Monday, June 3, 2019

The Center for Prevention of Abuse Offers Specialized Training to Illinois American Water Employees on Indicators of Human Trafficking


The Center for Prevention of Abuse (CFPA) is proud to offer specialized trainings for Illinois American Water employees this June on the indicators of human trafficking. Human trafficking is a state and federal crime that exploits people through force, fraud, or coercion with the purposes of forced labor or commercial sex to make a profit.

“We are very proud to offer this important human trafficking training to utility workers and Illinois American Water,” said Carol Merna, Chief Executive Officer at the Center for Prevention of Abuse. “Utility workers are often welcomed into homes or buildings for their job, so they are in a unique position to spot some of the indicators and signs of human trafficking when they are on site. They may see something or hear something that does not feel quite right. Our goal for this training is to educate them on what those red flags might look like, what they should do in order to keep themselves safe, and how to report suspicious activity internally and to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.”

CFPA received a federal grant in late 2016 through a partnership with Heartland Human Health Care Services to offer an array services to human trafficking survivors – both sex and labor. CFPA opened its Human Trafficking Services department in 2018 and is the leading victim services agency within the Central Illinois Human Trafficking Task Force. CFPA was the first sanctioned, trained, and federally granted service provider for beds and client care for trafficking survivors south of Chicago.

“We are lucky to have a resource like the Center for Prevention of Abuse in our community and thank them for answering our call for training to help combat human trafficking.  Their expertise will help our team aid in the protection of our friends and neighbors while remaining safe,” said Roger Goodson, senior manager of operations and production for Illinois American Water’s Western Division. “There’s nothing more important to us at Illinois American Water than the safety of our team and the safety of our customers. We help protect our customers every day by delivering safe drinking water for public health as well as water for sanitation and critical fire protection. Our employees truly have a passion for helping others; this training provides additional tools to serve our customers.”

Staff at CFPA provide trainings on trafficking for law enforcement, medical providers, first responders, other state agencies, community service organizations, and provide prevention education in Tri-County schools.

“Since we opened our Human Trafficking Services department in January last year, CFPA has provided services to 50 survivors of labor and sex trafficking, 83% of whom are from right here in Central Illinois,” said Sara Sefried, Director of Human Trafficking Services at the Center for Prevention of Abuse. “Illinois ranks in the top ten states in the country for trafficking numbers, so we know this crime is happening not only in our state, but in our community. It’s important for us to educate community members and stakeholders about this issue, as well as continue providing excellent care for all survivors.”

Services are available to any survivor of human trafficking at CFPA regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, or immigration status. 
Indicators of Human Trafficking:

·         Being forced to work for little to no compensation;
·         Forced to work to repay incurred debts;
·         Forced to work by using threats of personal harm or harm to family;
·         Forced or pressured into prostitution or to do other sexual acts;
·         Minors who engage in commercial sex regardless of force, fraud or coercion;
·         Confiscated passport, birth certificate, or identification card to intimidate and control victim’s movements

When victims escape a trafficking situation, the factors that made them vulnerable to exploitation are still present and CFPA can provide services to help with those needs. All victim services are free and confidential. All services are provided in the survivor’s language of choice. To learn more about human trafficking or to receive training, contact Sara Sefried at ssefried@centerforpreventionofabuse.org


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

About Illinois American Water
Illinois American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people. American Water also operates a customer service center in Alton and a quality control and research laboratory in Belleville.  With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly-traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 7,100 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to over 14 million people in 45 states and Ontario, Canada. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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