Chapter 4 - §14. Human-trafficking caseworker-victim privilege

JurisdictionUnited States

§14. Human-trafficking caseworker-victim privilege

§14.1. Overview. A victim of human trafficking, whether or not a party to the action, has a privilege to refuse to disclose (and to prevent another person from disclosing) a confidential communication between the victim and a human-trafficking caseworker. Evid. C. §1038(a). Although the public policy for the human-trafficking caseworker-victim privilege has not been specifically defined, it would appear to be parallel with the policies underlying both the domestic-violence counselor-victim and sexual-assault counselor-victim privileges; that is, to encourage victims to provide counselors with the information necessary for them to provide advice and guidance to those who believe they have been the victims of human trafficking and to alleviate the apprehension and anxiety associated with the disclosure of such information to third parties without the victim's consent. See "Sexual-assault counselor-victim privilege," ch. 4-C, §12; "Domestic-violence counselor-victim privilege," ch. 4-C, §13.

§14.2. Elements of human-trafficking caseworker-victim privilege. For the human-trafficking caseworker-victim privilege to apply, there must be (1) a human-trafficking caseworker-victim relationship and (2) a confidential communication. Evid. C. §§1038(a), 1038.2(a).

1. Human-trafficking caseworker-victim relationship. The human-trafficking caseworker-victim relationship is established when a victim of human trafficking transmits confidential information to a human-trafficking caseworker. See Evid. C. §1038.2(a).

(1) Human-trafficking caseworker. A human-trafficking caseworker is a person who is employed by a human-trafficking victim service organization, whether receiving monetary compensation or not, and who possesses the required training in the counseling of human-trafficking victims. Evid. C. §1038.2(c); see also Evid. C. §1038.2(d) (defining "human-trafficking victim service organization").

(2) Victim. A victim is any person who consults a human-trafficking caseworker for the purpose of securing advice or assistance concerning a mental, physical, emotional, or other condition related to their experience as a victim of human trafficking. Evid. C. §1038.2(e).

2. Confidential communication. "Confidential communication" means any information including, but not limited to, written and oral communication, transmitted between the victim and the human-trafficking caseworker in the course of their relationship and in...

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