Right now in the state of Connecticut, a victim can’t talk to a human trafficking counselor confidentially. That’s because anything they say could be subpoenaed in court. The protection of privacy is legally afforded to providers serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, but not those serving trafficking victims.
Right now, there are kids we can’t get in front of. We can’t let them know that their experience has a name: trafficking. We can’t tell them that what happened to them is not their fault. And we can’t let them know that there is a path towards freedom and a better life.
But a new bill, SB1043, will create a powerful tool to change this dynamic.
It addresses a serious gap in our ability to help children recover from trafficking and exploitation. It protects the privacy of the children we serve and supports their access to services by establishing that communication between our staff and the children we work with is confidential. This simple bill will alleviate the fear that one of our staff would be forced to reveal sensitive information about our youth. (This fear has already resulted in victims of child trafficking being denied our services.)
This is one of several proposed Connecticut laws on human trafficking that we support this legislative session, including SB 930, HB 7309 and HB 7310. SB 1043 in particular is getting less attention and would have tremendous impact on our work. Human trafficking is a horrendous trauma – and victims deserve protection and privacy.
Victims should have the right to decide who sees their information and when.
Sadly, children who have been through trafficking know that they have to be vigilant about who they trust. They should be able to trust those in place to help them. This law will help liberate children from some deep-rooted fears: fear of revealing too much; fear of their testimony reaching someone they don’t trust; fear of consequences from saying something that could get them into trouble.
This kind of law is already in place in several other states. Because of you, over 50 pieces of testimony have already reached the Connecticut Judiciary Committee in support of SB1043.
NOW WE HAVE ANOTHER CRITICAL STEP THAT REQUIRES EVERYONE TO ACT FAST.
Any day now, the Judiciary Committee will decide whether or not to move this legislation forward. We need you to email the Judiciary Committee members right now to ask them to bring SB1043 up for a vote and reiterate your support for the bill.