Victims of crimes such as domestic violence and human trafficking are either protected or made more vulnerable owing to the laws of their locations. Based on expert interactions with victims, whose identities are protected, this article will expose readers to a worldview to compare and contrast victims’ journeys that have led to their legal disenfranchisement.
The topics of domestic violence and human trafficking were selected because of their connectedness as intimate crimes that are facilitated through similar dynamics of power and control by aggressors. Working with immigrant survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking provides attorneys and advocates opportunities to have a glimpse into many different cultures, languages, beliefs, and religions to compare experiences through the same baseline understanding of the selected crimes. There are many differences among victims but each victim can relate to others as survivors. The concept of victim helps frame the need for intervention on a serious topic, but the term survivor truly reflects the paths to empowerment that victims find as they heal from abuse. Thus, victim and survivor may be used interchangeably in the following.