Human trafficking is a crime of severe control of one person by another through force, fraud or coercion in exchange for some kind of labor or sex service. COVA is one of the only organizations in CO that serves both labor and sex trafficking victims and needs funding to continue to support clients with needs that cannot be met by other resources. These funds will pay for clients' rent, basic necessities, food, transportation, phone payments, translation services, and other needs.
Clients are typically in acute crisis when they come to COVA, often without stable housing and with a host of needs. Some longer-term clients have established tenuous stability, but the COVID crisis has upended their lives. Many clients are now unable to work, social service programs they've been relying on are stretched thin, and it is more difficult to access help now that most workers are remote.
Over 70% of financial assistance goes to undocumented clients as they are ineligible for most programs. Many clients were trafficked for labor in construction, restaurants, hotels, agriculture, and housecleaning services. Others were trafficked for sex. Many experience polyvicimization - 37% of clients also suffered domestic violence and 40% also have children. The assistance COVA provides keeps clients from becoming homeless, returning to exploitative forms of work, or going back to abusive relationships.
In March, client needs went 38% over what COVA normally budgets. April went 85% over and, only factoring in current clients, expected May costs are already 92% over budget. COVA receives an average of 3-5 new clients per month. Many are non-English speakers and staff are relying heavily on a language line for dialects other than Spanish, which is adding to the cost. Interpretation costs have more than tripled since February. COVA typically averages $390/month for interpretation. The March cost was $1,300, as staff are spending hours on the phone with clients answering questions they have about the pandemic because there is no information available in their language and helping clients navigate complicated systems, such as assisting those need who help applying for unemployment and require a phone interpreter.
COVA needs YOUR support to continue to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our state. Please give today!