A public health approach to human trafficking aims to prevent and respond to trafficking when it occurs. Protective factors, individual resiliency, and survivor-informed programming are integral parts to a comprehensive public health approach to trafficking. There are multiple protective factors, or characteristics that decrease the likelihood of a person experiencing trafficking or becoming a perpetrator themselves, that buffer against the risk factors we’ve discussed.
As you work to respond to and prevent trafficking in your community, consider the protective factors that might prevent trafficking, such as:
Substance use treatment
Positive adult role models, coaches, and mentors
Stable housing and stable household income, including living wage
Skills development and vocational training
Awareness campaigns about trafficking, including at-risk populations, red flags, and where to seek help
Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. Regardless of someone’s life experiences or current mindset, they can develop resiliency through positive connections with others, self-defined goals, and broadening their perspective. Providers can play a key role in promoting resiliency. For more information, visit the American Psychological Association Help Center.
To effectively respond to human trafficking, you need to assess the needs of individuals who have experienced trafficking and deliver appropriate services. Each individual will be unique and have a different cultural background, length of time since victimization, and response to their trafficking experience. It is critical that you use a person-centered, trauma-informed, culturally and linguistically appropriate response to ensure individuals are connected to the best services.
A vital component of responding to human trafficking is collaborating with a multidisciplinary team of experts that can provide an array of services such as legal aid, housing, and mental health services.