Human Trafficking: How You Can Help

As human trafficking becomes more widely acknowledged across the United States, there comes a greater desire to find ways to end it. Finding the victims is a challenge on its own. The traffickers are very adept at keeping the victims under the radar by moving them around frequently and not allowing them to be alone. Additionally, the traffickers work very quickly to convince their victims not to trust law enforcement. This makes stopping human trafficking even more difficult. However, as difficult as it is to identify the victims of sex trafficking and rescue them, another challenge arises once they have been rescued: How do you ensure that the victims stay safe and get the care they need after they’re removed from their captors?

In order to help stop human trafficking, we must be able to provide victims with appropriate care after they have been rescued. Several things need to happen when a trafficking victim is identified and removed from their captor. First, they should receive immediate medical attention, addressing not only their physical health but their fragile mental state as well. A mental health team that is well versed in hostage or  kidnapping situations and post-traumatic stress disorder is best suited to provide care for the victim. Care may also need to be provided for drug detoxing, as many traffickers make a practice of drugging their victims to make them even more dependent and compliant. Some will require translation services in order to even begin to receive the appropriate level of care.

The next critical need is for emergency shelter. In the case of minors, most of these victims, once rescued are placed in either a juvenile detention facility or in foster care. A juvenile detention facility can do more harm than good. In this setting, they will be with a population of juveniles that have already been charged as offenders who often repeat the same cycle of abuse familiar to the victim. Foster care, while typically a much warmer environment, is still not enough for these kids. Many times they will end up running away  only to be placed right back into the trafficking situation from which they escaped. There are a few homes around the country that are set up specifically for trafficking victims. These homes provide shelter, medical care and constant supervision while the trafficking victim goes through intensive counseling to address their mental health needs and rehabilitative needs.

If you would like to find ways that you can help in these efforts to stop human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-3737-888 or contact the Guardian Group. These resources can provide information for you regarding the steps you can take or connect you with other organizations that help human trafficking victims.

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