Survivor Support

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About

The Problem

After escaping from months or years of victimization, survivors of sex and labor trafficking often need a wide array of services that recognize the unique trauma they have experienced. In order to rebuild their lives, survivors may be in immediate need of housing, counseling, medical care, legal advocacy, job training, interpretation, immigration relief, substance abuse recovery, or food and clothing assistance. Yet, trafficking survivors regularly face significant challenges in accessing these services. In many areas of the United States, specialized trafficking programs may not exist, may be underfunded, or may struggle to meet the high demand for services and assistance. Further, LGBTQ victims face particular institutional barriers or outright discrimination when seeking help.

The Solution

To establish an effective and non-judgmental continuum of care, we need to meet survivors where they are and begin to empower them to make choices that create and support their futures. There is a continued need for sustainable social service programs that can provide long-term services to all survivors of trafficking, regardless of circumstances. Increased federal and state funding is needed to increase specialized services for victims of both sex and labor trafficking. In addition, service providers for domestic violence victims, at-risk youth, immigrant communities, and LGBTQ populations can incorporate care for trafficking survivors into their programs.

Trafficking survivors may interact with many different service systems throughout their recovery—from law enforcement and the court system to multiple social services agencies. These systems must work together to provide coordinated services to trafficking survivors. They must also implement strong protocols to identify potential victims and to provide trauma-informed, empowering services to survivors and their families.

Our Work In Action

For over ten years, Polaris has been helping survivors of human trafficking rebuild their lives. We operate the National Human Trafficking Hotline and BeFree Textline to connect survivors with critical support to get help and stay safe and equip communities with tools to combat human trafficking. Based on this direct experience, Polaris shares strategies and resources with public and private sector entities to strengthen the safety net for survivors across the U.S.

Photo credit: Robert Nickelsburg

Actions

Help healthcare workers identify and protect trafficking victims

There are thousands of human trafficking victims across the United States, and the healthcare sector is one of the fields with the highest exposure

Successes

A survivor rebuilds her life

After "Camille" was trapped in terrible conditions, a family tutor called the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline to help her escape. The hotline connected "Camille" to Polaris's Client Services team, who worked closely with her to rebuild her life. 

Latest News

Press Releases

Human Trafficking Hotline Cases Jump by 35% in 2016

January 31, 2017

Together, the Polaris-operated hotlines handled a record 8,042 cases of human trafficking in 2016, bringing the total number of reported cases since 2007 to 33,680.

Blog post

Healthcare Providers Play a Crucial Role in Victim Identification

November 3, 2016

Healthcare providers are in a unique position to identify victims and provide them with support, but one study found that less than 5% of emergency department personnel were trained how to recognize signs of human trafficking.

Blog post

Friday News Roundup: Justice for Victims Across the Nation

October 14, 2016

In this weeks news, Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer was arrested on sex trafficking charges and over a dozen individuals were busted in connection to a US-Thailand sex trafficking ring.

Experts/Staff

Vanessa Chauhan

Strategic Relationship & Engagement Advisor

Caroline Diemar

National Hotlines Director

Sarah Jakiel

Chief Program Officer

Bradley Myles

Chief Executive Officer

Jenna Novak

Strategic Relationship and Engagement Advisor

Audrey Roofeh

Director of Advisory Services

Valerie Schmitt

Advisory Services Manager

Keeli Sorensen

Director of Government Relations and Public Policy

Courtney Walsh

Regional Specialist