All human trafficking survivors experience various forms of trauma. Trauma is some form of injury. Trauma-informed care for survivors is not a single technique or check-off list. Instead it is a set of six guiding principles – Safety, Trustworthiness & Transparency, Peer Support, Collaboration & Mutuality, Empowerment Voice Choice, and Cultural, Historical, & Gender Issues.
As a community, we can develop a caring approach to help survivors. No one deserves to outlive human trafficking only to be traumatized again by others who genuinely want to help.
What is Trauma-Informed Care?
Trauma-informed care or trauma-informed approach training was developed by the CDC (Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response) and the National Center for Trauma-Informed Care. Originally designed for use in public health emergencies, it is applicable to any issue where trauma or injury occurs.
Trauma-informed care for human trafficking survivors should be practiced to avoid creating triggers that remind survivors of unpleasant experiences or create new trauma.
Trauma-informed care consists of 6 guiding principles. It is not a check-off list however. Instead it is based on the individual treatment needs for each survivor.
6 Guiding Principles
● Safety – Freedom from emotional or physical hurt, harm, or danger from traffickers or others who seek to re-victimize survivors.
● Trustworthiness & Transparency – Creating an environment of open, honest communication is critical to gaining survivor trust. This trust has to be built through shared expectations.
● Peer Support – Connection to survivor and advocate networks provide bonds to others who understand what a survivor has endured.
● Collaboration & Mutuality – Cooperation between responding/treating groups to ensure the best interest and outcome of each survivor.
● Empowerment Voice & Choice – Informing survivors of options so that they can make their preferred choice.
● Cultural, Historical, & Gender Issues – Social, historical, and gender conditions that define each survivor and how they relate to the world around them.
An Empowered Life
When used by first responders, law enforcement, health care providers, legal responders, and advocates, these principles become the foundation of trauma-informed treatment care. No more victim-blaming! Instead survivors become empowered to reclaim their identity and life.