What to do when a human trafficking victim is identified

Warning - Do not approach the trafficker directly

After identifying a victim of human trafficking, the nurse with other health care providers should develop a plan of care that addresses the physical, psychosocial and safety needs of the patient (Hodge, 2014). It may be necessary to consult with health professionals involved in the treatment of physical injuries and diseases, mental health professionals and law enforcement officers of the courts. Health care institutions should have a plan in place for nurses and other front line healthcare providers with names of contact individuals to assist in executing legal orders of protection and providing shelter for the victims.

Safe Harbors for trafficked victims

States vary in the degree of safe harbor and supportive procedures afforded trafficking victims.  Safe harbor laws include legal protections and provision of services including housing.  The Polaris project recommends and evaluates states on their establishment of the following services;

Some states offer a protective approach mostly for children.  Other states provide services for all victims. Check your state’s laws from the links provide on the Your state law page.  For additional information or assistance, please contact Polaris at policy@polarisproject.org.

Victims of trafficking will have long term physical and psychosocial consequences from the abusive and restrictive experiences they have had.  They will need as much support and information as possible to help them through these difficult times (Dell et al, 2017).