Core Guiding Principles for Applied Practice in Prevention, Identification, and Restoration: Anti-Trafficking Efforts for Better Health Outcomes

Core Guiding Principles for Applied Practice in Prevention, Identification, and Restoration: Anti-Trafficking Efforts for Better Health Outcomes

Arduizur Carli Richie-Zavaleta, Sarbinaz Bekmuratova, Meredyth C. Pray, Marjorie Saylor
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3926-5.ch006
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Human trafficking is a public health predicament, yet current anti-trafficking efforts are limited. Thus, this chapter examines exemplary local efforts across the United States. These highlighted programs provide examples of best-practice, sustainability, multidisciplinary collaboration, and other victim-centered practices. Additionally, a public health theoretical prevention framework is applied in order to provide a deeper understanding of the different stages of trafficking, namely recruitment, identification, and recovery. Applying the preventive framework to the three stages of trafficking creates a deeper comprehension of the issue at hand. Furthermore, this chapter proposes core guiding principles that include evidenced-base approaches to cater to the needs of survivors, the sustainability of programs, and uniformity across the country among anti-trafficking efforts among others. Future recommendations include the development of evidence-based trainings for multiple disciplines that are yet included in the prevention, identification, and recovery of victims of human trafficking.
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Although human trafficking is a recognized crime in the United States (U.S.) and across the globe, efforts to combat it continue to be marginal compared to the magnitude of the problem. Human trafficking is a crime that violates universal human rights and subjects its victims to extreme abuse. Trafficking manifests as different forms of exploitation, with sex and labor most commonly recognized. Perpetrators of trafficking aim to exploit victims with the end goal of profiting from their exploitation. Perpetrators, usually known as traffickers, use coercion, lies, manipulation, deception, and violence to achieve their goals. Consequently, victims of human trafficking face a range of extreme abuse, resulting in physical, emotional, to psychological trauma. The scope of abuse can include rape, beatings, burns, humiliation, forced intake of harmful drugs, and threats (Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000; U.S. Department of Justice, 2020). Victim exploitation results in negative health outcomes, notably mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and self-harm; physical conditions such as chronic pain, fatigue, malnutrition, and physical limitations such as physical disabilities. Other negative consequences include sexually transmitted infections and drug dependency or misuse (Greenbaum, 2014, 2016; Hossain et al., 2010; Jordan et al., 2013; Lederer & Wetzel, 2014; Ottisova et al., 2016; Ravi et al., 2017; Reid, 2016; Richie- Zavaleta et al., 2019; Tracy & Macias-Konstantopoulos, 2017). While no demographic is immune from human trafficking, specific populations are at greater risk. For example, national and international research data has shown that women and youth are at greater risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking; nonetheless, men also fall prey to forced labor, including sex acts and physical labor (International Labour Organization, 2017; Polaris Project, 2017). While estimates of trafficking are difficult to obtain given the nature of the crime and inadequate reporting systems (Farrell & Reichert, 2017), human trafficking cases have been identified in 50 U.S. states. For example, California and Texas were the top two states for identified trafficking cases in 2016 and 2017 (Polaris Project, 2017, 2020).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Trauma Bonding: Refers to the attachment between a human trafficking victim and a trafficker. It is an important concept that any professional or individual involved in anti-trafficking efforts should recognize. Lack of understanding may hinder efforts at all three levels of human trafficking prevention.

Theater of the Oppressed: A community-based education dramaturgy that uses theater as a tool for social transformation, social and political activism, conflict resolution, and therapy. Theater of the Oppressed is founded in educational pedagogy that encourages the audience to think critically, challenge the status quo, be an active participant in the drama performance, and voice their opinions. The theatrical form was conceptualized by Brazilian Augusto Boal in the 1970s and is used internationally.

California Against Slavery: A California non-profit organization that connects victims and survivors of human trafficking to services through a state-wide directory of organizations and agencies. The organization focuses on creating a Connected and Collaborating California by connecting survivors, service providers, and the general public with informational resources to combat human trafficking. The organization partnered with the Safe Shelter Collaborative in 2018 to bring the digital network of housing resources to human trafficking survivors in California.

SOAR Health and Wellness Training: A training that provides important skills to healthcare and other service providers who may come into contact with victims of trafficking. This training educates professionals to assess the situation, identify potential victims, and respond accordingly to a victim’s needs. SOAR stands for “Stop,” “Observe,” “Ask,” and “Respond.”

National Institute of Justice: A United States Department of Justice research and development agency that informs advancements in criminal justice technology, including sex trafficking, violence against women, identifying missing persons, and program evaluation. Non-profit agencies and collaborative partners conduct the majority of the research with grants provided by the National Institute of Justice.

Professional Self-Efficacy: A significant concept for professionals engaged with HT victims at the primary and secondary prevention levels. It refers to the ability of a professional to know human trafficking signs and apply them to prevent at-risk individuals from victimization. It also refers to the degree of a professional’s ability to apply their knowledge to assist HT survivors in the recovery phase without further traumatization.

Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP): A governmental agency that focuses on areas of protection, education, law creation, and monitoring illegal activity in the context of trafficking in the United States and abroad. This federal agency is directed under the United States Department of State and led by the leadership of the Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. The goals of this organization are to address the injustices of those who find themselves oppressed, criminalize the activity of violators, educate professionals, support research, and empower survivors of trafficking. This organization publishes an annual report that informs the public of progress and existing gaps. Lastly, it monitors trafficking activity and trends nationally and internationally.

Compassionate Care Approach: A framework typically used in healthcare settings to care for vulnerable patients. Empathy, understanding, and the desire to assist the patient’s concerns are its guiding principles. As a result, it moves the healthcare provider (or any other professional) to care and respond to positive actions to mitigate the patient’s conditions. This framework goes beyond trauma-informed practices. In the context of trafficking, it only recognizes and understands the patient’s trauma but goes the extra mile to facilitate a breakthrough in finding appropriate resources to facilitate intervention and recovery.

Survivor-Leader: A person who has exited human trafficking, experienced healing, and started using their lived experience in areas of leadership and change.

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