Trauma-informed resources and survivor-informed practices to support and collaborate with survivors of human trafficking as professionals

“A survivor-informed practice acknowledges the unique perspectives of survivors with relevant expertise based on knowledge of their trafficking experiences and challenges they have faced in their efforts to regain and rebuild their lives. A survivor-informed practice includes meaningful input from a diverse community of survivors at all stages of a program or project, including development, implementation and evaluation.”

(Human Trafficking Leadership Academy, 2017

Survivor engagement allows organizations to better serve clients, craft programs, identify challenges and opportunities, and achieve agency missions and mandates. As a primary stakeholder in the anti-trafficking field, survivor leaders offer invaluable insight and expertise. Anti-trafficking efforts can only be successful with comprehensive inclusion of diverse professionals, including survivor leaders. It offers insight into the anti-trafficking field that, through application, adaptation and validation, will contribute to the development of evidence-based practices.

This Toolkit is a collection of new and existing resources that build organizational capacity to collaborate with and support staff, volunteers, and consultants who identify as survivor leaders. It is appropriate for use by anti-trafficking organizations, coalitions, task forces, volunteer programs, and other organizations who wish to improve collaboration with those impacted by human trafficking.

Many successful leaders did not have formal education when they began their careers. Survivor leaders often use their knowledge and lived experience to improve program performance, and many gain success through professional experience and/or supplementary education as their careers evolve. This Toolkit helps organizations create opportunities for survivors to be recognized as subject matter experts, opening doors where no other entry point may otherwise exist. For individuals seeking to escape trafficking, the presence of someone who has similar lived experiences often outweighs degrees or formal education.

The National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center (NHTTAC) developed this Toolkit with the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Trafficking in Persons. Through a team that includes survivor leaders and other anti-trafficking leaders, this Toolkit provides guidance, tools, and resources to build organizational capacity on professionally engaging survivors of human trafficking in the development, delivery, and evaluation of programming.