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Training: Health Practitioners? Doctors

Discuss about the Identification of Sex Trafficking Victims and Recommendations.

The paper examines the identification of human sex trafficking and recommends the best strategies that need to be taken to improve the process of identification. To achieve this, it discusses the need for training and educating of different stakeholders including health practitioners, social workers, police, and immigration officers. 

The training will be carried out to effectively break the lambs silence by incorporating the doctors and nurses into the avoidance of human trading (trafficking) phenomenon (Cokar et al, 2016). This training will focus on physician-patient relationships to facilitate the process of identifying the violated human trafficking victims.   This training is meant to bring together the physicians with knowledge on how to handle human trafficking victims and foreign sex workers. It is also perceived that trained medical practitioners have knowledge which is essential in the process of identifying these survivors (Dovydaitis, 2010).

According to medical practitioners, some sex workers have been exposed to violence as well as being compelled to work contrary to their will, this view is therefore essential towards the identification of the survivors. There is need to train physicians in order to boost identification since many physicians still do not report women violation and exploitation even though they are aware of their obligation to do so.

The training will provide medical staff with the moral standards on how to handle human trafficking. It will also assist to know how to preserve these patient dignity as well as their universal safety. Training is also meant to help medics to make assessments as to whether the patients are victims of sex trafficking (Alvarez & Alessi, 2012). The training will also be significant in reinstating human trafficking and sexual health as public health salient issues. These issues must be captured under the standards of practice as well as ethical codes of conduct. Doing so will boost the rates of identifying sex trafficking victims whose rights are violated. 

The immigration officers need to be trained to understand the tricks and fraudulent strategies used by traffickers when trafficking women for compelled sex. The authorities face challenges in terms of how they are equipped to identify the child victims. For example, traffickers use deceitful identifications within a given corporation of others who are related to them in either way. In this respect, the fraudulent activities hinder any suspicion by the responsible officials located at the United States-Mexico border (Hemmings et al., 2016).

Immigration Officers

The immigration officer must also be trained to separate a minor travelling alone with no documentation from young violating migration rules and a potential individuals who have suffered in the hands of traffickers. The training will focus on the improvement at the boundaries which has the most potential for improving the process of identifying the child victims of trafficking. It will ensure improved bilateral protocols are put in place at the Australian borders for effective identification of sex trafficking cases at the original apprehension. It will also focus on improving trust between the governmental agencies since lack of it is a barrier to proper recognition of sex trafficking victims (women) (Hodge, 2014).

 The police (authorities) at the checkpoint stationed at roads leading to neighboring state must be trained to identify girls and women victim of trafficking by questioning girls being trafficked in company of other adults (Go?dziak & MacDonnell, 2007).Police also need to be trained to identify children being detained in the detention facility as victims of trafficking. Without training, such a child can stay in the facility even for up to eight months without being recognized as a victim of trafficking. The police needs to use the lengthy periods of detention as an ample opportunity to recognize the victim as a trafficked one not as a mere violator of the immigration laws.

The training will also help to show that the reason for heightened cases of women trafficking are due to more attention to terrorism mitigation after 9/11 at the expense of sex trafficking (Lange, 2011). This is because there is less sufficient training on trafficking issues by the Border Patrol agents since more governmental resources have been overwhelmingly channeled towards alleviating terrorism. This training will, therefore, eliminate the complication arising from such a shift in focus. This is because the identification of victims, particularly female children and women, at the border becomes more difficult because they usually present themselves and categorized as adults.

The police and border patrols will be trained to become aware that most of the girls and women are being coached by the traffickers to say they are related even though they are not biologically related to their traffickers. The police must also be trained on how to identify victims at the border before crossing to another state.

The training will, therefore, avail broad procedures to make sure that identification data is always conveyed to relevant authorities in cases when victims are put into state custody.  Doing so will help border patrols or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who might be having beliefs that a particular woman is in the hands of drug traffickers, but it is still possible that such information will not be received by the federal facility for effective identification. Conveying such messages is critical in the identification and prevention of deportation as well as releasing back the traffickers.


Training law enforcement officers at the local level is necessary to improve the recognition of the women who have been subjected to human trafficking. Currently, the greater proportion of native rule implementation interactions with victims of  human trafficking occur in an ad hoc way as law enforcement officers frequently come across victims during the course of daily operations. Such training will predate the identification, rescue as well as restore campaign and related training programs for the police, service providers and the general public. The child welfare workers, the police as well as school administrators will be well trained to make effective valuation of victim’s conditions leading to early identification.  

The social service personnel must be trained and equipped with the necessary skills needed to probe and interview women being trafficked. They should properly seek information regarding her family and migration experience. This will make them know whether such a woman detainee is a victim of trafficking or a mere violator of immigration laws. When the staff is ill-equipped to inquire relevant issues that can lead to appropriate recognition of the women violation, the identification process is curtailed (Palmer, 2010).

The social worker must be equipped with the operations of the extensively appropriate and distinguished strengths-based societal work perspective. By having this perspective in practice, the social worker will be able to understand the role of originality and inventiveness, bravery and common sense of both social worker and the survivor when identifying the survivors. The social workers will be able to appreciate the role of trust when dealing with these survivors by acknowledging that a narrow self-consciousness could still gradually give rise to greater openness.

The social workers are also important individuals in the identification of victims and survivors of sex trafficking. This is because they have an upper hand in understanding the indicators of physical and emotional symptoms. This can help in the demarcation of victims, some features as well as indicators that suggest the presence of women trafficking (Johnson, 2012). The social workers are privy to the indicators categorized as situational, story, and demeanor and hence can identify the victims more easily than the mandated body of the law enforcement officers.

The education should entail the needs of women and girls who have been trafficked. The powers and blockades to meeting these requirements, the mode of service delivery (models that work best) and training needed by the professionals should also be included. The training will be essential to equip the health practitioners with the moral issues to deal with the victims of human trafficking. The training will also focus on the explanation of the silence compliance model. This will help all stakeholders including the social workers to understand why it is increasingly difficult to understand the victim silence.

Social Workers

By explaining the reasons behind the victim silence, the question that is asked by most people relating to ‘why don’t they just tell someone?’ will be addressed effectively thereby facilitating the identification process. The model will, therefore, ensure that stakeholders get to understand categories of reasons that make victims seem to comply with their traffickers. In so doing, the stakeholders will have an understanding of the dynamics of the silencing power of the abusive or captive scenarios like human trafficking.

Giving a comprehensive explanation of this model to the survivors will also boost the ability to open up for help and hence this will make most of them to gather courage and speak out. They will speak out their range of beliefs including feeling as being to blame, unworthiness, stupid, helpless situation which will in turn be reversed. Therefore, by assuring them of their continued dignity even after being perpetrated, the victims’ identification process will be enhanced. The stakeholders will thus understand the effects of coercion, collusion, and contrition on the ability to report their perpetrators.   

The training will focus on creating awareness and knowledge concerning the needs of individuals rescued from traffickers and the effectiveness and efficacy of the services to meet the identified needs. The training will also focus on the development and expansion of effective deterrence approaches alongside receptive short-and long-term healthiness, lawful as well as societal services for the survivors. The training will, therefore, focus on understanding the effects of women sex trafficking. These effects include the risk factors and impact of trauma and assault. Other effects include vulnerability, resources for full identification as well as implications for the survivors which entails criminal examinations as well as tribunals.

The training will also inspect the insufficiencies and provisional disparities within the arrangement created in the US to identify and care for the sex trafficking victims. This is a method to advance the recognition and service provision to women victims of sex trafficking. The training will also include the examination of challenges in identification so as to enhance the process of identification (Lange, 2011).

Different categories of people will be trained including social workers, survivors or victims (trafficked women) and other relevant professionals. The survivors in this sense will be the individuals trafficked who had been rescued by the law enforcement. They will be those who had experienced both exploitation for sex and labor and both had been or are presently involved with individuals offering societal services. The survivors will be included in the training to give insights into the sufficiency and delivery of services.

The professional participants will include service providers and the law enforcements officers drawn from participation in the professional collaboration to encounter women sex trafficking as well as their position regarding policy making with both NGOs and federal government. The representatives from the local, state as well as law implementation agencies who work in towards eradicating trafficking will also be trained alongside the specialists from the legal services, sexual assault, medical facilities, domestic violence as well as counseling agencies and housing assistance.  

As provided for by the kaleidoscope model, the education or training needs to have an appreciation of compound reflectons (systems, clients and professional needs). It should also provide for the interest and needs (needs of clients, professionals and system) to provide an exceptional as well as optimal image of the victims of sex trafficking (Busch-Armendariz, Nsonwu & Heffron, 2014). A social worker with this vantage point of view can understand how the needs and experiences of survivor impacts and be impacted by the legal, social, criminal justice system and medical service providers. Moreover, the social worker will be able to comprehend how the survivor impacts or be impacted by their family, social movement, social service eligibility and political movement regarding immigration.

The training needs to incorporate these impacts in a chronological manner including gaining insight as well as preparing for how the needs of the survivors may change over time. These changes can be as a result of future employability. The possible reunification with children as well as predicted changes in legal status will also be effective. A social worker will adapt service delivery and advocacy within as well as among other collaborative partners when a social worker is equipped with such information. It must be acknowledged that a social worker remains at the nexus of this transformation in the same manner the perspective of the kaleidoscope prism alters with the introduction of light and reflected.  This will in turn trigger a new pattern to rise and develop.   

A social worker will, therefore, be equipped with effective strategies that can help build trust with women sex trafficking survivors and professionals serving the identified survivors. This will help them to build trust about the process to mitigate this crime. Social workers endowed with this skill (interdisciplinary team) are important. This is because they create systemic trust together with confidence among the collective cohort to work efficiently and effectively. This skill helps them when addressing the three pillars of anti-trafficking efforts. These pillars include prevention, prosecution of traffickers as well as protection of the survivors.

The social workers should also be educated on the operationalization of a victim-centered approach. This is a level of cultural competence whereby a culture is widely defined beyond race and ethnicity. Since this approach is not sufficiently documented in the literature of social work, there is a need to borrow a list from the criminal justice where it is prevailing in relation to survivors of violent crime. The social worker will have the knowledge to apply the victim-centered approach. This will be done through having services and service providers developing and designing services ideally to address the needs of the survivors.

The social workers will effectively understand the sole mission and program services of this approach. A social worker will understand it as being developed via the lens of the survivor rather than what could be best for the professional. The training will hence ensure that a social worker understands the single point-of-contact by maintaining a victim-oriented approach. They will also be able to establish structures and responses to address the needs of survivors and shift.

The education should also focus on equipping the social workers with the tools and responsibilities needed to address the women sex trafficking problem. The training will emphasize that the social workers have a critical and significant roles in the future anti-trafficking efforts. They should be trained about the effective ways of primary prevention efforts which serve to reduce the vulnerability of the persons targeted for exploitation especially women and girl child.

The education also needs to focus on more work in early identification strategies for women that are being exploited already. The education needs to equip the social workers with specialized, innovative as well as evidence-based strategies that are compulsory to ameliorate women sex trafficking. Social workers mandated with counselling roles concerning homeless youths, health clinics and hospital must intervene. Moreover, those social workers dealing with domestic violence, shelter, and child welfare departments must assess, identify as well as intervene with the persons being trafficked. They are also needed to develop particular strategies to deal with the whole process.

The education should also focus on ensuring that specialized intervention strategies are deeply-rooted into culture while taking age and stages of development, category and duration of mistreatment and connection with people dealing with human trafficking into consideration. To sum up, the education should include effective attention to coordination of services, understanding of trust building as well as cultural competency (affirmation of survivor-oriented focus) to offer a thoughtful as well as proper factors improving survivor identification and reestablishment.  

The training should take a multiagency approach and should not be left for one body or line of profession. Bringing together a collaborative and diverse trainers drawn from social works, immigration agencies, NGOs, law enforcement, medical staff will ensure an all-inclusive training that will benefit the trainees.

The Interdisciplinary Model should be applied in the proper survivors and women sex trafficking victims’ identification. The integration of all stakeholders into the identification process will be effective in ensuring that everyone is brought on board to address this global crime. Even though guidelines have been established and published, the administration still face challenges to undertake their obligation. This has adversely led to the ineffective identification and protection of women and girls victims being sex trafficked. Section 107 (c) of the TVPA advocates for the identification of victims human trafficking who suffered severely.

In the past, however, nongovernmental and governmental organization have begun the creation of an interdisciplinary model in reacting to the TVPA. This move follows the appreciation that administrations (local and federal) together with nongovernmental agencies have to work in conjunction. They are subsequently beginning from the scratch to effectively design and develop models of collaboration. Even though many actors in the present system are not familiar working with each other, more studies are currently shifting to the interdisciplinary model to promote the identification trafficked women or those at risk of being trafficking.

Even though foster care providers may appear conversant working with court of law as well psychiatrists, they may not be familiar with the federal government. Nevertheless, this problem has been discouraged by this collaborative model. This is because the problem bars effectiveness in identification of women being trafficked for sex. Accordingly, the very complexity of the systems may sometimes defeats the objective of outcome as well as serving trafficked victims. The system should be made as simple as possible since the more complex a system is the more weaknesses it will have.

 The interdisciplinary approach has been applied in the state of Florida, the US where all the stakeholders including social workers, police, immigration officers, border patrols, medical personnel, schools, detention facilities, counselling fraternity have worked together. They have shared critical information that leads to effective and early identification of both women who walk alone without documentation or those being accompanied by their traffickers who pretend to be their relatives (Nikolic-Ristanovic, 2010). It has also helped in the identification of women who are being trafficked for sex.

It is also taking shape in Australia though still at early stages of implementation. The bottom line, however, is that interdisciplinary model is effective and should always be encouraged at all levels to eliminate the sex trafficking phenomenon. Australia has also given an online platform ( ) to report human trafficking for the intention of sexual exploitation as well as given alternative call 131AFP (131237) as well as email ([email protected] ) to facilitate the identification process. Moreover, the Australian Federal Police has given detailed explanation in its websites ( regarding the signs of a person being trafficked or at a risk of trafficking to facilitate the interdisciplinary identification model. The Australian government is committed to reduce sex trafficking. The social workers work through the department of social services (DSS) to contribute significantly and sustain a reduction in violence against women. The government uses social workers through the National Plan to Reduce Violence against women and their Children 2010-2022 (the National Plan). It partners with the state and territory governments alongside other key stakeholders including social workers and the delivery of the Support for Trafficked People program. The DSS works with the Office for Women and with other social workers portfolios across government thereby advancing gender equality and improve the wellbeing as well as status of women in Australia.


It has been noted that identification of sex trafficking still faces serious challenges due to the lack of a coordinated approach that brings all stakeholders together. The interdisciplinary model that brings together the law enforcement officers, immigration officers, social workers and other relevant stakeholders is the best model to enhance the identification process.


Alvarez, M. B., & Alessi, E. J. (2012). Human Trafficking Is More Than Sex Trafficking and Prostitution Implications for Social Work. Affilia, 27(2), 142-152.

Busch-Armendariz, N., Nsonwu, M. B., & Heffron, L. C. (2014). A kaleidoscope: The role of the social work practitioner and the strength of social work theories and practice in meeting the complex needs of people trafficked and the professionals that work with them. International Social Work, 57(1), 7-18.

Cokar, M., Ulman, Y. I., & Bakirci, N. (2016). Breaking the silence of the lambs: integrating medical staff in prevention of human trafficking. Acta Bioethica, 22(1).

Dovydaitis, T. (2010). Human trafficking: the role of the health care provider. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 55(5), 462-467.

Go?dziak, E., & MacDonnell, M. (2007). Closing the gaps: The need to improve identification and services to child victims of trafficking. Human Organization, 66(2), 171-184.

Hemmings, S., Jakobowitz, S., Abas, M., Bick, D., Howard, L. M., Stanley, N., ... & Oram, S. (2016). Responding to the health needs of survivors of human trafficking: a systematic review. BMC health services research, 16(1), 320.

Hodge, D. R. (2014). Assisting victims of human trafficking: strategies to facilitate identification, exit from trafficking, and the restoration of wellness. Social work, swu002.

Johnson, B. C. (2012). Aftercare for survivors of human trafficking. Social work and Christianity, 39(4), 370.

Lange, A. (2011). Research note: challenges of identifying female human trafficking victims using a national 1-800 call center. Trends in Organized Crime, 14(1), 47-55.

Nikolic-Ristanovic, V. (2010). Supporting victims of trafficking: towards reconciling the security of victims and states. Sec. & Hum. Rts., 21, 189.

Palmer, N. (2010). Essential Role of Social Work in Addressing Victims and Survivors of Trafficking, The. ILSA J. Int'l & Comp. L., 17, 43.

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