What Do We DO About It?

We have discussed a lot about human trafficking victims and what some of their experiences are like. We talked about laws to help these people, and discussed who the traffickers are. But one thing we haven’t talked about yet is what we do for victims of human trafficking once they are out? What does our society have set in place to help victims recover and become connected with themselves and the rest of the world again?

I am proud to say that the United States actually has a lot of different resources provided from several different forms of government. I will say that I was somewhat shocked, but pleased, to find this out. That being said I am going to discuss a few different programs that the United States provides to help victims post trafficking.

Post trafficking victims face a lot of challenges. “Victims of human trafficking may suffer from anxiety, panic disorder, major depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders as well as a combination of these.  For some victims, the trauma induced by someone they once trusted results in pervasive mistrust of others and their motives.  This impact of trauma can make the job of first responders and those trying to help victims difficult at best. “(ASPE) In addition, some victims have so much trauma that they end up having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For those that struggle with PTSD, the characterizing symptoms include intrusive re-experiencing of the trauma (e.g., flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts), avoidance or numbing of trauma-related, or trauma-triggering, stimuli (e.g. avoiding certain places, people, and situations), and hyper arousal (e.g., heightened startle response, and inability to concentrate).” (ASPE) If this is left untreated it can become chronic or debilitating.  

This is why it is important to have governmental treatment plans that are offered all over the country for these people. The U.S Committee for Refugees and Immigrants provides a National Human Trafficking Victim Assistance Program. “Trafficking survivors require numerous types of emergency and long-term services. USCRI provides comprehensive, trauma-informed, culturally-appropriate case management services and supports through a network of providers in 28 states, the District of Columbia, three American territories, and three Freely Associated States (Compact Nations).” They provide extensive services not only to the victims, but also to their families.

Another way that the United States helps victims is through the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance (OVA). “OVA oversees the work of victim specialists located throughout our 56 field offices.” “These specialists—experienced in crisis intervention, social services, and victim assistance—work closely with agents to ensure that potential victims of trafficking are rescued, transferred to safe locations, and provided with referrals for medical, mental health, housing, legal, and other necessary services. “ OVA is a great resource that helps victims find help in many places for different aspects of their experiences or trauma.

All in all, the United States provides a great deal of services. However, how many people are these offered to? And how many victims know about these? And do these services cost anything from the victim’s pocket? These are important questions to ask, however, having programs to begin with is a good step in the right direction.