Human trafficking forms complex webs of exploitation and pain. In their efforts to access a safer and better life, survivors must juggle potential risks to their health, safety, immigration status, families, and more. When organizations, such as JFS, assist survivors of human trafficking, the care we provide must account for the many challenges facing our clients. As a JFS case manager for trafficking survivors, I witness first hand the transformative power of holistic care. JFS is a partner agency of the Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force, a coalition dedicated to the prevention of human trafficking. The coalition’s varied staff ensure our clients have access to an array of services that meet the unique needs of trafficking survivors. Legal services, access to housing and healthcare, therapy, and case management are just some aspects of holistic care that our clients require.
One particular client, Mari*, comes to mind when I think about the importance and power of holistic care. Mari is a survivor of trafficking. She recently relocated to New Orleans in an effort to build a new life for herself and her children. While Mari was my client, our initial goals were to secure healthcare and nutrition for her daughters. In addressing the material needs of her children, Mari was better able to prioritize her own needs. Parents often struggle to identify or vocalize their needs when they are concerned for their children. Mari now sees a therapist to address emotional challenges stemming from her past experiences and relationships. In prioritizing her mental health, Mari is able to thrive as a mother and community member. By addressing the needs of her whole person and family, Mari can focus on building the life she and her daughters deserve. Recognizing the importance of holistic care is the first step in empowering victims on their journeys.
Trafficking and trauma do not exist in a vacuum. The aftershocks of such experiences reach children, family members, financial status, communities, and more. Piecemeal efforts to assist survivors are certainly helpful, but caring for the whole person is essential for survivors to thrive.
This Human Trafficking Awareness Month, consider donating to organizations that prioritize holistic care for clients. Check out the Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force to learn more about trafficking in our city and metro area.
*To protect client privacy, we use pseudonyms.
This project was made possible with funding provided by the Covenant House.← Blog