For Service Providers

Sex trafficking is a complex problem that requires a unified response. It’s important that we work together to address this national issue.

We developed this material to support collaboration, sharing and learning. The resources in this section are for a broad range of professionals involved in anti-trafficking work. This includes, but isn’t limited to, social service providers, doctors, nurses, judges and police.

Please note:  When working in the area of sex trafficking, employing a non-judgmental approach is a best practice. With this in mind, the terms we use to express involvement in the sex industry respect and reflect myriad experiences and a spectrum of engagement.

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For Service Providers: Topics

Sex trafficking is a traumatic experience and its effects can result in a number of negative repercussions. In this section, we look at what trauma is and its implications as a basis for understanding some of the challenges survivors face.

Trauma bonding is a particularly complex result of repeated trauma and may be experienced by individuals in sex trafficking situations. Here, we offer information about trauma bonding and strategies for how to respond.

From our experience supporting survivors of sex trafficking and as promising practices from the industry advises, at Covenant House we ground our model of care in a trauma-informed approach. Learn more about this model of care and the four principles we emphasize here.

As service providers, you play a key role in an individual’s ability to exit their trafficking situations. How you interact when you encounter them is, therefore, an important consideration. In this section, we offer promising practices for engagement.

Stages of change is a theoretical model, which we describe here. It breaks down different phases in an individual’s readiness and ability to make change happen. Recognizing these stages can help you better understand what survivors need and guide your engagement.

Covenant House’s Anti-Trafficking Advocates work directly with survivors to support them on their journeys. Learn more about what an advocate’s work could look like and helpful practices to navigate this field.

Safety assessment and planning is a fluid, ongoing and survivor-led process. It is critical way to help reduce harm for the individuals you are working with and is a significant aspect of your work supporting survivors. We break down this process for you here.

For service providers who work with individuals suffering from the consequences of trauma, vicarious trauma is a serious concern. It develops over time and could result in compassion fatigue and/or burnout. Find out more about the warning signs and how to cope.

Covenant House's work with survivors of sex trafficking has evolved over time into a focused and comprehensive strategy that effectively supports these youth, raises awareness about the issue and prevents greater victimization. Learn more about our milestones here.

Working with survivors, police and community partners to identify service needs, Covenant House developed an anti-trafficking plan in 2016. Learn about this plan, our Urban Response Model, which includes prevention, direct services for survivors and research and evaluation.

This review of Covenant House’s crisis bed program captures its implementation over an 18-month pilot period. It aims to add to the collaborative effort of sharing and learning in order to strengthen a unified community response to combat the issue of sex trafficking.

This study provides a comprehensive review of the process that victims experience when exiting/escaping situations of sex trafficking. Read the report to learn about their needs, the barriers they face and promising practices service providers can adopt.