Survivors of sex trafficking are usually treated as criminals—who are arrested and prosecuted—rather than victims. But some courts are changing their approach, recognizing that those arrested on prostitution charges are often victims of coercion, violence, and trauma. This short film and accompanying viewers' guide profile some of the innovative ways courts are responding to the needs of human trafficking victims.
While each court is unique, they share a set of common principles including: responding to defendants’ trauma, connecting them to services, fostering collaboration across the agencies that support victims, and taking a flexible approach to how success is defined in light of the complex and unique challenges facing these victims.
From Defendant to Survivor won Best Documentary Award at the Human Trafficking Awareness Film Festival and was a finalist for the Media for a Just Society Award.