Barriers to Victim Identification
Health care providers need to be aware of these possible barriers to a victim’s disclosure of true circumstances and to create an atmosphere of trust and care in which the victim feels safe enough to reveal what is happening to them.
Victim-Related Barriers Often Stem From:
Sometimes the very strengths of the hospitals can be barriers; for example, hospital policy may be non-judgmental and non-invasive – asking fewer personal questions – providing service without asking too many questions. However, in the case of a potential trafficking victim, if signs and indicators have been identified a better approach is to find the time to interact with the client, build trust, with a goal of assessing risk of exploitation and offering resources and services to the client.
Another real barrier to identifying and responding appropriately to a trafficking victim is implicit bias on the part of hospital staff.
For example, survivors note that they believe they have experienced bias about their perceived involvement in prostitution, or judgment as to whether they are poor, unmarried, unable to care for themselves or their children; or whether they should be pregnant or, if they are pregnant, whether they should carry a pregnancy to term, and whether they are fit to be mothers or should be encouraged/urged to adopt.
Health providers need to be aware of these possible barriers to a victim’s disclosure of true circumstances and to create an atmosphere of trust and care in which the victim feels safe to reveal what is happening to them.