Taking a victim-centric approach

In the effort to combat human trafficking, it is vital for the public to remember that their primary role is to report any situation that seems amiss to expert organizations or specialists, rather than trying to handle it themselves.

When you come across a situation that doesn’t feel right and may involve human trafficking, the best course of action is to adopt a victim-centric approach in your response. This means prioritizing the safety, privacy, and well-being of the potential victim. However, it’s important to understand that managing the situation directly is not your responsibility.

A victim-centric report is about being sensitive to the trauma the victim may have experienced. It’s about ensuring their story is heard and understood without causing further harm. This involves referring the situation to professionals who are trained to provide the necessary support and resources, and who can respect the victim’s choices and rights throughout the process.

Your role as a member of the public is to be an observant and concerned ally. This means offering a non-judgmental space by reporting your concerns to the appropriate authorities or organizations, and then allowing these experts to take over.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that potential victims are empowered and supported on their path to recovery, and that they are treated with the dignity and compassion they deserve. By referring situations to those trained to handle them, you are playing a crucial part in the broader effort to bring perpetrators to justice and protect the rights and well-being of victims.

Key Indicators

  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Is the person alone in public late at night?
  • Does the person seem to be controlled or coached by a partner or companion?
  • Does the person avoid making eye contact or conversation?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?

*Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking.