By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
Although attention to the issue of human trafficking has increased, in many communities, specific services to support survivors of trafficking have yet to be developed. In some areas, agencies that typically serve survivors of intimate partner violence and/or sexual assault are leading the way to ensure that survivors of trafficking also can receive the support and resources they need.
There are many potential overlaps between trafficking and intimate partner violence, including the following:
According to Futures Without Violence, some of the services that survivors of trafficking need include physical and mental healthcare, legal services, assistance with immigration issues, and tangible resources, such as housing.
Across the country, many agencies are collaborating with others in their community to ensure that survivors of trafficking have access to these resources. For example, in New York, Sanctuary for Families has a comprehensive Anti-Trafficking Initiative. In New York City, Safe Horizon has an Anti-Trafficking Program, which both provides services to victims and works to educate the community about this issue. In Dallas, Mosaic Family Services offers support, such as legal representation and counseling, to survivors of both trafficking and domestic violence. Other organizations, such as the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence in Corvallis, Oregon, help raise awareness about trafficking by providing information on their web-site.
Other resources exist to help agencies who wish to provide competent services to survivors of trafficking. These include a manual for domestic violence service provider agencies from the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a set of recommendations from the Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence, and an assessment guide from the Polaris Project.
There’s a lot of work to be done to continue to educate the public about trafficking and to ensure that there are adequate services for survivors in every community. We’re thankful to those who are leading the way in communities across the country to both prevent and respond to this important issue.