Your Role as a Service Provider in Assisting Trafficked Persons

Next Steps in Module 4

This module is intended to help you recognize a person who may have been trafficked. The next module, How to Help a Trafficked Person, provides information and resources on how to support a person who may have been trafficked, including information on what services they may require and how to make referrals.

As discussed in Module 2, human trafficking is happening in Canada, and is a clandestine criminal activity. It is difficult to detect and data on cases in Canada is scarce. Trafficked persons have likely surfaced in police stations, hospitals, lawyer’s offices, transition houses, community service agencies and elsewhere without anyone recognizing their circumstances.

Trafficked persons may be too scared, too confused or unable to come forward to reach out for help due to many factors. If they do come forward, it is highly unlikely that they will tell you they have been trafficked.

My Story: For a long time, I didn’t self-identify [as a trafficked person]. I didn’t know what trafficking was. I t was only when I got out for a year that I figured out what happened to me…

- Stacey

Don’t worry if you are unable to identify — without a doubt — that a person has been trafficked. Your responsibility is to determine, to a reasonable degree, that a person may have been trafficked so that you can provide the most effective support and most appropriate referrals.

To do this, you need to establish a climate of safety and trust. Avoid asking a lot of direct questions — instead, listen carefully to what the person says. Let the person tell their story at their own pace.

It is generally best not to interview for facts (dates, times, places, names), unless you are a police officer or other designated interviewer. Most service providers do not need to know every fact or detail; you need to know enough to determine what the person’s immediate needs are (for food, water, medical care or shelter, for example) and what services you can recommend.

Because each case is different, each person requires a different approach. Furthermore, your agency will have its own techniques and processes. With this in mind, this module has a few suggestions to establish a relationship of trust with a person who may have been trafficked.


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