Contact: Michelle Nicolet, 312.368.2675
For Immediate Release
The Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation today that will extend critical services to immigrant survivors of human trafficking, torture, and other serious crimes. SB3007, which passed the State Senate late last month with just one dissenting vote, is now headed to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
Under existing law, human trafficking victims are eligible to receive employment authorization and federally funded public benefits such as food assistance and health care once they have received a visa or been granted asylum. But this process may take months and even years, leaving survivors without the support they need while they are at their most vulnerable.
SB 3007 would serve as a bridge for these individuals by providing access to state-funded assistance, including help with food, cash assistance, and health care, for up to one year while survivors are preparing their visa applications and awaiting a final decision on their visas, as long as they meet all other eligibility requirements for the programs.
“This legislation will make Illinois a leader in the fight to end human trafficking,” said Rep. Lisa Hernandez, chief sponsor of SB 3007. “It will provide survivors of human trafficking with the support they need while they are cooperating with law enforcement to go after the perpetrators of the crimes against them. “
“Survivors of trafficking and torture desperately need a safe place to live, adequate food, immediate attention to their health needs, and ultimately an opportunity to stabilize their lives,” said Kimberly Drew, Senior Project Manager of Economic Security Policy with Heartland Alliance. “SB 3007 would extend a much-needed lifeline to these survivors.”
“Governor Rauner should sign SB 3007 into law,” said Dan Lesser, Director of Economic Justice at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. “SB 3007 provides the protection needed by these survivors, who are currently escaping trafficking, seeking safety, and highly vulnerable to further exploitation and harm.”
In addition to receiving bipartisan support in both chambers, SB 3007 also has the support of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and over 50 other human services providers, faith-based organizations, and community advocacy organizations that serve foreign-born victims of human trafficking and other serious crimes.
Heartland Alliance for Human Rights and Human Needs – the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest – believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives. Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for nearly one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. For more information, visit: www.heartlandalliance.org
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.orgDownload this