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How to Engage

What is Wrong with You?

What has Happened to You?

A trauma-informed approach has been proven to be the most effective intervention for victims of human trafficking.  We can do this by:

  • Being authentic and respectful

  • Meeting the patient where they are

  • Acknowledging and believing the patient's story

  • Not taking the patient's reactions personally

When Interacting with a Potential Human Trafficking Victim

Make no assumptions...Victims often do no see themselves as victims.  Be sure to never insist or assume that a victim self-identify as a victim. 

Assess the Danger

Isolate the patient from any adult(s) accompanying him/her.


  • Is the trafficker present?

  • What will happen if the patient does not return to the trafficker?

Assist the patient to the bathroom or "testing" or tell the accompanying person that it is facility policy to speak to the patient alone.  

Ask the patient:

  • Is it safe for you to talk to me right now?

  • do you feel like you are in any kind of danger while speaking with me?

  • Are you concerned that you or a family member might be in danger?

When Communicating with a Human Trafficking Patient

 Talk with patient alone

  • Accompanying caregiver/companion may be trafficker

  • Important to ask questions not only about human trafficking, but also dating violence, suicidality, sexual history

Enlist trusted interpreter

  • DO NOT use family members or interpreter from the same community

For minor patients (<17 years old) limit history to minimal facts

  • Division of Child and Family Services and law enforcement should be contacted immediately for human trafficking concerns

  • Further detailed history will be gathered  from forensic interviewer

  • We are NOT investigators, we are healthcare professionals

A Trauma Informed and Victim Centered Approach Changes the Perspective From:

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