Monday, April 16, 2012

Asian American Trafficking Outreach Project (AATOP)

IOFA is pleased to announce the launch of the Asian American Trafficking Outreach Project (AATOP)! Through AATOP, we seek to work with Asian American-serving organizations in Chicago to better identify and serve the Asian American victims of human trafficking.

While Asian Americans are a small minority of trafficking victims, the need to focus on this particular population is nonetheless significant, especially since the largest number of people trafficked into U.S. come from East Asia and the Pacific.[i] Unfortunately, there currently exists a critical cap in the outreach efforts to potential trafficking victims in Asian American communities in Chicago. This is evidenced by the fact that, while agencies serving trafficking victims have been receiving considerable numbers of Asian clients, Asian American-focused organizations are underrepresented in anti-trafficking coalitions and task forces.

AATOP aims to fill this gap by 1) providing Asian American-serving organizations in Chicago with strategic training and technical assistance and by 2) integrating them into existing anti-trafficking networks. We envision a solid program that, in partnership with various cultural organizations, will have the organizational capacity, technical knowledge, cultural competency, as well as the linguistic skills to effectively identify and serve the unique needs of Asian American trafficking victims.

Our first step is to understand the currently existing outreach efforts in Asian American communities in Chicago and to get a comprehensive picture of the available resources out there. As part of that effort, we have sent out a survey to a number of Asian American-serving organizations in Chicago to inquire about their past and/or current involvement in anti-trafficking work as well as their interest in collaborating with IOFA on AATOP. We will keep you posted on the results. In the meanwhile, if you are interested in participating in AATOP or in learning more about Asian American victims of human trafficking in general, feel free to post a comment below! You can also email me at

Everyone here is eager to get AATOP going. It will be the first time ever for an Asian American-focused anti-trafficking initiative to be launched in Chicago. Check back frequently for more information about this exciting project!

Meesoh Kim, Intern

[i] U.S. Department of Justice, 10 Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons, available at (June 2004).

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