Since 2009, The Life Link has worked closely with the New Mexico Attorney General's Office to provide long term, comprehensive and dignified services to victims of human trafficking. The Life Link has served the disenfranchised, homeless, mentally ill and substance dependent populations of Santa Fe for over 25 years. Due to The Life Link's existing housing programs, mental health treatment and addictions services, the opportunity for serving Human Trafficking survivors and providing long term, comprehensive treatment was already in place.
Recognizing the complexity of the predisposing features of trafficking survivors (homelessness, runaways/throwaways, mental illness, substance abuse, trauma, domestic violence, sexual assault, lack of primary support systems, etc) and the impact the trafficking experience has on the vulnerable and exploitable people being preyed on, The Life Link's work is guided at every level by the values of trauma-informed care: safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment.
Responding to the U.S. State Department's Trafficking In Persons Report (TIP) recommendation that local, state, national and international communities reach out to victims of this unconscionable crime, The Life Link established the 505-GET-FREE line in November, 2012. This resource/helpline receives texts and phone calls. The idea behind it is that the number is easy to remember, as a victim seldom has freedom of movement to look up numbers or ask for help, and when an opportunity presents, a victim can text, or call, the line for help or information.
Following a four month waiting period, the 505-GET-FREE line was added to the Polaris Project's Anti Human Trafficking website on April, 2013, the same day that Polaris launched it's text-able help line, BE-FREE. The Life Link hopes that all states will initiate text-able help lines for victims of trafficking. Victims desperately require a local response at precisely the moment the window of opportunity for safety presents itself for them to reach out.
The Life Link of Santa Fe, in collaboration with the New Mexico Attorney General's Office and the City of Santa Fe's Resolution 2013-42, are proudly leading the nation in raising the standard of care trafficked individuals receive for healing, and establishing a rights based, best practice for aftercare of victims. Resolution 2013-42 not only provides financial support for the 505-GET-FREE outreach effort, it also declares Santa Fe a "Free City," standing up against the crime of human trafficking, also called modern day slavery, and reaching out to the victims who are living in abject despair. This objective is addressed in the United Nations Anti Human Trafficking Protocol, an international document providing for protections of trafficked persons, recognizing the vulnerability of victims, with the goal of prosecution, protection, partnerships and preventing re-trafficking or victimization of victims.