Identifying Best Practices and Barriers of Human Trafficking Victim Services within the State of Iowa

A very important labor and sex trafficking study was released on May 21st, 2018, and I want to share it with our blog followers. I have attached a copy of this important survivor service research project that was just released by Dr. Taylor Houston and the Research, Evaluation, and Best Practices Standards Committee of the Iowa NAHT. This 61 page study has 6 recommendations on pages 49-53 that I would ask you to please read. Click here to read the full report (PDF).

To save your time, I have summarized the six study recommendations below:

  1. Develop a set of best practice standards for delivery of services to survivors of sex and labor trafficking.
  2. Develop a public awareness campaign for labor trafficking and services specifically for its victims. Future projects should place equal emphasis on sex and labor trafficking.
  3. Develop specialized services for male and transgender victims of sex and labor trafficking. Future projects should include these groups.
  4. Develop an improved and expanded directory of organizations and individuals providing services. Implement this directory as an online interactive map.
  5. Foster better relations between culturally specific and nonspecific service providers.
  6. Growing anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment, as well as a lack of funding for social and health services (e.g. DHS and Medicaid), are a barrier for victims of sex and labor trafficking. Solicit more support from the Iowa congressional delegation and Iowa legislators which will further anti-trafficking goals.

The overall goal of this study was to increase knowledge about human trafficking service providers and to make recommendations. This study shows how survivor services are provided, what barriers are occurring that are denying access to certain services, and how those services are implemented.

This report highlights how providers are negotiating the stress related to their field of work and developing best practices to treat those individuals who have been trafficked. From their findings, the researchers conclude that while Iowa is in the process of developing a greater awareness and social response to human trafficking, those on the front lines are just beginning to fully grapple with this complex issue and develop effective practices to serve survivors in the way they feel they should be offered.

I want to publicly thank and commend Dr. Taylor Houston for his leadership and expertise in researching and compiling this very important study. I have no doubt that the six recommendations will be taken very seriously by the Iowa Network Against Human Trafficking and Slavery board of directors and our many allies and affiliates.