Using Counselors to Assist in Anti-Trafficking Efforts


Claire Openshaw, MA, LPC | September 20 | 1:30-2:30 PM

Topic: Research, Direct Service | Knowledge Level: Beginner, Intermediate | Location: TBD

Given the significant rise of human trafficking in the last decade, in all 50 states (UNODC, 2018), there is a high likelihood that counselors will come into contact with trafficked persons. Mental Health Counselors are involved in all aspects of prevention, development, wellness, and advocacy across all social services, including child welfare, hospitals, youth and domestic violence shelters, and the criminal justice system. Thus, they are in an ideal position to identify trafficked persons and assist in establishing safety, which will significantly contribute to anti-trafficking efforts (Cree, 2008). Trafficked persons typically do not identify themselves as such, this is mainly due to the psychological coercion from their traffickers and the shame that surrounds their experiences (Brown, 2008). Thus, it is essential that counselors can recognize this type of exploitation so that they can assist in providing appropriate resources. However, there is little awareness of trafficking in the U.S. within the counseling field (Thompson & Haley, 2018). This presentation will discuss on-going research that is investigating the impact of an educational intervention on a counselors’ knowledge, awareness, attitudes, empathy, and efficacy of sex trafficking. It will also facilitate an open discussion on the ways in which the counseling field can better collaborate with anti-trafficking organizations.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Describe ways that counselors can assist in anti-trafficking efforts

·  Describe on-going research that is investigating the impact of an educational intervention on a counselors’ knowledge, awareness, attitudes, empathy, and efficacy of sex trafficking

About the Presenter