Outreach and Support to Special Immigrant Populations (OSSIP)

A Comprehensive Assistance Program for Foreign-Born Survivors of Human Trafficking

It is estimated that over 18,000 men, women and children are trafficked into the U.S. annually for sexual exploitation or forced labor. After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms trade as the second largest criminal industry in the world, and it is the fastest growing.

OSSIP provides intensive case management and legal services to survivors of human trafficking, to aid survivors in successfully navigating all aspects of the U.S. legal and social services system, with the ultimate goal of self-sufficiency and self-empowerment for the survivor.

OSSIP aids survivors in successfully obtaining the benefits to which they may be entitled under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA). These services include:
  • Immigration legal representation
  • Assistance with safe and comfortable housing
  • Assistance with food, clothing and other necessities
  • Assistance with medical services
  • Assistance with mental health services
  • Assistance with obtaining non-exploitative employment
  • Assistance with interpretation services
  • Client advocacy before law enforcement officers
Under the Trafficking victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), which provides immigration relief and social services to eligible victims of trafficking, Congress defines "severe forms of trafficking in persons" as.
  • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform the act is under 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.
Key Questions to Help Determine if Someone Has Been Trafficked:
  • Are you being forced to work against your will?
  • Are you being paid?
  • Can you leave your job if you want to?
  • Can you come and go as you please?
  • Have you or your family been threatened?
  • What are your working conditions like?
  • Where do you sleep and eat?
  • Do you have to ask permission to eat/sleep/use the bathroom?
  • Are there locks on the doors/windows so you cannot get out?
  • Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?
Men, women, and children are trafficked into the U.S. for activities including, but not limited to:
  • Agricultural work
  • Domestic work
  • Restaurant work
  • Garment work
  • Entertainment & Sex industry
  • Begging
  • Use in criminal activities
  • Forced prostitution

Survivors of human trafficking may be eligible for public benefits and immigration legal status.

Under the Trafficking victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), trafficking survivors are not treated as criminals, but as crime victims, entitled to governmental protection and assistance.

It does not matter how the person entered the U.S., whether they initially consented to being brought here for a job, or whether their current employment activity is illegal (such as prostitution). If at anytime they were deceived or coerced into forced labor or the commercial sex industry (or are involved in the commercial sex industry and are under 18), they are a survivor of human trafficking. They may be eligible for services and have legal rights that must be protected.

It is likely that a trafficking survivor will not know that they have been trafficked or that they are entitled to assistance or benefits as a result of their situation.

OSSIP works with local law enforcement and social, health care and legal service providers to identify trafficking survivors. This collaborative effort allows survivors to procure assistance and benefits while ensuring that their immediate safety is protected.

OSSIP also coordinates the Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans (OATH) Coalition.  OATH is a partnership between the Oregon Human Trafficking Task Force (OHTTF) and OSSIP.  Members of the general public as well as nonprofits, and government agencies participate in the OATH Program.  OATH members may choose to be actively involved in the program by working on sub-committees which aim to support victims’ services or may join the OATH program as a personal commitment towards raising awareness of the issue.  

For more information, please contact:

503-688-2713 or e-mail CKillmer@CatholicCharitiesOregon.org

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