“This program has been life-changing for the survivors that Heartland Alliance serves. The passage of this bill means that this important program will continue to help survivors meet their most basic human needs such as food and healthcare.” Kimberly Drew, Legislative Advocacy Director
CHICAGO (PRWEB) August 20, 2019
Governor JB Pritzker recently signed HB2188 into law, which allows for the continuation of critical services to immigrant survivors of human trafficking, torture, and other serious crimes. HB2118 ensures that survivors continue to have access to state-funded assistance, such as nutrition support, cash assistance, and health care. These services can be accessed for up to one year while they are preparing their visa applications, and awaiting a final decision on their visas.
Heartland Alliance led advocacy for the passage of HB2118 through insights gleaned from its Freedom from Trafficking program. Many of the participants struggled to meet their basic needs and therefore, the continuation of this bill ensures that those we serve can maintain access to vital supports.
Before this program was put in place, human trafficking survivors were only eligible to receive employment authorization and federally funded public benefits, like food assistance and health care, after they received a visa or were granted asylum. But those often lengthy processes left many without the support they needed while they were at their most vulnerable.
See the attached full press release for more information and quotes from legislators. Heartland Alliance staff, as well as a participant, are available to share more about the impact this bill will have on survivors.