Support and Resources for Human Trafficking Survivors: Empowering a New Beginning
Human trafficking is a global issue affecting millions of children, men, and women worldwide. Survivors often face significant challenges and require substantial support and resources to help them in their journey to recovery and rebuilding their lives.
Continue reading to explore various types of support and resources available to survivors, the importance of these resources, and key organizations working in the field. By understanding and promoting these resources, we can work together to make a difference in the lives of those affected by human trafficking.
Understanding Human Trafficking
It’s challenging for most people to grasp human trafficking. It doesn’t seem to be part of our daily lives. But it’s more prevalent than you may think and affects everyone more than they know.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery involving the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit people for labor, personal and commercial sex purposes, or organ trafficking. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are more than 40 million victims of human trafficking globally. However, precise numbers are nearly impossible to get due to the criminal nature of human trafficking.
For trafficking victims, fleeing their trafficker is only the beginning. Once free, they face many obstacles on the way to true freedom. They often lack any resources — money, shelter, official identification documents, or support — and the skills to move forward.
In addition, they are also likely to face severe judgment and stigma from their community, family, friends, and even service providers. As a result, they feel shame and blame themselves for their situation.
It’s not uncommon for trafficking victims to be arrested under their trafficker’s thumb. But unfortunately, even after they escape, they may have no other way to support themselves and their children other than by committing crimes.
Immediate Support for Survivors
Human trafficking survivors often require immediate assistance in the aftermath of their ordeal. Services may include:
- Emergency Housing: Safe and temporary shelter for survivors to escape their traffickers and begin the process of recovery
- Medical Care: Access to healthcare providers who can address the physical and mental health needs of survivors
- Legal Assistance: Legal support to help survivors navigate complex legal systems and gain access to their rights
- Crisis Counseling: Immediate emotional support and counseling to help survivors process their experiences and cope with trauma
Long Term Support
Long-term support is crucial for human trafficking survivors as they work to rebuild their lives. Services may include:
- Education and Training: Some victims may require access to education and training programs to help them build the skills they need to lead independent lives.
- Job Training: Programs that help survivors develop skills and access employment opportunities are essential. Many trafficking victims lack job skills or experience and require vocational training and job placement services to help them secure stable employment.
- Mental Health Support: Ongoing counseling and therapy to address trauma and promote healing are invaluable.
- Community Support: Many victims may require social support to help them reintegrate into their communities. Connecting survivors with support groups, organizations, and networks of other survivors can foster a sense of belonging and encouragement.
- Legal Advocacy: Continued legal support ensures that survivors have access to justice and their rights are protected. They may also need legal assistance to obtain restraining orders against their traffickers, obtain visas or work permits, and navigate the criminal justice system.
- Safe Housing: Many trafficking victims need safe, secure places to live beyond emergency housing.
How You Can Help
Human trafficking can seem like an insurmountable problem. There’s no question that it’s an enormous issue, but laypeople can play a significant role in helping trafficking victims by raising awareness, supporting organizations, and being vigilant. Even small actions can make a big difference in the fight against human trafficking. Here are some ways you can make a difference:
- Educate Yourself: Learn about human trafficking, its forms, causes, and consequences. Having that knowledge will help you identify potential cases and respond appropriately.
- Raise Awareness: Share information about human trafficking with your friends, family, and community. Use social media platforms to spread the word and help educate others about this global issue.
- Support Organizations: Donate or volunteer with reputable organizations working to combat human trafficking, like The Orphan’s Hands. Organizations provide support to victims and work to prevent trafficking through advocacy, research, and policy change.
- Be Vigilant: Pay attention to signs of human trafficking in your community. You may think that it’s something that happens elsewhere, but it can happen anywhere. If you suspect someone may be a victim, contact your local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888, TTY: 711, or Text* 233733).
- Advocate for Policy Change: Contact your local, state, or national representatives and encourage them to enact or strengthen laws related to trafficking.
- Promote Ethical Consumption: Be mindful of the products you purchase and support companies that have ethical labor practices in place. Encourage businesses to adopt transparent supply chains to reduce the risk of human trafficking.
Help Us Provide Hope
Human trafficking is an overwhelming issue. One person alone can’t stop it, but we can gain traction together. You can make a difference! Your contributions help our committed staff and volunteers work 365 days a year to fight human trafficking and support survivors. Every donation can change the life of someone victimized by human trafficking. No matter the size, every effort can deliver help and hope to the most vulnerable.
The generosity of our supporters has helped us provide a safe life for people once victims of trafficking, including shelter, food, and medical care for those in need. Together, we can change and save lives!