we raised the alarm when the HHS-funded Trafficking Victims Assistance Program ended with little notice and no new program to take its place. FNUSA’s advocacy restored funding for the survivors who relied on the program to pay for basic needs. Read more here.
Advocating for Improved Legal Protections for Survivors
Many survivors are forced to commit crimes as part of the trafficking scheme, and are left with criminal records even after they escape. These records prevent survivors from accessing safe jobs, housing, education, and immigration protection. FNUSA is working to expand criminal record relief for survivors through federal and state legislation to ensure that all survivors are free to pursue their dreams.
Immigrant survivors face specific forms of vulnerability due to their immigration status. FNUSA works to change immigration policies that make it more difficult or dangerous for survivors to access Continued Presence and the T and U Visas.
After survivors escape, they carry debt and medical and mental health challenges with them. We work to expand the civil remedies available to survivors to ensure that traffickers are held accountable and survivors can achieve justice.
In January of 2023, we filed an amicus brief alongside the Human Trafficking Legal Center to assert the rights of survivors to seek civil remedies when they are unjustly prosecuted.
Promoting Real and Comprehensive Human Trafficking Prevention
Prevention efforts in the United States often focus on raising awareness with the general public, not fixing the social structures that increase vulnerability to human trafficking. Real and comprehensive prevention efforts involve access to affordable housing, healthcare, and mental health care, alongside protection from discrimination, an expanded social safety net, strong labor protections, humane immigration policies, and community-driven efforts.
FNUSA supports comprehensive prevention efforts that support workers and communities made vulnerable to human trafficking by harmful policies and social structures. This involves advocating for improved outreach to impacted communities, bans on sexual contact from law enforcement investigating trafficking, and ensuring all prevention efforts are evaluated for effectiveness and potential harm.
Last year, we submitted recommendations to the US Department of State highlighting the need for all prevention efforts to be conducted using a racial equity lens to ensure programs are not discriminatory and are designed to be relevant and useful to everyone.
Search FNUSA’s extensive library of policy papers, advocacy letters, and recommendations.
Survivor Reentry Project
Find comprehensive resources on post-conviction relief for trafficking survivors, including state summaries, sample pleadings, and more. You can also submit your request for technical assistance from our team of experts.