Sex Trafficking Intervention: A Therapeutic Approach to Helping Victims
Dr. Llena Chavis
This project aims to educate mandated reporters on how to intervene with sex trafficked victims. Sex trafficking is not a new problem in our society, but often goes unidentified as a result of lack of education and awareness of the topic. Many professionals are in a position to intervene safely and effectively, but may lack the tools needed. Medical personnel in particular are in the unique position of having the responsibility to both identify victims and treat their immediate medical needs. The objectives of this project were two fold: 1) To conduct a needs assessment of medical personnel around the topic of sex trafficking interventions, and 2) use the needs assessment to aid in creating an intervention module. Research participants were selected using snowball sampling that included 11 medical personnel. A series of seven questions were asked in open-ended interviews as well as two quantitative-scaled questions. These interviews were conducted either in person or by telephone at the participant’s convenience. The analysis of these interviews was done both by hand and by computer. Results of the study yielded three primary areas of concern for the medical personnel: 1) what resources to connect a victim to, 2) how to identify a victim by knowing what signs to look for, and 3) the demographic of the victims of trafficked. Additional findings were that the first barrier in assessment and intervention from the practitioner’s standpoint was getting the victim to report, and second, if the practitioner had encountered situations similar to trafficking, they had a higher self-reported sense of competency. We have developed a training module in response to this research and have developed a continuing education training course for medical practitioners and social workers.
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