Provider’s role in providing care, reporting, and what to do when someone discloses

This section utilizes information and ideas from (Macy, & Johns, 2011; Dovydaitis, 2010)

What’s the provider’s role for identifying victims? What are they required to do by law? Under or over 18 years? 

  • Every person engaging in sex work and under 18 years old is considered a victim of sex trafficking.

  • For victims under age 18, the provider is legally obligated to contact Child Protective Services.

  • For those over 18 years old, force, fraud or coercion must be proven for a survivor to take legal action on their trafficker, and the HCP is not obligated to report even if fraud, force or coercion exist.

  • Do not call authorities, such as police or immigration services, unless given the consent of the person over 18.

  • Persons may have well founded reasons for avoiding authorities. Attempts should be made to discuss viable options and the HCP must gain consent for actions.

What’s the provider’s role if a survivor discloses? 

  • Acknowledge what the patient discloses, validate that you believe them and that they are brave and didn’t deserve this, and then move on (don’t get stuck in the disclosure, it’s not why the patient came to the clinic).

  • Offer the patient the option of interacting with male or female staff or interpreters. 

  • Maintain a non-judgmental and empathetic manner and show respect for and acceptance of each individual, their culture, and situation.  

  • Show patience. Do not press for information if individuals do not appear ready or willing to speak about their situation or experience.

  • Tell the person that they do not have to answer if they do not want to. If they say they do not want to answer, it is the healthcare provider’s responsibility to accept their decision.

  • Ask only relevant questions that are necessary for the assistance being provided. Do not ask questions out of simple curiosity (i.e. about the person’s virginity, money paid/earned, number of sexual partners).