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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ugoh

Trauma-Informed Approach to Addressing Human Trafficking: What Does it Mean & Why is it Important?

Trauma-Informed Approach to Addressing Human Trafficking: What Does it Mean & Why is it Important?
Trauma-Informed Approach to Addressing Human Trafficking: What Does it Mean & Why is it Important?

People who have been exposed to trafficking and abuse of any kind often experience trauma. Unfortunately, their experience often leaves them impaired in one way or another. This is what therapy and counseling are designed to address in trafficking survivors. Our rehabilitation program at Mission Haven typically integrates this strategy to help DMST survivors forge a new path of life.

Trauma-Informed Approach to Addressing Sex and Human Trafficking

Due to the high level of trauma that human trafficking victims are faced with, they usually come out with a profound negative impact on their self-esteem, ability to function, social behavior, and general perception of the world around them. In a webinar released by the National Center for Trauma-informed Care, we see the full detail of how trauma can affect a trafficking survivor’s ability to recover.

According to a publication released by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB),

“Trauma-Informed care or therapy is a strengths-based framework grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma, that emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors, and that creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.”

In other words, a trauma-informed approach takes into consideration the suffering of survivors of trafficking. It is designed to strengthen and help them rebuild themselves and regain control over their lives and environment. The horrors that trafficking victims around the world are subjected to are pretty much difficult to describe in words completely.

Therefore, approaches like this aim to help these victims overcome the guilt, shame, demoralization, and mental oppression they suffered while under the control of their handlers. But most importantly, it is focused on assisting survivors in moving on with their life. This is at the center of runaway and homeless youth programs, as well as rehabilitation programs focused on helping survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking to start a new life.

Adopting Trauma-Informed Approaches in Caring for Sex Trafficking Survivors

If you work with an organization that is involved in caring for DMST survivors, child trafficking survivors, children who have been subjected to forced labor and involuntary servitude, runaway and homeless youth, etc., there are important tips that you should incorporate into your processes. This also applies to organizations that offer employment opportunities to trafficking survivors.

  • Increase trauma awareness within the agency and company by providing trauma-specific training to both staff and management.

  • Ensure your company or agency emphasizes the physical and emotional safety of the survivors and providers. If you are not able to make decisions, consider bringing up the subject to management, especially if you have trauma-affected persons among your staff.

  • As an agency caring for survivors, consider increasing the clients’ level of self-sufficiency and esteem by helping them overcome emotional distress and the hurts they experienced.

  • Help them convert their trauma history and current experiences into the strength they need to face the road ahead.

  • Take more training to become better at providing trauma-informed care using trauma-specific intervention techniques. See the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center’s guide on caring for trafficking victims.

How We Use Trauma-Informed Approaching in Caring For DMST Survivors

At Mission Haven, we have a unique array of services designed to help trafficking and DMST survivors overcome their past and make meaning of their suffering. This typically ranges from in-depth, one-on-one mental therapy to other important basics like education, mentorship, and counseling.

The Mission Haven is a non-profit, charity-funded organization focused on providing a transformational Haven of Healing for victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. We believe that every single DMST or child sex trafficking survivor still has a chance at life at its best. This approach is the ideal type of care that organizations and agencies caring for trafficking survivors, as well as runaways and homeless youths, can adopt to prepare for the road ahead.

Our goal at The Mission Haven is to provide them with all the support they need to start over. With your generous donations and support, we can continue to provide a truly safe haven of hope and healing equipped with essential resources to lift victims and survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking. To give, volunteer, or become a partner, feel free to contact us today.


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