The Center for Prevention of Abuse Receives Prestigious Grant to Provide Services to Victims of Human Trafficking

The Center for Prevention of Abuse now offers services for victims of human trafficking in Central Illinois. Heartland Human Care Services (HHCS) is partnering with The Center for Prevention of Abuse through an award with the Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) to provide a comprehensive array of services for all human trafficking victims – both sex and labor – identified within the Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties.

The grant will also support efforts to increase the capacity of communities to respond to human trafficking victims through the development of interagency partnerships, professional training, and public awareness activities.

“We are thrilled to be part of this important grant so that we may expand our services to help victims of human trafficking and better serve our community,” said Carol Merna, Executive Director of The Center for Prevention of Abuse. “Human trafficking is a widely misunderstood human rights issue. It happens right here in Central Illinois, so we are grateful to be included and to provide the best level of care for all who come through our doors.”

HHCS and The Center for Prevention of Abuse are committed to helping survivors retake control of their lives, feel safe, enjoy physical and emotional health, and realize the human rights to which they are entitled.  Services are available for any survivor of human trafficking regardless of race, gender identify, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, or immigration status.  To qualify for services, the individual must be a victim of human trafficking as defined by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (22 U.S.C § 7102 (9).

Indicators of Human Trafficking:

·         Being forced to work against your will;
·         Incurred a debt by using threats or forcing you to work to pay the debt;
·         Forced to work by using threats to harm you and/or your family;
·         Forced or pressured you into prostitution or to do other sexual acts;
·         Minor engaged in commercial sex regardless of force, fraud or coercion;
·         Confiscated your passport, birth certificate, or identification card to intimidate and control your movements

“This grant allows us to significantly expand our services and continue to meet the needs of our community,” said Sara Dillefeld, Director of Domestic Violence Family Centered Services. “Victims of human trafficking who come to The Center may have access to our two emergency shelters, specialized counselors, and intensive case management which may include legal and financial assistance.  We take each instance case by case and will do all we can to stay trauma informed and client-centered.”

When victims escape a trafficking situation, the factors that made them vulnerable to exploitation are still present and The Center for Prevention of Abuse can provide services to help with those needs.  All services are free and confidential. Survivors will be assigned a case manager who will assess his/her needs and provide resources, services, and referrals to the survivor to meet those needs.  All services will be provided in the language of choice of the survivor. These can include, but are not limited to:

·         Transportation assistance
·         Finding safe, affordable housing
·         Legal assistance
·         Medical and mental health services
·         Criminal justice advocacy
·         Linkage to public benefits
·         Education
·         Job training/employment

To learn more about Human Trafficking or to receive training please contact:  Sara Dillefeld at The Center for Prevention of Abuse, 309-691-0551 or

Camille Yameen
The Center for Prevention of Abuse / 309.272.2904                                                                           

About The Center for Prevention of Abuse

The Center for Prevention of Abuse is the only agency authorized by the State of Illinois to provide a combination of domestic violence, sexual assault and adult protective services. Annually, more than 5,000 women, men and children, affected by violence and abuse are served by The Center. The Center offers school-based abuse prevention programming to students pre-K through college age, reaching out to about 30,000 young people each year. Through these activities, plus community presentations and trainings, The Center lives out its mission which is to empower everyone – women, men and children – to live free from violence and abuse.  For more information about The Center, visit or call 309-691-0551. The crisis line is available 24/7 1-800-559-SAFE (7233).


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