Respond to at least two colleagues who visited a different site and note similarities and differences between what you had learned and what your colleagues had shared about steps for becoming an ally to that group. Explain the impact of what your colleagues shared in their post.
Colleague 1: B
Human trafficking is defined as the movement of an individual by forceful means to “achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation” (Liam, 2007). The purposes of human trafficking are many, ranging from sexual exploitation, slavery, removal of organs or even forced surrogacy (Liam, 2007). The United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes has dedicated portions of its comprehensive website to information on human trafficking, including the jarring statistics, its many forms and their response to the crime. This agency works with states to develop enforceable laws to decrease the cases of human trafficking across borders, as well as within borders. Victims of this crime are not only children and women, but men, as well (Liam, 2007). The website also includes a section regarding frequently asked questions, as many people are not aware that human trafficking remains a pervasive societal tragedy (Liam, 2007).
In the case of 13-year old Veronica, the child was sold for sexual acts by both her maternal aunt and the man who was responsible for saving her from the situation (Plummer, Makris and Brocksen, 2014). Fortunately for Veronica she was eventually able to escape the life of horror that could have been awaiting her. However, the heinous acts to which she was subjected will leave a lasting impact on her life, and the guidance of a professional, in her case her assigned social worker, is so vital for healthy development (Plummer, et. al., 2014). Veronica is first in need of validation that the events of the past year are, indeed, as significantly impacting and as inexcusable as she deems them to be (Liam, 2007). She will require consistent support as she continues to assimilate into a healthy, productive life as a teenage girl without such a brutal daily life (Plummer, et.. al., 2014).
As professionals it will become our responsibility to become allies of individuals who have been victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking, although a brutal reality, is not spoken about within the mainstream. Perhaps it needs to be. The vast majority of these victims are either in the minority, because of culture, age or gender (Liam, 2007). Therefore, we will have to become the voice of the individuals who feel as though they have none. Awareness needs to be raised, with particular emphasis being placed on conflicted geographical areas (Liam, 2007). Helping refugees, in particular, to understand their options as far as employment and education, has been a beneficial strategy to deter individuals from believing the lies of human traffickers (Liam, 2007). Additionally, it remains the responsibility of social workers within the field to continue to offer support of victims of these unspeakable crimes, with the ultimate goal being these individuals speaking out for themselves. This is truly the paramount form of empowerment.
Liam, P. (2007) What is human trafficking? Available at: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html (Accessed: 9 August 2016).
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Walden International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-Reader].
Colleague 2: Y
The websites the student visited were the US Department of State’s (n.d.) pages on how to identify and assist trafficking victims and ways to help fight trafficking. The two pages describe signs to look out for in order to identify those who might be trafficking victims, such as
- Living with employer
- Poor living conditions
- Multiple people in cramped space
- Inability to speak to individual alone
- Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
- Employer is holding identity documents
- Signs of physical abuse
- Submissive or fearful
- Unpaid or paid very little
- Under 18 and in prostitution (Identify and Assist, n.d.).
This basic information can be used to increase bystanders’ awareness of trafficking and those who may be victims, which would be the first step in supporting victims; the website goes on to list questions bystanders should ask the potential victim if they have the opportunity (Identify and Assist, n.d.). The State Department website also offers further training for individuals and businesses on how to spot and respond to trafficking (15 ways, n.d.). Additional ways to support Veronica and other victims of trafficking include hosting seminars and events to increase awareness of the problem, and becoming an ethical consumer by not supporting companies who profit from any form of exploited or slave labor (15 ways, n.d.). If there are already organizations in one’s area that address trafficking, a great way to be an ally and support victims like Veronica, would be to volunteer. A final, easy, way that anyone who travels can utilize in order to be an ally, is the phone app, TraffickCam, on which users take pictures of their hotel rooms and upload them to a database, allowing law enforcement to check the photos against photos sex traffickers have used photos of their victims in their advertisements to attract customers (Itkowitz, 2016). No person should ever be forced to perform labor, especially not sex, and especially not children; doing so is an oppressive violation of human rights and must be combated by everyone, but especially social workers.
15 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/help/
Identify and Assist a Trafficking Victim. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.state.gov/j/tip/id/index.htm
Itkowitz, C. (2016, July 1). An incredibly simple way your phone may help save sex trafficked children. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/07/01/how-simply-snapping-a-photo-of-your-hotel-room-could-save-trafficked-children/
Choose a colleague’s post and widen the discussion by offering two additional responses to noted indicators. Please use the Learning Resources to support your answer.
If I was a school social worker working with a student like Stephanie Parker, I would notice many red flags and indicators of suicide. One indicator is the fact that her home life stresses her out, so much so that she has been hospitalized many times (Laureate Education, 2013). She expressed that her home life drives her crazy and that she is bad at dealing with stress (Laureate Education, 2013). Another indicator is the fact that she feels that her feelings are ignored or that their unimportant in the grand scheme of things (Laureate Education, 2013). She feels that her mother’s needs are a priority and that she has to just deal with it because it’s her mother (Laureate Education, 2013). Another indicator is that she feels stuck in her situation (Laureate Education, 2013). She feels obligated to put up with all of her stressors because she loves her mother and wants to help her (Laureate Education, 2013). Lastly, another indicator is her negative outlook on situations (Laureate Education, 2013). She told a story where her friends looked up at the sky and admired the stars, but she saw a huge black eye that was lifeless and didn’t care about anyone (Laureate Education, 2013).
Working with a student who is showing indicators of suicide, I would want to remain calm and empathetic (Determination of Risk and Intervention, 2016). I would want to show the student that I am listening and that they are heard. I would use empathetic responses after each indicator to express that I understand them and their feelings. I would aim to make sure that the student feels respected and comfortable talking to me. I would ask the student questions to find the source of their feelings, and I would ask the student if they have an outlet for their negative feelings. I would ask questions about the student’s friends and support system, and about the things that the student likes to do. “Because the therapist’s first contact with a suicidal person could be the only contact they have with them, the initial session could be their only chance at intervention and treatment” (Firestone, n.d.). I would ask these questions to get a better understanding of the student and to help myself figure out the intervention style that will be best.
Determination of Risk and Intervention. (2016). Retrieved from Syracuse University School of Education : http://soe.syr.edu/academic/counseling_and_human_services/modules/Suicide_Risk/determination_of_risk_and_intervention.aspx
Firestone, L. (n.d.). SUICIDE: WHAT THERAPISTS NEED TO KNOW. Retrieved from Continuing Education in Psychology: https://www.apa.org/education/ce/suicide.pdf