Illinois Now Offers Victims Of Trafficking Relief Through Tattoo Removal

November 7, 2014

ERASEYourTattooIllinois and New Hampshire are two states that are enacting laws to help provide relief to human trafficking victims. Chicago is a major hub for human trafficking in the US. Chicago is the main location for illegal trafficking because of the proximity to two major airports as well as its central location in the United States. Victims are often flown in and then moved outside of the area via car, bus or train. The large population and centralized location offers traffickers many options to conceal their illegal activity as well as routes to traffic people to multiple nearby cities and states.

Human trafficking is a federal crime and state legislators and Attorney Generals office’s have decided to do something about the problem, as well as offer more support to victims caught in this situation. One ways the state of Illinois is offering help to these victims is by compensating the cost of laser tattoo removal and offering victims a way to move forward with their lives, free of the tattoos that their trafficker placed on their body.

Illinois currently has a Crime Victims Compensation Law, which specifies trafficking victims can be compensated for their laser tattoo removal through an outreach program. The law works with the Crime Victims Compensation fund,  run by the office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The goal is to help provide service and support to crime victims in Illinois and Chicagoland area by providing compensation, therapy services, and advocacy during legal procedures.

The Crime Victims Compensation Law covers “pecuniary loss” caused by the crimes which includes laser tattoo removal in any studio in the state. The website states that the Fund  “provides direct financial ?assistance to innocent victims of violent crime to reimburse out-of-pocket expenses related to the crime.”

Laser tattoo removal is covered and victims will be compensated for 100% of the cost of tattoo removal once the claim is submitted to the State Attorney office. The process to initialize the compensation is to fill out a form on the Attorney Generals website You can also call 1-800-228-3368 for more information on Tattoo Removal Compensation.

"Illinois State Senate" by Daniel Schwen - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons -


March 22, 2013

Illinois Attorney General Lisa MadiganSpringfield — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today applauded House lawmakers for their unanimous support of legislation to assist victims of human trafficking who have been branded by their offenders. House members voted 108-0 today to send House Bill 2640 to the Senate.

Criminal offenders who engage in human trafficking subject their victims to horrific abuse. Increasingly these offenders have been known to forcefully tattoo their victims so that the tattoo can serve as brand and sign of ownership, and the tattoos can include bar codes or a trafficker’s nick name.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Burke and crafted in conjunction with Madigan’s office, will allow victims of human trafficking who have been branded by their trafficker to be reimbursed for the cost of removing the branding through the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Fund, which was implemented to help reduce the financial burden imposed on victims of violent crime and their families. This will help victims to have the tattoos removed and recover from the crime.

“This legislation will aid human trafficking victims who are subject to often horrific victimization and involuntary servitude,” Madigan said. “Removal of branding is not only a painful experience but a costly one, and it is considered a vital part of a victim’s psychological and emotional healing.”

The bill will add branding to the list of expenses for which a crime victim may be compensated under the Illinois Crime Victims Compensation Act. It requires the victim seek removal of the branding with an authorized or licensed tattoo remover.

“Victims of human trafficking have endured unimaginable trials, and they cannot truly break free if they still bear the physical reminders of such a painful experience,” Rep. Burke said. “Helping to remove the tattoos that were forced on them and literally branded them as property is essential to helping these individuals live with the freedom and dignity they deserve.”


Transforming the Past Through Ink

“Transforming the Past Through Ink” Columbia Chronicle Article

By Sophia Coleman, Contributing Writer

An abusive ex-lover’s name tattooed on one’s skin becomes hidden under a wreath of exotic lilies on the lower back of a young woman. An ornate black and white seahorse effortlessly covers the name of a violent gang. Splotchy, discolored burns on the leg of a woman are transformed into a beautiful garden of purple flowers.

Scars may appear to last forever, but with the help of a free Chicago-based program called Sacred Transformations, people now have the ability to transform their unwanted marks into gorgeous works of art.

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