SOAR Training to Combat Human Trafficking for Health Care and Social Service Providers Begins in August
July 29, 2016
By Katherine Chon, Director, Office on Trafficking in Persons, Administration for Children and Families & Adrienne Smith, Director, Division of Policy and Performance Management, Office on Women's Health
This Saturday, July 30, is the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. This day serves as a reminder that human trafficking is not only a global epidemic, but also a public health issue.
Human trafficking is a crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purpose of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud, or coercion (if a child under 18 is persuaded to perform a commercial sex act, proof of force, fraud, or coercion is not needed). Victims can be women and men, adults and children, citizens and noncitizens.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that over 20 million people are victims of human trafficking worldwide. In the United States, more than 25,000 cases of human trafficking have been identified and responded to by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline since 2007. Last year alone, the hotline answered almost 22,000 calls from every state and learned of more than 5,500 cases of human trafficking.
In 2014, researchers surveyed survivors of sex trafficking in the U.S. and found that 87.8% of them encountered a health care professional in a clinical or service setting during their exploitation, but the provider did not recognize the red flags and they remained unidentified. Knowing this, health care and social service providers are uniquely positioned on the front lines to identify and respond to human trafficking.
ACF’s Office on Trafficking in Persons and HHS’s Office on Women’s Health collaborated with survivors and experts to develop the Stop. Observe. Ask. Respond to Human Trafficking (SOAR) training for health care providers, public health professionals, social workers, and behavioral health professionals. This training is designed to equip these professionals with resources and tools to increase the number of potential victims identified and appropriately responded to in their work settings. It also reflects a shift towards a public health framework that is rooted in victim-centered and trauma-informed care.
Stop. Observe. Ask. Respond to Human Trafficking (SOAR) has four parts:
- Stop – Become aware of the scope of human trafficking
- Observe – Recognize indicators of human trafficking
- Ask – Identify and interact with clients/patients who may be potential human trafficking victims using a victim-centered approach
- Respond – Act effectively in response to a potential human trafficking victim
SOAR training kicks off at the end of August with several sessions offered in-person and online through the end of September. Enrollment details will be available on the SOAR website in early August.
For more information, read the SOAR frequently asked questions. Other inquiries can be submitted by email.
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