OVC Provider Forum Transcript

Serving Trafficking Victims in Immigrant Communities
Shannon Going, Carol Gomez  -  2015/1/21
https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ovcproviderforum
 
 
Can we really undermine the business of human trafficking by addressing the many levels of commercial exploit of another person by changing our intervention example if a family sells a child that means that someone is coming illegally to the country with a minor that is not even his child. Could maybe training to prevent human trafficking in the ice and immigration on the borders help prevent this phenomena?
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Thanks for your question. Although I can't speak directly for these agencies -- ICE and Border Patrol and other local and federal law enforcement agencies have been getting training and some funding to manage and intervene when people are trafficked. You can learn more about ICE and their work on the issue of trafficking at http://www.ice.gov/human-trafficking/
 
2.  S Going
 The law requires immigration officials to immediately refer any detained individual who is identified as an unaccompanied minor to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), who in turn refers those minors to age-appropriate shelters rather than standard immigration detention centers. After spending a requisite amount of time in the shelter, minors receive an immigration legal screening with an attorney. In this way, unaccompanied minors who are victims of trafficking may be detected and appropriately assisted, and so increased funding for these services is one way to continue to combat international trafficking.
 
3.  S Going
 I agree that one piece of the puzzle in detecting and combating international trafficking is training immigration officials to recognize and respond appropriately to trafficking indicators. Though I cannot speak for any immigration agency, I believe they do publicize that their personnel receive training on this topic.
 
 
Ms Gomez, please tell us about the healing process for young people victimized by commercial sexual exploitation?
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 FINAL Part 22: Work in partnership with survivor/s to name, recognize and articulate their skills, strengths and talents. And work collaboratively with community resources to connect and support survivor in achieving her academic, trade or career goals and leadership roles – to restore and maintain a sense of being important, productive, valued and needed. Many survivors have found healing in being able to help others as well – which can be a restorative way to reclaim what was lost and sow seeds of hope and healing for others.
 
2.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 21 12. Capitalize on Survivor strengths and Leadership ! Many exploited workers, particularly those who have been trafficked/exploited as a group often find strength in solidarity with each other. There are some national examples of trafficked/exploited workers (farmworkers, construction, etc) banding together and fighting for dignity and rights. Many survivors of commercial sexual exploitation have risen up to advocate for themselves and others – with some of the leading CSEC agencies across the country being survivor-founded, grown and led (eg: GEMS, Breaking Free, SAGE… Survivors who are isolated from others may benefit from being connected with others who have made it or are working to heal and break free.
 
3.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 20 9. My Life so far from A-Z -- Engage in Life Review Engage with survivor to create a historical timeline of major life experiences, including traumatic events, relationship challenges, etc. Processing and releasing the memories of past trauma is a key component in the healing process. 10. How the traumatic experiences that occurred in my life affect me now? 11. How can I make good/better choices? Can I trust myself to do so? Can I trust that others won’t betray me? Working with survivors to rebuild self-confidence and regain a sense of having control over the chaos/trauma of their experiences is another component in the healing journey. Strengthening sense of safety and ability to create safety.
 
4.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 19: 8. What Happens When my Emotions are too Frightening? Or when facing my “self” and my life is too scary? Understand survivor’s ways of coping, reacting to stress, managing fears and worries. Does s/he abuse substances? Overeat? Not eat enough? Self harm/Cut? Does s/he runaway? Does s/he re-engage in high-risk behaviors? Is s/he tempted to turn back to the abuser or those with abusive characteristics? Might s/he self harm? Is s/he experiencing shame, guilt or hopelessness about the future? What are things that she can do or conditions that s//he can create to establish/re-establish feeling calm, safe and grounded – whether or not things around her a calm or chaotic?
 
5.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 18 7. What Happens When I Feel Emotions? Explore survivor’s variety of emotional states and experiences. Can s/he tolerate having/experiencing her Feelings/Emotions? Or does s/he need to numb it, lest it overwhelms? What kinds of things bring joy, anger, sadness, fears, shame? How does s/he express those emotions? Work through a variety of different scenarios to learn how ready and at what pace s/he is at, to deal with emotional or trauma materials, to and articulate how s/he deals with life. Some education of Neuro-Biology of Trauma is useful for survivors to understand how their brains and bodies have been conditioned/reconditioned by the trauma.
 
6.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 17: • For youth – often loss, rejection – of longing for parental love and attention that they had craved. • Processing trauma of childhood filled with neglect, abandonment, abuse or incest. • Addiction/substance use issues – how to stop using or how to get the next fix. • Fears of the future – worries about lack of education and skills. • How to be a good parent to their own child and not repeat the cycle of victimization.
 
7.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 16: • Some who had been arrested/detained by ICE – experienced immense trauma from those experiences and incarceration/detention. • Facing the Criminal Justice System – if there is a criminal case against them or against the pimps/traffickers – fears re: testifying, facing retaliation by traffickers, harm toward loved ones in home country or US. • Fears about their immigration situation – it is crucial to refer trafficked immigrants to immigration legal services in order to ensure that the survivor’s status is assessed and that they can make the most informed decision re: stabilizing status, determining if s/he can return home, etc. • Making plans to return home, reunite with family in home country or to establish life elsewhere (with a sound safety plan!)
 
8.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 15: 6. What are my Greatest Needs at this time? Asking survivors what their greatest area of need is at the time and working with them through that is critical. The agenda needs to be created by the survivor and s/he is in the driver’s seat through her/his own healing journey. It may not be the immediate experience of CSE/prostitution that is the greatest stressor. For example, issues that may arise: • For trafficked immigrants who had fled impoverished conditions – the worries about how to continue financial support to family members in the home country. Whether or not they actually were able to keep money made from CSE – many carry the illusion that the trafficker would eventually compensate financially).
 
9.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 14: For trafficked immigrants – it is crucial to assess survivor’s immigration status (such as T-visa, U-visa, VAWA, Political Asylum etc) and assess safety/viability of returning home – will it be safe, will they be re-trafficked, will international traffickers harm/retaliate on their loved ones in home country as a result of survivor’s testifying or escape from the perpetrators.
 
10.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 13: Working with survivor to collaborate with community resources is vital to reestablish safety and create a network of safe and supportive community services. For immigrants who were trafficked into and within the US – exploring those resources may include making connections with resources in their home country as well. Getting survivors legal services and public benefits assessment is crucial as part of the safety planning and safety net creation. Assessments can be made to determine eligibility for: emergency public benefits, temporary financial assistance, shelter or housing, medical and dental care, mental health care, job training, etc.)
 
11.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 12: 5. How am I going to Survive? Can I be safe from Homelessness? Poverty? Establishing Stability -Meeting Basic Needs: Alongside supporting the survivor’s ability to stay safe, it is important to support the survivor in being able to sustain the ability to meet their basic needs: A sustainable Income, Food, Shelter, Housing, Clean Clothing, A Shower, Sleep, Emergency, Medical Care, Childcare (if they have children). Do I qualify for temporary Public Benefits? For many Education/Schooling is a huge area of challenge – as most have dropped out often at a very early age or missed much of their academic life, resulting in poor literacy and feeling stuck.
 
12.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 11: Will I be protected if I chose to testify against the abuser? Will my loved ones be safe from the traffickers if I leave or testify against the traffickers? How do I not fall back into the hands of the traffickers? Do I need to relocate to be away from the trafficker/s and associates? These are basic steps that need to be addressed and worked on with any survivor. Coordinating a community response and resources is an essential component of this work. It can be overwhelming to try to do this work as a solo provider or as an isolated agency.
 
13.  Zarina Samai
 Thank you for your details elaboration on the healing process, may I ask if there is any home remedies healing process for the victims for example any dietary that they need to follow to make them feel at ease?
 
14.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 10: Similarly, for US born survivors, it would be crucial to understand the safety of returning home. Would s/he be welcome? Was/is home life safe from abuse? What are her options going forward? Who are the safe people in her life? 4. Am I Going to be Safe from Violence? (Are my loved ones going to be safe too?) Establishing Safety First: The survivor needs to know and feel they are safe – Safe from Violence by a Predator, Safe from Feeling Trapped, Safe from Arrest or Detention by law enforcement, Safe from being treated as a Criminal, Safe from being judged by service providers. Can I get a restraining order?
 
15.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 9: 3. (For Immigrants)What country conditions did I leave? (For US born survivors) What home conditions did I have before being trafficked? As a part of gathering relevant data for a comprehensive safety plan, it’s important to get an understanding of the survivors country of origin, what she left behind, why and how? Whether she was recruited in her home country? Whether there are larger trafficking networks operating transnationally? Whether her loved ones in home country are at risk of being harmed as a result of her escape? Is there a financial debt that is sought by the traffickers? Will returning to home country put her (or loved ones) at risk for continued trafficking or harm/death?
 
16.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 8: Together, with humility, honesty, deep listening, being able to stay grounded and keep your own judgment, emotions and reactions in check when you hear of violent details or experiences – will help survivors feel heard, understood and safe enough to open up. While also feeling believed and validated for what they’ve gone through. Some of the situations that survivors have gone through may be hard to manage emotionally. And survivors may be able to sense when they need to either protect you from their story or protect themselves from feeling judged.
 
17.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 7: 1. Can I Trust You (Counselor, Advocate, Teacher, Police Officer, etc.)? Establishing an Honest, Credible and Consistent relationship – Trust is a difficulty element for survivors of CSE to feel grounded in. For many, their intense lived experience has been fraught with betrayal and unpredictability. This has resulted in many survivors developing an acute and immense savvy, sharp (and defensive) negotiation and people-reading skills in order to survive their exploitive conditions or (for some) survive the streets. 2. Can you handle my story? Sometimes you make a connection with ease with the person. Other times, you may need to be patient and take time to peel away the layers of defenses and fear to truly connect with the survivor.
 
18.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 6: Although in countries with less internal security, widespread police corruption, control of communities by organized crime or that are experiencing war and conflict – it may be common for children and adults to be snatched out of their homes or communities raped, kidnapped and sexually enslaved or married off – as yet another tool of war. Refugee women and children are extremely vulnerable to sexual violence and slavery. As a result there isn’t a uniform path to healing for each survivor. Here are some questions that a survivor may be considering of an advocate, healthcare provider, law enforcement investigator, etc. that may provide a basis for best practices to further healing for survivors, teens or adults who are CSE-d:
 
19.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 5: These situations cross class, race, gender and include kids from rural communities, suburban to urban locations. Across religion, culture and color lines. Transgender, gay, bisexual and lesbian youth are additionally vulnerable to CSE – particular those without positive family and social supports, who may be experiencing conflict in the home or discarded from home as a result of their identities and left to fending for themselves to survive. The situation of immigrant children varies from country to country – immigrant kids who are CSE-d may have fled immense economic stress in their homeland, or civil wars, or are crossing the borders in hopes of reuniting with family members. The circumstances of immigrant children may mirror that of US born children.
 
20.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 4: In my research work in the past, I had interviewed and worked with a number of survivors in the US who had been born into families where inter-generational prostitution was practiced. Kids whose caregivers were prostituting or pimping – intergenerational transmission of CSEC were introduced to this life at an early age by the people they most relied on. A sense of “normalcy” is creating among “families” whose business is within prostitution, where the “culture”, language, interactions with people are skewed, transactional and exploitative, child is exposed to the lifestyle of sex, drugs, alcohol – and the child may grow up with a confused sense of values and norms, while experiencing and witnessing pervasive and complex trauma.
 
21.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 3: This too can lead children to seek out attention and affection from predatory adults/traffickers or pimps (and peers) who fill the attachment void and strategically create/manipulate dependency bond with the child, while acting as parent-friend-lover- teacher -exploiter- pimp- pedophile-abuser in the child’s life. Exploiters/traffickers provide structure and a mix of kindness and cruelty as a way to cement the connection with a child with promises of emotional, financially and material/basic needs “security” and sometimes a “fantasy” life full of an illusion of expensive material possessions and a fast lifestyle.
 
22.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 2: Some were born to caregivers who are drug, and who trade sex for drugs. Some have been traded by their caregivers for drugs. Some are escaping incest. Childhood sexual abuse/sexual assault are fairly prevalent among those in the “life”. Others have not had these early experiences, but may just have been recruited by friends/peers, groomed by intimate partners/pimps into the life, “jumped” or forcibly initiated by neighborhood/school gang members (areas where gang activity is high) and “turned out” into prostitution or even forcibly kidnapped and sold. Kids in placement, residential homes/foster system are vulnerable. Many come from homes where caregivers are/were emotional neglectful and absent or abusive. Provide little or no supervision or structure.
 
23.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 1 of response: Thank you very much for this question. Firstly, let me preface by stating that because young people who have been commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) are not a homogenous population, the response may be rather complex. I'll be responding re: both US and immigrant children in this forum, hi-lighting some of the unique aspects that survivors may face. In the US, the average age of entry of US-born children who are commercially sexually exploited is around 13, although many have been exploited from much younger ages, including as infants and toddlers. Many of these kids have had adverse early childhood experiences. Many come from chaotic, abusive or neglectful households. Many are runaways. Many are fleeing from violence.
 
 
Many victims of trafficking are working as slaves in the commercialized sex industry under the presumption that they are moving to the United States for an education or better resources to have a healthy productive life. However why often public and police officers often mistake these people for illegal immigrant for a number of reasons?
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Thanks Zarina for the question. The current laws in the US still criminalize the act of prostitution, which makes it challenging for the public/law enforcement officials to be able to view people in prostitution as possibly needing services or assistance. In some other countries, prostitution is "decriminalized" (note different from "legalized"). When decriminalization is in place -- people in prostitution and sex trafficked people may be better provided a comprehensive assessment, safety plan and provided help, options and resources to safety/social services, rather than being funneled through the criminal justice system or deported. In some cities/states now minors/ under-aged kids are not arrested but provided diversion services instead.
 
2.  S Going
 Labor trafficking victims often go undetected because the circumstances of their trafficking do not require criminal acts as is often the case with sex trafficking victims, who are participating in commercial sex acts that are criminalized under the law. Therefore, many labor trafficking victims often have no cause to come into contact with law enforcement the way that the sex trafficking victim who is detained for commercial sex acts might, and so there is even less of a chance that those individuals would be identified as trafficking victims by law enforcement. This fact, coupled with the individuals’ fear of speaking to law enforcement, means in many cases that the trafficking victim is not deemed as such by law enforcement.
 
3.  S Going
 Trafficked individuals who are undocumented also avoid contact with authorities for fear of deportation or due to a lack of understanding of US law that would protect rather than penalize them, and so may not report their victimization to law enforcement.
 
4.  S Going
 There are a number of factors that make the trafficking victim difficult to detect. For one, the trafficked individual is often not aware that he or she is a victim of a crime, and therefore may not self-refer to law enforcement or report their victimization if put into contact with law enforcement.
 
 
What is the first step in verifying if someone has been a victim of human trafficing? Then once you have some information, whom do you contact to get some assistance, not only for the victim but for the family as well?
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Verifying/Defining someone as a ”Trafficked” person is one step, however ensuring that the person is “safe/out of danger” or “needs assistance” is a KEY step. There are many human rights violations/criminal statutes that could apply to a range of victims who may be trafficked – including rape, assault, neglect of minor, wage theft/wage with-holding, slavery, kidnapping, criminal threats, stalking, etc. so many possible ways to conceptualize cases. Screening/Verifying is nuanced and screening questions vary depending on: if this is labor or sexual exploitation situation; child or adult; undocumented immigrant or US citizen; etc.
 
2.  Carol J Gomez
 Call 911 or consult with police re: the case. For immigrants especially – also consult with local Legal Services Organization – for immigration/VAWA relief, public benefits and Labor rights issues. Refer to Rape/DV Hotlines/Crisis Centers -- for someone you suspect may be experiencing sexual /partner-pimp violence; If a Victim of Crime (once v has police report and there's a criminal investigation) -- the v and their family may be eligible for Victim Compensation benefits – eg: covers counseling, medical, relocation expenses directly incurred as a result of the crime. (Contact your Victim Services Unit at DA's office for this service). Different needs may need to be met by differing agencies. Depending on what state/city you live in. You may have to piece meal the services.
 
3.  S Going
 If you're dealing with an individual who you know personally and is in a stable situation, you might recommend that they consult with a local victim services organization or pro bono law firm who can better assess their eligibility for different types of assistance and relief.
 
4.  S Going
 Due to the dangerous nature of a trafficking situation both for the victim and yourself, the safest practice when you suspect there may be trafficking is to contact local law enforcement and provide them with information that they can use to investigate. For more information about reporting, repsonding to, and doing what you can to combat trafficking, I recommend the Polaris Project website: http://www.polarisproject.org/
 
5.  Jessica Vincent
 I found this document for Screening for Human Trafficking by VERA the National Institute of Justice to be helpful in identifying victims; http://www.vera.org/pubs/special/human-trafficking-identification-tool
 
6.  Nell Green
 I would also like to hear more on this. I recently had 2 immigrants who were victims but had great difficulty finding the place to take them to tell their stories and seek action.
 
 
How can we better engage with immigrant communities?
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Do check out answer provided in a previous questions from Hillary re: immigrant outreach and a prior Question re: healing for CSEC survivors, which can be applied here. Trust building and meeting survivors where they are at are basic starting points. Partnering with trusted/ established safe allies within the immigrant communities eg: faith leaders, healthcare providers, union organizers, etc. may be ways to build connections and make it known how you might be able to be helpful. There may also be some nuances as to how you would approach different populations, based on your role/field's historical interactions and experiences with the various immigrant communities in your area.
 
 
Is human trafficking more of a problem in immigrant communities in the US than in other communities?
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Accurate and exact data is not easily accessible, however immigrant community members may be more vulnerable to experiencing labor trafficking/ exploitation and/or sex trafficking due to having their immigration papers in the control of traffickers, not knowing their immigration status and perhaps being unfamiliar with labor laws and rights governing work conditions in the US. Additionally due to language barriers and barriers to accessing public services -- immigrants may be more vulnerable, trapped and isolated and not know who to trust or reach out to for legitimate help.
 
2.  S Going
 Because trafficking is so hard to detect, it's hard to get solid figures and numbers. The Urban Institute has excellent resources regarding current trafficking research: http://www.urban.org/center/jpc/projects/Victims-of-Crime.cfm
 
 
I live in an isolated community of about 100,000 people. With the oil boom going on there are man camps set up for workers and hotels are constantly full. With the influx of people specifically, lonely men away from there families, how do we go about reaching out to the young girls who are brought here for the purpose of providing "services" to those men.
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Cont'd: So getting clarity ahead of time, having memorandums of understanding from your multi-disciplinary network is important. This is a crucial, long term and ongoing process and valuable piece of the work in order to maintain good relations, eliminate misunderstandings, reduce competition and create a strong safetynet for survivors.
 
2.  Carol J Gomez
 Another point to mention when Coordinating care w/different governmental and community-based agencies -- is to understanding each org's confidentiality policies, missions and goals. The differences result in varied expectations of “collaboration” and of survivors. Eg: DV shelters, Rape Crisis Centers, psychotherapists -- have very stringent confidentiality mandates/policies -- and not be able to share the survivor's shelter location, activities, desire to testify, etc with Law Enforcement/LE -- whereas LE folks -- may expect DV/RCCs to share openly, including sharing of changes in the survivor's whereabouts, decisions re: her ability to cooperate with investigators, etc. especially if LE referred a victim to your agency.
 
3.  Jessica Vincent
 In SE Arizona (Tucson), we formed a Sex Trafficking Response Network forum that reached out to law enforcement, politicians, federal prosecutors, local non-profits, first responders, local businesses and the general public in an effort to find a solution. Awareness is the key and educating local businesses. Approach the local hotels with the educational materials from the DHS Blue Campaign, It's free http://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign
 
4.  Carol J Gomez
 Yes, certainly working closely with law enforcement and proactively making sure that you and your service provider networks are trained and informed on the many psycho-social and legal issues and remedies and safety strategies when working with trafficked survivors. And that your law enforcement partners are also trained in the investigative procedures, understanding trauma, working with survivors, understanding the complexity of trafficker/organized crime behaviors etc. when dealing with this issue is vital.
 
5.  Heather Hodge
 I'm sorry I should have mentioned I am a licensed social worker and director of victim services at a rape crisis center. With that being said, would you suggest teaming up with law enforcement as the best option?
 
6.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 2: These may open up venues for conversation and if they are reaching out for help your community will be in a better position to be able to respond safely and strategically.
 
7.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 1: If you suspect that the girls are under-aged, or if they are being held against their will you may want to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888 to get this situation assessed better. Other suggestions: You may want to work with your local community networks, eg: health clinics, the hospital Emergency Room, churches, temples, coffee shops, hair and nail salons, schools, grocery stores -- to put out materials on Counseling Services, offer Free wellness checks, HIV/STD testing, etc. If the girls are free to move around, these may be avenues to make connections with the young girls, get to know them, build trust and create safe spaces where the girls may feel comfortable visiting.
 
8.  S Going
 As with any victim or suspected victim who is currently in a trafficking situation, there are safety and trauma factors to consider in approaching the situation without trained and qualified professionals. For that reason, the safest practice is to reach out to local law enforcement and social service providers with experience in this area to provide them information about the activity.
 
 
I would like to know what services are available for Latino/a Trafficking Victims within NC, particularly in the Charlotte area. I know of some grassroot organizations, but none necessarily serving this immigrant community.
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Perhaps also connect with North Carolina Justice Center http://www.ncjustice.org/?q=workers-rights and the NC Farmworker Advocacy Network. http://www.ncfan.org They may not have a "trafficking" specific focus -- but certainly issues faced by migrant workers would overlap. If not already connected to this group, and not sure how close it is to Charlotte, but try NC Victim Assistance Network: http://nc-van.org/hop.html
 
2.  S Going
 The Polaris Project (http://www.polarisproject.org/) is a great resource for connecting to trafficking victim services. You may also contact Southern Poverty Law Center (http://www.splcenter.org/contact-us), a very respected name in the pro bono legal community, as they may be able to provide you with information on organizations in that region.
 
 
How can we begin to build rapport with an immigrant to trust that we are there to help and not to further traumatize them?
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Hi Hillary, Do refer to responses to a prior Question re: healing for CSEC survivors, which can be applied here. Trust building and meeting survivors where they are at are basic starting points. Partnering with trusted/ established safe allies within the immigrant communities (per: Ms Going) eg: faith leaders, healthcare providers, union organizers, etc. may be ways to build connections and make it known how you might be able to be helpful. I'm not sure exactly what role you play (eg: law enforcement, or advocate or health outreach worker, etc.) there may also be some nuances as to how you would approach different populations, based on your field's historical interactions and experiences with the various immigrant communities in your area.
 
2.  S Going
 One strategy is to approach these communities through venues, for example churches and schools, that they know and feel comfortable with. For example, doing a community informational presentation about the services you offer in conjunction with and at a church.
 
 
What can we do to protect our mental health providers who are outreaching or providing services to this population? We have experienced threats and a destruction of property by the trafficking leaders and the local police are not responsive.
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 2: Or talk to your city councilor, mayor, etc. to get buy-in, support from the powers that be to address outreach concerns. If you haven't already - perhaps it might be prudent to assess/evaluate whether the outreach strategy your staff is using is feasible and sustainable? If staff are unsafe, it will be hard to be effective. Also need to assess if survivors might be punished or penalized by the traffickers for being seen interfacing with outreach staff? Maybe safer, discreet ways might be to leave outreach materials at corner stores, fast food joints or strategic places at motels in the area where the population frequents?
 
2.  Carol J Gomez
 Part 1: So sorry to hear about the safety concerns affecting your outreach staff. Without knowing the details of your situation, I'll throw out some general suggestions... You may want to talk to the National Trafficking Hotline about your situation - and find out if there are law enforcement allies in your city or state -- who could perhaps help build a bridge for improved communication with your local police to increase responsiveness and attention to the work you are doing. Perhaps approach local police with a sit-down to get their feedback and input on what they would suggest as best/safe practices for the kind of work you do within the neighborhoods you are reaching.
 
 
Ms Gomez/Ms Going - In your experience what collaborative concepts have succeeded the most in rescuing a victim and reintegrating them into society?
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Victim/Survivors are the authors of their own healing journey and as advocates, community organizers, allies -- we can play a part in supporting survivors, while providing as much accurate information (eg: about the law, about how the system works, ways to increase safety and self sufficiency, connection to educational and work resources). Support survivors through the healing, grieving, adjustment process and respect their journey and timing, in as much as these are within her/his realm of control. And for those who seek it, locate avenues, opportunities and roles for survivors to feel and be productive, useful and valued in the community.
 
2.  S Going
 In my experience I have seen success with ensuring that the trafficking survivor is treated as a partner in their reintegration. Personally, I let my clients know that my job is to work with them achieve their goals, and to the extent that is is appropriate, I give them things to work on for their case so that they are taking an part in their own recovery.
 
 
I feel that a very broad brush is being used to define Human Trafficking. How are charges against human trafficking crimes going to be applied when prostitution and gang related activities are now included as part of human trafficking?
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 I'm not sure I fully understand the question, but I'll take a crack at it: You're correct, human trafficking encompasses a wide range of exploitative experiences -- from labor trafficking (in farming, construction, domestic work, etc...) to sex trafficking (on the street or in private establishments, etc). In terms of gang-related activity -- there are US/local gangs and international organized crime elements -- that may peddle in human beings (for prostitution, organ trafficking, child labor, etc.) in addition to other elements like drugs, arms, money laundering, etc. If law enforcement is able to gather the needed evidence and witnesses to build a case for human trafficking -- (eg: for prostitution) -- perps may be prosecuted accordingly.
 
 
What are the experiences of sex trafficking survivors with police? I know that many immigrant communities have a luck of trust of police in their home countries. Do you think this has an impact on how victims deal with police? I am a researcher and wanted to know how we can help police better service sex trafficking victims. From your experience, Is there research needed in any particular area?
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Research wise -- it might be interesting to learn from various law enforcement personnel on the ground -- eg: cops/detectives (gang, DEA,sexual assault/special victims or vice), FBI agent and ICE officer who are assigned to trafficking cases -- what challenges they personally (emotionally, ideologically, attitudes etc) and professionally (resources, training, priority mandates, cultural/language barriers, time) face when dealing with trafficking cases. (immigrant labor/sex trafficking AND/Or domestic sex trafficking).
 
2.  Carol J Gomez
 cont'd....general relationships between particular immigrant or ethnic communities and law enforcement in the area. So many variables. Fears generally carried by immigrant communities include that of deportation should they come forward to report victimization and fears of themselves being arrested and charged with a crime. Those is prostitution face the fear of being charged with a crime, since prostitution is not decriminalized in the US.
 
3.  Carol J Gomez
 Hi Anila, There is a great deal of variance in the experiences of trafficked survivors and with law enforcement. Some survivors, despite having had adverse experiences in their home countries with corrupt law enforcement -- have had extremely positive interactions here with LE in the US. Others have reported having negative and even exploitative interactions with US LE. Each city and states law enforcement response to the issue of trafficking varies quite a bit -- based on leadership buy-in to the issue, financial and personnel resources available to investigate and pursue trafficking cases (very high resource long term work), how much buy-in, understanding and education LE personnel have re: victim-related issues and trauma....
 
4.  Anila Duro
 Thank you. Do you mean like the vice unit?
 
5.  S Going
 Part 3: Unfortunately even where departments are providing training and have victim-sensitive policies, these are not always followed through at every level or across jurisdictions. I'd like to see research about how law enforcement can be better trained to follow these policies uniformly across geographic areas.
 
6.  S Going
 Part 2: One thing I've seen that is helpful is when law enforcement not only provide victim sensitivity training to all their staff, but also have a specific "victim assistance" type position that coordinates victim services and ensures that victims are treated appropriately.
 
7.  S Going
 Part 1: In my experience working with international trafficking survivors, there is a lot of fear of approaching law enforcement without support from advocates/social service providers. This does often make sense in light of that person's lack of immigration status, English language ability, and/or experiences with lack of rule of law in their home country.
 
 
I am a graduate student at UCLA working on a policy paper about reintegration programs for CSEC survivors in LA County. Are there any "model" or "gold standard" reintegration or rehabilitation programs that you recommend for survivors nationally or internationally? I have read about GEMS, SAGE, Angela's House and Children of the Night, but am wondering if there have been studies on what makes these places particularly effective? Have there been any studies on what types of counseling and therapy is most effective for CSEC survivors? Have any program evaluations been done on any reintegration programs? Thank you!
 
1.  Carol J Gomez
 Re: Counseling/therapeutic work -- do also look at the response to the question in this forum on Healing -- where I've provided some helpful suggestions. You may want to also look at work published by Melissa Farley -- re: Prostitution and Trauma. Also check out "My Life, My Choice" is a survivor led mentorship/education program for youth that has gained good traction nationally http://www.fightingexploitation.org/
 
2.  Carol J Gomez
 Hi Morgan, I am not immediately aware of efficacy studies/reports on CSEC agencies. The agencies you identified are particularly strong in working with US born CSEC survivors. I would add Breaking Free in St.Paul, MN to the list. Contact Vednita Carter/ED of Breaking Free, SAGE and GEMS staff to learn if their orgs have been evaluated and published studies. BF, Sage are some of the oldest programs around, GEMS younger than the other two. For immigrant trafficking -- you may want to look at CAST/LA re: their reports. I suspect that these 4 (relatively older) orgs -- would have had funding and academic partners who may have worked with them over the years on program evaluation studies.
 
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