HJN Profile: 5 Questions with Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)

What is the mission of your organization?

To assist persons trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and slavery-like practices and to work toward ending all instances of such human rights abuses.

What is human trafficking, and how big an impact does it have on Asian and Pacific Islander communities?

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is the process by which a person is recruited to be controlled and held captive for the purpose of exploitation. Traffickers threaten to or use force, coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception to bring their victims under their control, in addition to abusing their power or the vulnerable social or economic status of their victims. The resulting exploitation is essentially a modern-day form of slavery as human trafficking victims are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor.

At least one third of our current clients are from Asian and Pacific Islander communities. CAST currently has many partnerships with community based organizations including Filipino Worker Center, Thai Community Development Center, Chinatown Service Center, APALC, and many others to address the intensive service needs of survivors. It is with the collaboration and partnership of multiple agencies working together that clients can move in their journey of recovery from being victims in crisis to survivors to thriving agents of change.

Describe two of your programs you would like HJN members to know about.

CAST expanded its efforts internationally by establishing a partnership with Mexico’s border states to help fight trafficking at its root. With funding support from the US Department of Global Affairs, CAST launched its cross border collaborative (CBC). Through this project, CAST will be providing technical assistance, training and capacity building initiatives with NGO’s in the border states of Mexico.

CAST opened the first shelter in the United States exclusively for survivors of trafficking.

As the first shelter in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of trafficking survivors, the CAST shelter not only provides physically and psychologically safe housing but also access to multi-lingual, multi-cultural staff with extensive experience working with survivors of trafficking and other forms of trauma.

What is the most pressing issue within human trafficking that CAST is working on right now?

On the heels of President Obama’s declaration of January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) announced the launch of its inaugural “From Slavery to Freedom” campaign to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking in the Greater Los Angeles area, the U.S. and around the world. The goals of the campaign are to encourage victims to seek help by letting them know they will not be treated as criminals, inform the general public about the existence of modern-day slavery and motivate them to take action, and inspire a national movement to eradicate slavery and human trafficking.

Additionally, CAST co-sponsored SB 657 which recently passed in the California Senate. SB 657 seeks to eliminate slavery and trafficking from product supply chains and halt the sale of imported goods made from slave labor.

Anything else you would like to share?

Since May 2009, CAST has been coordinating the Rescue and Restore Regional Coalition in LA County, made up of 11 community partners, including KIWA, Thai Community Development Center (Thai CDC), Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), Pilipino Worker Center (PWC), Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Para los Niños (PLN), Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), Lideres Campesinas, California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA), East West Players (EWP), and the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC). In addition we have been working with various other groups ( Museum of Tolerance, So Cal Partnership for Global Justice, 27 Blocks campaign, etc) during LA’s first annual Human Trafficking Awareness Month, which was launched on Jan 11th this year, and which will culminate on Feb 12, Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday.

The Coalition meetings are held quarterly, and are a space for organizations to come together to:

  • Share information/Statistics to evaluate effectiveness of outreach efforts
  • Share best practices, resources and learnings
  • Coordinate outreach efforts (joint events, press, build a coalition calendar, etc)
  • Coordinate training and capacity building opportunities

If you or your organization is further interested in participating in this Coalition, please contact Vanessa Lanza, Outreach Coordinator for CAST at Vanessa@castla.org.

Additionally with the launch of our month-long awareness campaign, CAST launched a toll free 24 hour hotline to respond immediately to:

  • To learn more about human trafficking and anti-trafficking services in your area
  • If you or someone you know has experienced human trafficking and is interested in receiving supportive services
  • To report a suspected case of human trafficking
  • To learn more about CAST services and how you can get involved

CAST’s hotline is not associated with law enforcement or any government agencies.

Your right to confidentially and privacy will be protected at your request.





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