A framework from the Family and Youth Services Bureau on how to recognize, respect, and respond to victims and survivors of human trafficking (sex, labor, DMST, CSEC, and other variants)
The Safeline supports families and youth by providing confidential assistance and resources. Safeline provides runaway youth with support and information to make safe decisions for themselves.
Victims of trafficking have diverse and distinct needs that may require specialized responses. Victims’ needs may differ depending on their age, gender, citizenship, culture, language skills, type of trafficking experienced, history of victimization, and a host of other factors.
Developing a coordinated response to human trafficking in any area requires the development of a protocol with multiple options to address all the different types of subpopulations. Existing task forces address these challenges in a variety of ways. See Sections 3.1 on the Victim Services Committee and Task Force Operational Protocol for further suggestions on how to formalize these types of referral mechanisms.
Tips for Meeting the Needs of All Victims
- As a task force, commit to addressing all types of human trafficking and all types of victims. Evaluate task force statistics and honestly evaluate why the Task Force may be identifying one type of victim or crime more frequently.
- Allow victims the opportunity to express a preference for a male or female officer when sharing their story. An effort toward nonjudgmental interactions, while acknowledging the difficulty in talking about such intense topics, may be helpful in decreasing the male victim’s feelings of shame and increasing their sense of safety.
- Work with survivor advocates so that their experience and expertise can support the goals to deliver appropriate and supportive services.
- Ensure that all training and outreach materials created and distributed by the task force address all types of trafficking and all types of victims.
- Increase public awareness of the various victim populations, including minors, men, and individuals identifying as LGBTQ. Often media outlets focus disproportionately on women and girls. The public awareness committee can strategize on presenting the media with a holistic understanding of victimization and highlight different types of cases.
- Help fill the gaps in quality services for all victims, particularly regarding safe and emergency housing. Filling these gaps in creative ways should be a priority for task force victim services committee work.
For additional information and tools, visit the Resource page for Section 4.5 Victim Populations.