MOSAICS (Maximizing OVC’s Survivor Assistance in Court Settings) is a training and technical assistance (TTA) project to assist courts in implementing trauma-responsive policies to:
- Identify survivors of human trafficking who are facing criminal charges.
- Respond to the needs of survivors facing charges with a range of outcomes in their cases and a continuum of social service referrals.
- Reduce the infliction of harm on survivors facing criminal charges in court proceedings.
Human trafficking is generally understood in two categories: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Under federal law, sex trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion. Inducing any person under the age of eighteen to engage in a commercial sex act is also sex trafficking.
Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, provision, or transportation of a person for labor or services, using force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
Survivors of human trafficking can be any race, gender, age, class, religion, or culture.
Barriers to Helping Survivors
A major barrier to reaching and providing recovery services to survivors of human trafficking is that trafficking survivors are often arrested and prosecuted for crimes related to their trafficking. When survivors enter the legal system facing criminal charges, they often go unrecognized as victims. The court is sometimes the last to learn – or never learns – that an accused person has been coerced into criminality by a trafficker and/or is struggling with the traumatic effects of trafficking. While courts have a duty to hold offenders accountable, they must also have systems in place to ensure that they are not unduly punishing survivors. In addition, courts must have mechanisms to connect survivors to the support and assistance they want and need.
How We Help Courts
MOSAICS is a project of the Justice Programs Office at American University and funded by award # 2018-VT-BX-K016 from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs and the US Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.