3/30/2017 0 Comments
It's not the most ground-breaking news, but it is a subject matter that should frequently be at the top of conversations and training of assisting human trafficking victims. It's the commitment to be trauma-informed. Being trauma-informed does not mean you have to seek a specialized degree, but it does mean that a person, organization, or entity makes it a priority to understand how trauma impacts people who are affected by it. Following this up with a priority to find ways to most sensitively and insightfully interact with those affected by trauma leads to improved success rates of identifying and helping victims of trafficking and exploitation.
To start, let's consider what surrounds the word, "trauma." Trauma is frequently connected to the following words: shock, anguish, stress, agony, confusion, injury, suffering, and torture. Now, if workers, responders, and law enforcement have knowledge and insight that they might be dealing with a trauma-impacted person, it can help to improve their interactions with victims. When an individual is operating from a trauma-informed approach, it comes to mind that the person they are dealing with may have experienced torture, injury, or shock, or may currently be under extreme stress or other trauma-associated states. This knowledge and method of operation lead to increased victim identification and reformed victim interactions.
In essence, being trauma-informed is taking a sensitive, victim-minded approach where a foundation of understanding has been laid. Every law enforcement officer, care provider, spiritual mentor, medical worker, social worker, advocate, or first responder will undoubtedly be able to greater assist victims of trafficking and exploitation if they invest in becoming trauma-informed.
If a worker, responder, or law enforcement agent is trauma-informed, it can help to prevent missed opportunities in identifying victims and lead to enhanced recovery processes for survivors.
Here are but a few basic ways individuals or groups can begin their path to increased understanding of the impact trauma has on people:
Attend free or low-cost trauma-informed care seminars, workshops, or lectures
Learn from survivors of human trafficking as well as survivors of other forms of trauma
Take online courses that center around the impact of trauma on persons
Watch videos from trauma-informed experts
Engage in group book studies and discussions led by a trauma-informed advocate, teacher, or experienced professional
In conclusion, identifying victims of trafficking and exploitation, and working to foster a safe and effective recovery path is frequently amplified when individuals invest in on-going education and empathetic learning. Including trauma and its impact in this plight of study will make the journey easier for both the worker and for the potential victims they encounter.
Author: Casey Alvarez
Casey is the Founder and Executive Director of GO;61. She enjoys leading community citizens and professionals to find their footing in leveraging their talents and knowledge to combat trafficking. Casey coordinates the GO;61 teams, provides human trafficking training, creates anti-trafficking curriculum, and serves as a victim case manager. Apart from abolitionism, she loves being a wife and mother and enjoys getting away to remote places with her family.