The Mission of the Indiana Protection of Abused and Trafficked Humans Taskforce (IPATH) is using a survivor-centered approach to more effectively prevent, detect, and prosecute human trafficking in Indiana and to empower and support survivors.
With over 150 members statewide, the IPATH Taskforce comprises law enforcement, advocacy groups, service providers, worker organizers, and community leaders to facilitate a coordinated, multi-disciplinary state response to more effectively address human trafficking throughout Indiana. IPATH believes this can only be successfully accomplished through a survivor-centered, trauma-informed, culturally sensitive approach. The IPATH Taskforce provides year-round training opportunities and technical assistance for IPATH Taskforce members and partner agencies.
Regional taskforces are invited to meaningfully engage IPATH through quarterly Core meetings and are additionally encouraged to become members of and/or co-chair IPATH committees appropriate to their professional roles. Though it is understood that regional taskforces are autonomous agents, if they wish to be included in IPATH, they will be expected to adhere, at minimum, to IPATH professional standards. Regional Taskforces currently include: Anti-Trafficking Network of Northeast Indiana (ATNNI), based in Ft. Wayne; Northwest Indiana (NWI) Anti-Trafficking Taskforce, based in Lake County; Southern Indiana Human Trafficking Coalition, based in Jeffersonville; and Southwest Indiana Regional Coalition Against Trafficking (SIRCAT) based in Evansville.
The Law Enforcement Committee (LEC) of the IPATH Taskforce is a committee comprising local, state, and federal law enforcement, including law enforcement officers/agents, probation officers, prosecutors, and LE victim specialists, all of whom use a victim-centered approach to most effectively detect, investigate, and prosecute human trafficking in Indiana and recover and protect survivors. The LEC 2020 objectives focus on standardizing and streamlining law enforcement training for agencies and departments across the state.
The Victim Services committee comprises multi-disciplinary professionals who currently serve youth and adult survivors of trafficking, those who serve populations particularly vulnerable to trafficking, and those who serve in the parallel movements of domestic violence and sexual assault. The Adult Victim Services Committee focuses on meeting the needs of adult survivors, and the Youth Victim Services Committee focuses on youth/juvenile services. The Victim Services Committee additionally houses two working groups: Healthcare and Lived Experience Experts.
Evidence-based best practice tells us successful human trafficking prosecutions engage comprehensive victim services from initial recovery, through the completion of the trial, and beyond. As such, the Victim Services Committees provide key partnerships with law enforcement to secure a continuum of care for victims of human trafficking and to empower witness testimony on behalf of the prosecution.
In order to deliver measurable outcomes, each committee sets objectives. The Victim Service Committee strives to solidify and strengthen referral pathways among different agencies serving diverse needs and provides training to identify and serve victims of human trafficking.
The Labor Trafficking Committee (LTC) comprises law enforcement, advocacy groups, service providers, worker organizers, and community leaders who serve the needs of, protect/defend the rights of, or are community leaders of populations particularly vulnerable to labor trafficking. These populations include: immigrants, refugees, individuals with disabilities, individuals without access to stable housing, migrant workers, low-wage workers, domestic workers, and sex industry workers. LTC’s 2019 objective was to create labor trafficking webinars in both Spanish and English and upload them to the Taskforce website, as well as expand LTC membership geographically across the state.
Community Awareness, Prevention, and Education
The IPATH C.A.P.E. Committee mission is to raise awareness of trafficking in Indiana and provide education to residents in our state for the purpose of helping individuals, organizations, and state systems effectively identify and respond to trafficking. The C.A.P.E. Committee currently comprises the Youth, LGBTQIA+, and Anti-Demand Working Groups.
The LGBTQIA+ Working Group is composed of individuals, agencies, and organizations who are committed to education and service provision that is inclusive and utilizes best practices when working with LGBTQIA+ populations to increase capacity of multidisciplinary professionals across Indiana.
The Anti-Demand Working Group, a multi-disciplinary group of law enforcement and victim services, works on initiatives to address and lower the demand for sex buying in Indiana.
The Youth Working Group houses the IPATH Taskforce’s interactive sex trafficking prevention curriculum for youth titled, “What Would I Do?”.
The Core committee is a steering committee for IPATH comprised of all regional taskforce chairs, the IPATH co-chairs, the ICESAHT Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, committee chairs, and working group chairs as well as representatives from the IN Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Child Services. They meet quarterly to discuss statewide trends, resources, trainings, and other anti-trafficking efforts and utilize USAO VTC sites across Indiana—Evansville, Louisville, Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, and Hammond to meet statewide.