The Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST), a not-for-profit organization, was established in 1998 in the wake of the El Monte sweatshop case where 72 Thai garment workers were kept for eight years in slavery and debt bondage. Upon their release and under the leadership of CAST’s founder Dr. Kathryn MacMahon, a group of concerned community activists realized something needed to be done to address the re-emergence of slavery in our own backyards.
With this in mind, CAST was created in 1998, with Little Tokyo Service Center as its fiscal agent, to provide intensive case management, comprehensive services, and advocacy to survivors healing from the unspeakable violence endured during slavery. Today, CAST is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual human rights organization located in Los Angeles that has been nationally and internationally recognized for its dedication to the identification of trafficking survivors, the mobilization of all sectors of the community to identify and advocate against trafficking, and the provision of direct services for victims.
With an annual budget of $1.8M a year, CAST provides comprehensive long-term services through a three-pronged empowerment approach which includes Social Services, Legal Services, and Outreach and Training. The organization also operates the first shelter in the nation solely dedicated to serving victims of trafficking and established the first partnership of its kind with Saban Free Clinic – a family clinic in Los Angeles trained to address the health and mental health needs of trafficking victims. As the first organization in the country dedicated exclusively to serving survivors of human trafficking and modern-day slavery, CAST’s mission is to assist persons trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and slavery-like practices and to work toward ending all instances of such human rights violations.