HART (Human Anti-trafficking Response Team)

Red Flags Internet Safety School Resources Trainings AWARDS/PHOTOS 
What to do...
If you are not safe, call or Text
If you need assistance, call the National Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 (or text 233733)
If you are aware of a child who is being victimized, call the Careline 1-800-842-2288

About HART Contacts DMST Information Newsletters News/Media Organizations Public Acts Reports Services Videos

Internet Safety Training!
March 20th, 2024, via Zoom

Training Details & Registration



     DCF HART Team Leads and Liaisons (3-1-24)
     E-mail:   DCFHART@ct.gov
     MDT Coordinators/CCA Directory (3-1-24)



Training Videos:



INFORMATION about Human Trafficking and Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking


About HART   HART DATA:  2018, 20172016,  2015, 2014

The Human Anti-trafficking Response Team (HART) was created in order to focus on and reduce Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST).  In October of 2014 The Department of Children and Families (DCF) received a $1 million federal grant to improve Connecticut's response to child victims of domestic sex trafficking.  The five-year grant from the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families will support DCF's efforts to coordinate the response by local and state agencies, including law enforcement and the medical community, so that child victims of sex trafficking receive effective and comprehensive treatment and legal services.     

The State of Connecticut Legislature has created legislation to promote public awareness and prevention of child sex trafficking, to provide for ongoing monitoring of efforts to combat trafficking, to clarify mandatory reporting, and to provide a statewide oversight and monitoring body.

The State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) has increasingly sharpened its focus on the growing issue of DMST afflicting children across the State. Since 2008, over 800 children have been referred to DCF as possible victims of DMST. Connecticut DCF has put forth tremendous efforts to end the sale of our children.

These efforts fall within three categories:
  • Identification and Response
  • Awareness and Education
  • Restoration and Recovery
There are six Human Anti-trafficking Response Teams in Connecticut. These are inter-disciplinary teams lead by experienced HART Liaisons and includes; the child’s treatment team, specialized providers and legal representation if indicated.
The HART Liaison works with the local Multi Disciplinary Team (MDT) ensuring the cases are afforded all resources to maximize prosecutions while ensuring the child and families are provided the appropriate medical and mental health services they are entitled to as victims.






Internet Safety

NCMEC, Safety Pledge Toolkit: https://ncmec-resources.s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/ncmec-safety-pledge-toolkit.pdf This Toolkit addresses children as young as Kindergarten Age through teens. There are fun videos, questions to answer in the toolkit, and printable resources.


NCMEC - NetSmartz, Recourses for Parents, Educators, & Communities: https://www.missingkids.org/netsmartz/resources

*This site has a tremendous amount of resources, below is just a sampling.

  • Online Enticement:



  • Sexting & Sextortion:


  • Talking to Teens about Sexting:

https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/netsmartz/downloadable/tipsheets/Talking%20to%20Teens%20About%20Sexting.pdf (English)

https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/netsmartz/downloadable/tipsheets/Talking%20to%20Teens%20About%20Sexting%20ES.pdf (Español)

  • You Sent a Sext, Now What?:

https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/netsmartz/downloadable/tipsheets/You_Sent_A_Sext_Now_What.pdf (English)

https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/netsmartz/downloadable/tipsheets/You_Sent_A_Sext_Now_What%20ES.pdf (Español)

  • Gaming Safety Tips:

https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/netsmartz/downloadable/tipsheets/gaming-safely.pdf (English)

https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/netsmartz/downloadable/tipsheets/gaming-safely-es.pdf (Español)


  • Parents' Guide to Smart Phone Safety:

https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/netsmartz/downloadable/tipsheets/Parents%27%20Guide%20to%20Smartphone%20Safety.pdf (English)

https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/netsmartz/downloadable/tipsheets/Parents%27%20Guide%20to%20Smartphone%20Safety%20ES.pdf (Español)

  • Cyberbullying:







Newsletter - HART Helps






  • a person must be eighteen of age or older to be guilty of prostitution
  • states attorneys and local law enforcement must document training, investigations of missing children, trafficking referrals, trafficking cases referred for prosecution, etc.
  • hotels/ motels/ inn or similar lodging must provide trafficking training  and awareness campaigns to all employees annually
  • hotels/ motels/ inn or similar lodging must keep guest transactions and receipts for at least 6-months

2015 Public Act 15-195:

  • expands the crime of human trafficking by broadening the conditions under which the crime is committed when the victim is a minor (under age 18);
  • requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to provide human trafficking victims the same services it must provide certain sexual assault victims under existing law;
  • expands the conditions under which a court must order the erasure of a juvenile's police and court records;
  • expands the list of crimes, including human trafficking, for which wiretapping may be authorized;
  • specifically allows the Office of Victim Services (OVS), under certain circumstances, to waive the two-year limitation on crime victim compensation applications for minors who are victims of human trafficking.

2014 Public Act 14-186:

  • Human Trafficking victims classified as “uncared for” DCF to provide services
  • DCF provides training to law enforcement on human trafficking of minors
  • Creation of MDT’s to work with human trafficking cases

2013 Public Act 13-166:
"An Act Concerning Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking in Persons".  Alignment with federal TVPA, Class C felony if the person knew or reasonably should have known at the time that such other person was either younger than the age of eighteen, forfeiture properties, affirmative defense for minors, vacating records, public awareness and prevention, ongoing monitoring of efforts to combat trafficking, mandatory data reporting, statewide oversight and monitoring body.

2012 Public Act 12-141:
"An Act Concerning Commercial Sexual Exploitation of a Minor". This new statute defines commercial sexual exploitation of a minor as a person who knowingly purchases advertising space for an advertisement for a commercial sex act that includes a depiction of a minor. Commercial sexual exploitation of a minor is a class C felony.

2011 Public Act 11-180:
The law provides in part that upon the arrest of any youth by an officer for a violation of section 53a-82, such officer shall report suspected abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Families in accordance with the provisions of sections 17a-101to 17a-101d.  Those reports should be made to the DCF Careline at 1-800-842-2288.

2010 Public Act 10-115:
“An Act Providing a Safe Harbor for Exploited Children” becomes law. The legislature amends Conn. General Statutes Section 53a-82 to state that a person must be sixteen years of age or older to be guilty of prostitution, and in any prosecution of a person sixteen or seventeen years of age, there shall be a presumption that the actor was coerced into committing such offense by another person.








Justice Department
LOVE 146 Referrals for Survivor Care (by DCF Office)
Village for Families and Children
LGBTQ Hotline Numbers (12/11/18)
Staying Safe: Tips for LGBTQ Youth for How to Protect Yourself and Your Community from Human Trafficking








Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking / HART









Love146's Not a Number curriculum offers prevention education to middle and high school age youth. Using a “train-the-facilitator” approach, Love146 maximizes the reach of the curriculum by training facilitators to implement the curriculum in schools, child welfare and juvenile justice agencies, residential programs, and other community settings.



Love146's Survivor Care Program provides targeted services to youth who are at high-risk for or confirmed survivors of child trafficking. In addition, Love146 offers services to providers and caregivers so that they are better able to support and meet the needs of these youth.





The Village Clinical Services.  The Village staff receive comprehensive training on the unique challenges faced by trafficking victims and their families.  We provide specialized care through a full range of custom programs, including outpatient therapy, therapeutic foster care and adoption, in-home and intensive therapy, and residential treatment. Our unwavering dedication helps those we serve to believe that their lives are meaningful and helps them achieve real change. Call 860-236-4511 to talk with one of our access staff, or visitwww.thevillage.org to learn more about our programs.


Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI)    founded in 1918, is a statewide nonprofit human services agency that addresses the need to provide new immigrants and refugees in Connecticut with services to help them become self-sufficient, integrated and contributing members of the community.  The organization focuses on helping those individuals who face significant barriers to adjusting.

Project Rescue, Anti-Human Trafficking Program is a program designed to assist victims of human trafficking identified in the State of Connecticut. It is funded under a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, within the U. S. Department of Justice and is operated by the International Institute of Connecticut (IICONN).
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Victims who are forced, defrauded or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. It is estimated that approximately 800,000 to 900,000 victims are trafficked annually across international borders, and between 14,000 and 17,000 of those victims are trafficked into the US. In cooperation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut and federal and local law enforcement, Project Rescue was established to provide help to these victims. The aims of this program are:

  • to provide comprehensive services to trafficking victims
  • to build effective community service networks to respond to victims’ needs
  • to provide training to service providers and the public
  • Under the Project, comprehensive services include:
    • Housing assistance
    • English and job training skills
    • Health services
    • Language and cultural assistance
    • Transportation
    • Legal and immigration services

While many of these services are provided by IICONN the Project makes referrals to other cooperating community organizations, to ensure that the individualized needs of each victim are met. Project Rescue also provides education and outreach to the community regarding the issues and data of human trafficking in Connecticut, the nature of trafficking and about the help that is available in Connecticut..

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact us. If you are part of a social service agency or other group that you think could benefit from training on trafficking issues, such as victim identification or dealing with victims, please contact IICONN at 203-336-0141, the National Trafficking Hotline at 888 373-7888 or email atprojrescue@iiconn.org.

Website:  https://cirict.org/

The Salvation Army's Bloom Initiative  works with survivors of sex and/or labor trafficking, male or female, ages 16 and up, in the Greater Hartford area. Bloom offers long-term, comprehensive case management to survivors on their journey from exploitation to empowerment. Services may include, but are not limited to, basic needs assistance, spiritual support, and referrals to community services. Survivors engage in three phases, Strengthen, Heal, and Revitalize. During the Strengthen phase, survivors are working to stabilize their housing and income. During Heal, survivors are connecting with spiritual and therapeutic services, as needed. In the final phase, Revitalize, survivors are reintegrating back into the community of their choosing. When program capacity permits, referrals are accepted from outside the Greater Hartford area. For more information on services and/or to make a referral, please call 860-218-1573.


Website: https://ctri.salvationarmy.org/SNE/CombatingTrafficking          


Connecticut Legal Services is Connecticut's largest nonprofit law firm, dedicated to improving the lives of low-income people by providing access to justice. We believe that Connecticut can be the first state with universal access to justice - a place where every person is treated fairly and has equal opportunities to thrive. We use a wide range of legal advocacy tools - from legal representation, to advocacy and training, to impact litigation - to make a difference for low-income clients.


The civil legal services provided by Connecticut Legal Services can make an enormous difference in legal and life outcomes for human trafficking survivors. Survivors may need help with restraining orders, child custody, or divorces. They may need access to government benefits if they cannot work because of physical or emotional trauma, or help overcoming barriers to housing, employment, or obtaining legal residency status in the United States. And legal services can help them vindicate their rights as victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system.


For more information about Connecticut Legal Services, please contact our Executive Director, Debi Witkin (dwitkin@connlegalservices.org ) or our Human Trafficking Fellow, Wesleigh Anderson (WAnderson@connlegalservices.org or 203-388-1708).


Website:  https://ctlegal.org/

Foster Care


Klingberg Family Centers provides therapeutic foster care and permanency services for children and youth ages 8-21 who have experienced abuse, neglect and other negatively impacting life experiences.  Klingberg’s therapeutic foster care program is committed to serving youth that are at high-risk for or victims of Human Trafficking.  Our clinical case managers receive extensive training in this area and able to provide families with additional training, supports and resources.  In addition, we work closely with Klingberg’s outpatient clinical services to provide a wraparound approach for the care of this high-need population.

For information about being approved as a foster parent or for placement requests, contact Director Tania Pierret at 860-832-5535 or by email attania.pierret@klingberg.org.   To learn more about the program model, contact Sr. Director, Christine Keys at 860-832-5532 or by email at christinek@klingberg.org.


The Underground
 is a grass-roots, faith-based initiative dedicated to ending sex trafficking and sexual exploitation in Connecticut. Established by eight church leaders in October 2013, we are a network of churches that believe in Jesus Christ and His mission. We currently represent over 850 members from more than 135 community churches and are growing. We believe that ending human trafficking and sexual exploitation requires the efforts and voices of many people and we are committed to working with those agencies and individuals steadfastly involved in abolition movement.

Website:   https://www.theundergroundct.org



1:1 Mentoring

We Matter!, a program of Klingberg Family Centers, is a 1:1 community based volunteer mentoring program for DCF involved youth, ages 14-21, who are identified as high risk for or victims of human trafficking.  Volunteer mentors are provided with specialized training to understand the unique needs of the mentees.  Mentors commit to a minimum of 6 hours of 1:1 time and at least weekly contact for a period of 12 months.  Program support is provided to both the mentor and mentee to build a lasting connection.  Mentors and mentees are provided with recreational, educational and vocational activities to enhance their relationship and development of life skills.  Group classes are provided to address prevention of victimization or re-victimization and safety skills. We Matter! serves youth from the New Britain, Waterbury and Bridgeport area offices.  All referrals are made through the DCF HART liaison. 

For more information, contact Program Coordinator, Ellie Cuifalo at 860-832-5519 or by email at ellie.cuifalo@klingberg.org.  



The Office of Victim Services
The Victim Compensation Program: If you or someone you know is the victim of a violent crime, the Victim Compensation Program may be able to help pay for certain crime expenses that are not covered by insurance or another financial resource.

Website:  https://www.jud.ct.gov/crimevictim/compensation.htm


Connecticut Lodging Association:  https://www.ctlodging.org/


Connecticut Institution for Refugees and Immigrants:  https://cirict.org/project-rescue/ 


VOCA Case Management (CM)  is funded through the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Office of Victim Services and administered by CCFSA (Connecticut Council Of Family Service Agencies) to address an identified need of case management services for victims of crime. VOCA CM offers community-based or home-based visits depending on the preference and need of the client.


Referrals:  Clients can be referred internally through your agency or externally through other community organizations, local law enforcement, hospitals, schools, etc.  Anyone can access the following URL to make referrals:  https://tinyurl.com/VOCAintakeCCFSA or over phone, 1-800-505-9000


Eligible Crimes for Case Management

  • Adult physical assault
  • Adult sexual assault
  • Adult sexually abused/physically abused as child
  • Arson
  • Bullying (verbal, physical, cyber)
  • Burglary, robbery
  • Child physical or sexual abuse, neglect
  • Elder abuse or neglect
  • Domestic violence, teen dating violence
  • Child pornography or exploitation
  • Hate crime
  • Human trafficking (labor or sex)
  • Identity theft/fraud/financial crime
  • Kidnapping (custodial or non-custodial)
  • Mass violence, terrorism
  • DUI/DWI incident, “hit and run”
  • Stalking/harassment
  • Survivors of homicide victims
  • Other

Cassandra DeFelice, MSW

Director of Programs

Gold Certified ETO Administrator

CT Council of Family Service Agencies

35 Cold Spring Road, Bldg. 400, Suite 411

Rocky Hill, CT  06067

860 571 0093, ext. 112







News / Media

Current Featured Article:  Investigator Courtney Desilet from the East Hartford Police Department Speaks Out

2019 Articles

Man Sentenced To 15 Years For Sex Trafficking
Tolland Public Library To Host Seminar On Child Trafficking Saturday
Plainfield Little League Coach Accused Of Trying To Solicit Teen For Sexual Activity In Rhode Island Suspended

Archived 2018 Articles
Feds Charge Hartford Man With Sex Trafficking A Minor
‘King Sin’ Gets 14 Years For Sex Trafficking Of Minor
Bridgeport Man Accused Of Soliciting 13-Year-Old Girl: Feds
Case Reveals Shame, Trauma Of Male Sex Trafficking Victims

Archived 2017 Articles
Grace Farms to take on human trafficking
Harvey, Irma, and Maria:  Natural Disasters and Human Trafficking
Waterford Man Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography
Hospitality/Hotelier's LOVE 146 Resources website
Human Trafficking Bill Would Increase Penalties, Impact Motels
Hartford man Charged with Sex-Trafficking three Minors
We all need to be more vigilant to stop human trafficking
Malloy announces Partnership to Help Hospitality Employees Identify Human Trafficking
Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council (TIP) Annual Report
Training to Sport Human trafficking
Hoteliers Take Sex-Trafficking Prevention 101
Wear Blue to raise awareness about human trafficking

Archived 2016 Articles
Letter from the Commissioner concerning the Hospitality Industry Training
Sex:  Fastest growing crime
SURVIVING:  Abused as a child, one victim is now working to help others
Exposing the underground
Connecticut went from a "C" to a "B"
State Battles Child Trafficking
C.E.O. of Backpage.com, Known for Escort Ads, Is Charged with Pimping a Minor
Sex Trafficker Sentenced to 10 Years; Exploited Minor Teen at Motels in State
An Act Strengthening Protections for Victims of Human Trafficking
Bridgeport Residents Charged with Sex Trafficking of a Minor
New Haven group working against Human trafficking to expand Survivor Care Program