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In February 2011, CAST launched the National Survivor Network (NSN) in an effort to foster connections between survivors of diverse forms of human trafficking and to build a national anti-trafficking movement in which survivors are at the forefront and recognized as leaders.  Members of the NSN include survivors with various backgrounds and origins spanning 24 countries, including Ghana, India, Indonesia, Columbia, and the United States. Active members currently reside in over 32 tates including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C. The NSN’s diverse membership makes it uniquely representative of the myriad of situations and dynamics experienced by survivors of human trafficking. By connecting survivors across the country, the NSN supports and encourages survivors to realize and develop confidence in their own leadership qualities and for others to learn to value their insight not just as survivors but as experts in the field. 



To bring together a community of survivors
of human trafficking by creating a platform
for survivor-led advocacy, peer-to-peer mentorship,
and empowerment that embraces all survivors,
regardless of gender, age, nationality or type
of trafficking experience.


According to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), a “severe form of trafficking in persons” is defined as follows:

  1. the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act in which that act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion; or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  2. the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

A "commercial sex act" is defined by the TVPA as “any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.” Since the TVPA is the federal legislation which determines allocation of services for victims, it is with this definition that the NSN aligns its membership. However, the members of the NSN recognize that this definition, like any legislation, can be and is open to interpretation. Further, the NSN respects that other networks may have differing opinions and interpretations of this same legislation. 


Please email ima@castla.org to apply for membership or to view member specific information.

About the Issue

Traffickers threaten to or use force, fraud, and/or coercion to bring their victims under their control. The resulting exploitation is essentially a modern-day form of slavery, as human trafficking victims are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor, or sometimes both. As mandated by the TVPA, a child under the age of eighteen who is induced to perform a commercial sex act is a victim of sex trafficking with or without the use of force, fraud, and/or coercion.

  • It is estimated that 29.8 million people are enslaved around the world today (Global Slavery Index: http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/findings/#rankings)
  • Only 46,570 victims are identified globally (U.S. Department of State)
  • There are between 600,000 and 800,000 victims trafficked through international borders each year, which does not include the millions trafficked domestically within their own countries (U.S. Department of State)
  • Between 14,500 and 17,500 human beings are trafficked into the United States annually (U.S. Department of State)
  • It is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the 21st century – a $15.5 billion industry (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)



Members of the National Survivor Network (NSN) have become influential advocates; the impact of our voices has led to stronger legislative policies and greater public awareness.

Every year, members of the NSN identify key peices of federal legislation that they believe are most important to the prevention of human trafficking and the protection of victims.

The current policy priority for 2017 is the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act (S. 104 and H.R. 459) recently introduced at the federal level. Read the NSN letter in support HERE

2017-2018 Policy Priorities

Implementation and Updates  to The United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking / Voices of Human Trafficking Act

In 2015 the President signed into law the Survivors of Human Trafficking Empowerment Act (Sec. 115 of Public Law 114-22). This Act established the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, which s provides advice and recommendations to the Senior Policy Operating Group and the President's Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

NSN Priorities for continuing to assist the Council are to work on removing the sunset clause, allowing the council to become a permanent part of the Anti-Trafficking efforts of the government. To remove the language that is a barrier to paying the council for the time and expertise. As well as add language that authorizes funding for the council to compensate time, travel, and any materials required in the general operations and creation of the annual report.

We also continue to engage with the Department of State and the Whitehouse on the appointment of additional council members---as only 11 have been appointed but 14 members are eligible.

Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017-Department of Health and Human Services

In 2013, the US government finalized its five year strategic action plan to improve government coordination to prevent, identify and serve survivors of human trafficking. This strategic plan is a available for review at http://www.ovc.gov/pubs/FederalHumanTraffickingStrategicPlan.pdf.

In 2017 the NSN will focus on ensuring the Department of HHS is effectively fulfilling its commitments in this long-term plan from a survivor-informed perspective. As well as offering our services to them for the continuation of this endeavor.

Department of State-Implementation of consular videos required under TVPRA of 2013

The TVPRA of 2013 required the US government to begin showing videos to educate all temporary workers entering the United States on the risk of human trafficking and provide information about how to reach out for help. The video produced under this mandate is available for viewing at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji-f3dkeOIE&feature=youtu.be

In 2017 the NSN will work with the Department of State to ensure the video and other information provided to those entering the United States is accessible and survivor informed. To overcome some general assumptions on language use, as well as barriers that have been identified by survivors of trafficking with the current video and brochure.

Trafficking Survivors Relief Act (TSRA) S104/HR49

TSRA is a federal law to vacate and expunge the criminal arrests and convictions of individuals who are victims of trafficking. This bill will allow survivors to move beyond the federal crimes they were forced into committing while victims of trafficking. It will give court a process to determine and grant vacatur for those crimes directly related to their trafficking victimization.

NSN will champion the passage of TSRA at the federal level in order to help establish the gold standard for states to model their own vacatur laws after. There are many states with very limited vacatur laws that do not give the full scope of crimes victims are forced into committing by their traffickers.

Survivor Resources


  • National Human Trafficking Resource Center: (888) 373-7888
  • Freedom Network (http://freedomnetworkusa.org/): a national network of service providers that specializes in providing holistic and client centered services
  • RAINN (Rainn.org) Rape Abuse and Incest National Network: (800) 656-HOPE (4673)
  • Find your local rape crisis center: http://www.centers.rainn.org



  • Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) 24-hour help and reporting Hotline: (888) 539-2373



  • MISSSEY (Misssey.org) on-call number for Commercially Sexually Exploited Children: (510) 290-6450


If you are a survivor of human trafficking and would like more information about how to join the National Survivor Network, please use the contact form below.



Several members of the National Survivor Network (NSN) regularly speak on the issue of human trafficking, as well as offer training and technical consultation to a variety of audiences and agencies. If you are looking to invite a member of the NSN to speak at an upcoming event or conference, please contact Ima Matul, CAST Survivor Organizer: ima@castla.org. Please note that every individual charges a speakers fee or honorarium, which will vary by individual. Travel and accommodations for speakers should be covered by the requesting organization.