It takes a village: The role of community partners in supporting trauma-informed healthcare access for victim/survivors of human trafficking
Human trafficking is a growing public health concern that leaves victims with lasting physiological, psychological, and sociological issues. Healthcare providers, including Family Medicine Physicians, often represent the first line of care for trafficking victims. There is a need for healthcare programs nationwide to provide comprehensive trauma-informed longitudinal health services to victims and survivors of human trafficking. In addition to training in Communicating with local community agencies is key to building a bridge of trust that will encourage human trafficking victims and survivors to access primary and long-term care. We will discuss the best practices and lessons learned from implementing an integrated, evidence-based healthcare model that engages community organizations to ensure equitable access to trauma-informed care for victims of human trafficking. We will define our approach to forming robust community alliances, including identifying potential community partners, strategies for communication and coordination of care, and evaluation of program efficacy and survivor outcomes. These approaches can be implemented by healthcare organizations in any community to enhance equitable, sustainable access to care for victims of human trafficking and other forms of domestic violence and forced labor, promoting healthier communities nationwide. Trauma-informed care, a crucial part of establishing effective long-term care for victims is the engagement of and partnering with local community organizations that provide additional resources and for victims. These community partners can include law enforcement agencies, social services, support groups, and providers of resources such as housing/shelter, food, transportation, legal representation, career services, and counseling. Partnering with local organizations mitigates many of the typical barriers to care encountered by victims and survivors, enhancing their access to long-term health services.