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Faces of Human Trafficking: Effective Victim Services Transcript

Jeri Williams, Co-founder, Survivor 2 Survivor: My first husband was incredibly violent. I left him and I moved to Portland. A young lady moved in with me to babysit my kids. Her brother was in a gang. I got jumped into the gang by being raped by all of them, and so then I was forced out onto the streets from 8 o'clock at night till 5 in the morning, 7 days a week. I felt like there was no way I could get out. I had to have engagements with 15 people a night before I could come home. I got into the West Women's Shelter in northwest Portland. They worked with me. I had a psychiatrist. I had a caseworker. I had a counselor. And I got sent to this organization. It was run by survivors who were also the counselors. It was people saying that, "I see you and I care," because when you're out on the streets, people look right through you like you're invisible. And that was the thing I think that turned things around for me most.

Maja Hasic, Director, Anti-Human Trafficking Program, Tapestri, Atlanta, Georgia: The needs of trafficking victims are so great, it really takes a village to provide a full array of services to one victim. You're relying on your relationship with domestic violence shelters. You're sometimes relying on homeless shelters, because not many domestic violence shelters, at this time, tailor to the needs of male victims.

Kathleen Morris, Anti-Trafficking Program Manager, International Rescue Committee: It's really important for us to provide comprehensive services to all victims of human trafficking, regardless of immigration status, background, age, gender.

Maja Hasic: The way that we provide comprehensive case management is through victim-centered approach, which means that we allow the client to tell us what their goals are and what their priorities are.

Stephanie Pratt, Victims of Crime Program Coordinator, Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, Washington State: The Victims of Crime Act provides funding to our service providers. What we really try to do is to work with our crime victim service centers in engaging individuals, building trust and rapport, being aware of the dynamics of human trafficking. And then they can provide not only support and assistance, but they can also provide emergency financial assistance to individuals that need services to help keep them safe.

Woman: I try not to think about it so much.

Jordan Greenbaum, M.D., Medical Director, Atlanta Children's Advocacy Center: The hardest thing about providing services is maintaining the correct attitude in trying not to re-traumatize, while still obtaining necessary information. And saying, "You do not have to answer any of these questions if you feel uncomfortable," is really important, because they haven't had control up to this point.

Kathleen Morris: Providing culturally appropriate services for our clients is so important, and to try to bring to them people who understand different cultures, who speak their language, really can help build trust.

Bukola, Survivor Advocate: My trafficker, he promised marriage, and we had actually taken the step by doing a traditional marriage. After I became pregnant, his attitude just changed. When we'd go to church on a Sunday, I would tell women I see that I could braid hair, and they would come to the house to have their hair braided, so he found out that I was good at it. Then, he decided to exploit me by taking the money. I was there without enough food. I couldn't go out at will. I was confined in the house just braiding hair, and sometimes for up to 14 hours. A public health nurse always come to the house to visit, and I got connected with that through the WIC program. I didn't have the courage to say anything to her. But when it was time for me to make the jump, I had to call her, and she said, "The first step is to go to the shelter." And I stayed there for 8 months with my son.

Alia El-Sawi, HIS Victim Assistance Specialist, Atlanta, Georgia: If the victim understands that they have support from the beginning, they trust and are accepting of the resources that you're offering them.

Bukola: I was referred to a support group for immigrant women and refugees. That support group really helped me because I saw many other women in my shoes sharing their story. And some of them have gotten help, and that was really uplifting and encouraging for me.

Kathleen Morris: Comprehensive services and intensive case management and trauma-informed care all are really incredibly important in this work.

Alia El-Sawi: Understand that you're never going to deal with a victim that's ever like another.

Maja Hasic: We give them an array of choices and we allow them to make that choice, and that leads to self-sufficiency.

Bukola: It's important to completely give survivors their power back by helping them. If they want to go to school, to go to school. If they want to start a trade or do their own business, to be able to start something on their own.

Kathleen Morris: The value in being able to stay with somebody long-term is really to be able to truly see them reach a point where they no longer need services. The end goal is allowing someone to create the life that they want that's free from abuse and exploitation.