IOFA is excited to announce the re-launch of the Asian American Trafficking Outreach Project (AATOP) with generous support from Help for Children/Hedge Funds Cares.

AATOP builds upon the pilot project’s efforts to raise awareness, engage the Asian American community and build capacity of Asian American serving providers to identify, refer and respond to the needs of survivors of human trafficking in culturally and linguistically appropriate ways.

To schedule a full-day introduction to child trafficking training or a half-day trauma-informed training, please contact Jody Haskin, AATOP Project Coordinator, at [email protected]

AATOP’s Beginnings:

The International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA), created AATOP as a one year pilot project with funding from the Asian Giving Circle in 2012.  Its goals were to build capacity of Asian American service providers to identify, refer, and respond to survivors of human trafficking from Asian American communities.  AATOP also worked to increase Asian American service organizations to participate in anti-trafficking coalitions and task forces.  AATOP reached these goals by partnering with various Asian American service providers to hold trainings and community events.

AATOP’s Pilot Program Key Outcomes and Accomplishments: 

  • reached out to and built relationships with around 25 API-serving social service, legal, research, community, leadership, and educational institutions and organizations
  • hosted a general community forum with a variety of service providers
  • hosted a meet and greet for attorneys with the Asian Pacific Legal Advocacy Network (APLAN)
  • conducted a human trafficking training for attorneys with the Chicago Bar Association (CBA)
  • developed a mental health specific training for clinicians working within these communities
  • hosted a Filipino-specific community forum with Filipino project partner CIRCA Pintig
  • had staff teach as a guest lecturer at University of Illinois Chicago’s Asian American Studies Program.

AATOP’s Relaunch:

With support from Help for Children/Hedge Fund Cares (HFC), AATOP’s 2016 activities will focus on connecting with social service providers serving Asian American children and youth.  AATOP will work in collaboration with these programs to increase their capacity to identify trafficked children and/or youth and refer them to culturally and linguistically appropriate trauma informed services.

AATOP Project Goals:

  • Engage and educate Asian American communities across Chicago to create a coordinated response to human trafficking.
  • Train a cadre of health, mental health and other social services professionals serving Asian American communities across Chicago to identify and assist trafficking survivors.
  • Implement culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach activities and campaigns to to raise awareness of human trafficking in Asian American communities across metropolitan Chicago.
  • AATOP’s outreach and training activities will be guided by a Community Advisory Board whose members will represent the diverse Asian American community.  The community advisory board will assist AATOP connect to resources and give input to ensure activies are as culturally and linguistically appropriate as possible.

The Asian American Trafficking Outreach Project (AATOP) aims to fill a critical gap that currently exists in outreach efforts to potential victims of human trafficking in Asian American communities. Many Asian countries are listed as sources of trafficked labor according to the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report. Vulnerable Asian immigrants in Chicago are susceptible to human trafficking in massage parlors, restaurants, factories, and other low-wage, unregulated industries that rely heavily on undocumented labor.  Young people within Asian communities are uniquely vulnerable, as they may be dealing with social pressure and stigma related to their adult development, in addition financial hardship.

Although victims of trafficking have the right to services and benefits under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, Asian American victims of this crime face significant obstacles in accessing services in the Chicago metropolitan area to which they are entitled. To date, little has been done to adapt training and outreach efforts to the Asian American community. The need for sensitization within the community regarding victim-centered service and treatment has also been noted by community-based researchers. IOFA’s initial survey of agencies serving human trafficking victims found that while agencies received significant numbers of clients of Asian descent, Asian American-focused organizations remain underrepresented in anti-trafficking coalitions and task forces.

This project seeks to address mental health needs within Asian American communities and promote safe environments and improved service delivery to human trafficking victims and those at risk within this population.  The inclusion of Asian American serving organizations in anti-trafficking efforts in Chicago, coupled with training and technical assistance, will provide organizations working in Asian American communities with resources they need to successfully identify and serve human trafficking victims.


Follow us on social media!


For more information, contact Project Coordinator, Jody Haskin at [email protected]

or Jae Jin Pak, AATOP Community Advisory Board Chair at [email protected]

Past Projects

[insert page=’past-projects’ display=’content’]