Long Term Care
Throughout the world, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked for labor, sex, domestic servitude, and even for organ harvesting. Any survivor of such trauma can be both mentally and physically scarred beyond comprehension.
Sadly, even within the United States, victims of trafficking have few places to go that pertain to their specific needs on their journey back to becoming functioning members of society. Although there are short-term shelters scattered throughout the country, there is a significant lack of long-term trauma care centers that provide the help victims need to reintegrate into society.
Beds and resources are not guaranteed to victims in need of assistance, leaving them with no reliable source of shelter or care. Throughout the nation, there are roughly 100,000-300,000 children alone involved in human sex trafficking each year. These children, along with the adults who are being victimized by human trafficking, are in need of specialized medical care and counseling in order to help them return to a life of normalcy and comfort.
In a study conducted in 2015, a thousand men, women, and children were interviewed after being rescued from traffickers in Southeast Asia. The results of the interviews show that over sixty people reported signs of depression and almost forty percent of the interviewees had some form of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (www.thinkprogress.org). After reviewing the data, it becomes evident that human trafficking victims require specific long-term trauma care in order to recuperate from their incredibly difficult past. Although there are many short-term shelters and organizations scattered throughout the country that pertain to immediate needs, few organizations, if any, provide victims with the specialized care that their situation requires.
Similar to the housing situation throughout the US, there is a lack of quality care centers within Florida as well. According to the Resource Directory of Florida Organizations that Assist Human Trafficking Survivors, there are only four long-term care centers (Wings of Shelter, Kristi House Miami, Selah Freedom, Camilla’s House) within the state of Florida specifically for victims of human trafficking(www.cahr.fsu.edu, Stevenson). Similar to the long-term centers across the country, these shelters alone do not supply enough beds to allow for many victims to stay at one time.
According to the Human Trafficking Annual Report written by Pam Bondi, the Florida state attorney, there are only nineteen beds reserved for minors and twenty-five reserved for adults (Bondi). According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and Polaris Project, Florida is ranked 3rd in the nation for number of human trafficking incidents with over 1,600 calls made to the hotline in 2016 alone, indicating that forty-four beds will not suffice (www.humantraffickinghotline.org, www.polarisproject.org).
The mental state of victims will only worsen without the proper facilities and services readily provided. Furthermore, it is more likely that they return to their previous pimps simply for food, water, and protection (Stevenson, Garcia). Although there are services that victims can take advantage of to help restore their lives, there simply is not enough being done to protect and assist the immense number of victims throughout the state.
Human trafficking plagues the lives of over 21,000,000 people worldwide. Throughout the US, millions of people are being sold and forced into servitude each year. As a modern and civilized society, a central focus should be to abolish this modern-day slavery that is going unseen and unheard of. Despite the efforts of many to end this heinous crime, change will ultimately bubble down to one question: who is willing to make a stand? Hopefully, everybody will take a stand against slavery and the people of this world will truly be able to enjoy freedom.
-John Houston II