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Healthcare Subcommittee

Pillar 4: Referral and Response

About the Referral and Response Pillar

Human trafficking has overwhelming psychological and physical consequences for survivors. Healthcare visits are not only a unique opportunity to identify and provide medical interventions to survivors but also an opening to provide psychosocial resources. Agencies and programs that aid survivors should practice trauma-informed and survivor-centered care. These approaches aim to minimize re-traumatization and understand the physical, social, and emotional impacts of trauma. Often, survivors may find it hard to trust and may not be ready to seek assistance Survivors should not be forced to participate in services but rather empowered to decide what services and assistance they want.

Regarding minors, there are limits of confidentiality related to child maltreatment, including exploitation. Based on California law, as a health care provider and mandated reporter, you are required to contact your local social service agency and law enforcement if there is any suspicion or evidence of abuse (sexual, physical, neglect) this includes trafficking. Most child protection agencies have specialized units for commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) to help address the trauma and resulting needs of minor survivors of human trafficking.

It is important to remember that each survivor’s situation is unique, and the needs are complex. Short- and long-term services and support are necessary. In order to begin emotional, psychological, and physical recovery, survivors need safe paths to leave their traffickers. Resources needed may include but not be limited to medical, mental health, housing, legal, food assistance, and substance abuse recovery. Based on current research and survivor recommendations, providing a safe, non-judgmental, survivor-driven approach is essential to long-term recovery. Healthcare providers and institutions must be able to collaborate with multiple providers and community agencies to provide resources and referrals that provide long term services that extend past acute care physical needs. Ideally, creating a local, comprehensive response to violence and exploitation requires collaboration with healthcare, local anti-trafficking non-profit agencies such as victim services, survivor advocacy, and the local task force.



Identified specialized resources designed to offer comprehensive support to survivors, all guided by the principles of survivor-informed care.


Waymakers' Victim Assistance Programs

Waymakers is a nonprofit resource building safer communities by helping people find their way. Whether redirecting youth offenders, helping sheltered children get back on track, unifying troubled families, resolving community conflicts or empowering victims of violence, Waymakers clears the path so clients can advance beyond crisis.

Waymakers' Victim Assistance Program - Human Trafficking Program advocates for victims and survivors of human trafficking with crisis response, case management and support within the criminal justice system.


Orangewood Foundation's Project CHOICE

Orangewood Foundation's Project CHOICE empowers youth ages 11-21 years to take back their power of choice, through a survivor centered and strengths based approach, prioritizing the health, safety, and stability of each youth.

Supports youth in individual case management, safety planning, medical, mental health & substance use support, housing referrals, education & employment assistance, court support & advocacy, linkages to community resources. A drop-in resource center is available to receive a number of services and support.


Orangewood Foundation's The Lighthouse 

Orangewood Foundation's The Lighthouse is a survivor-centered, trauma-informed, transitional housing program for young women ages 18-22 who are survivors of domestic sex trafficking. The confidential safe home located in Orange County is not an emergency shelter. The Lighthouse provides comprehensive case management support for residents seeking safety and stability to help support survivors move forward in life free from human trafficking and exploitation.


The Salvation Army's Anti-Trafficking Services 

The Salvation Army Orange County’s Anti-Trafficking Services (TSA-ATS) provides foreign-born human trafficking survivors in Orange County holistic care through trauma-informed, culturally and linguistically sensitive, strengths-based, and survivor-centered case management and advocacy. TSA-ATS walks alongside survivors from crisis to sufficiency to thriving. 


National Human Trafficking Hotline 

The National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) connects victims and survivors of sex and labor trafficking with services and resources within the U.S. to get help and stay safe. The NHTH also receives tips about potential situations of sex and labor trafficking and facilitates reporting that information to the appropriate authorities in certain cases. The NHTH is 24/7, confidential, and help is available in English or Spanish, or in more than 200 additional languages through an on-call interpreter.  Call 1-888-373-7888 or text BEFREE. (233733).

The NHTH is not an emergency response system. In an emergency life threatening situation, call 911. To report child abuse involving minors of sex trafficking or sexual exploitation in Orange County, call the 24-hour OC Child Abuse Registry at 714-940-1000 0r 1-800-207-4464.


Polaris Project

Polaris is leading a survivor-centered, justice and equity-driven movement to end human trafficking. Since 2007, Polaris has operated the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, connecting victims and survivors to support and services, and helping communities hold traffickers accountable. Through that work, Polaris has built the largest known dataset on human trafficking in North America. The data and expertise gained from two decades of working on trafficking situations in real time informs strategies that hold traffickers accountable, support survivors on their healing journeys and address the vulnerabilities that enable the business of stealing freedom for profit.


Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program (URMP)

The mission of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is to promote the health, well-being, and stability of refugees, unaccompanied children, and other eligible individuals and families, through culturally responsive, trauma-informed, and strengths-based services.

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