Restorative care and reintegrative services are an essential part of the continuum of care for a survivor. Without support post-rescue or exit, survivors may find themselves facing the same vulnerabilities that led to their exploitation in the first place.
But what does aftercare look like? What services need to be included? What happens when a survivor graduates from a restoration program? What reintegrative opportunities are available to survivors? How can community members help?
These are common questions when discussing restoration. But first, it’s important to understand what restoration includes. The AFRJ® has defined restoration as restorative aftercare and successful reintegration. Both aftercare and reintegrative services are critical because it’s not enough to offer post-rescue programs and services without also including opportunities for education and job skills so that every survivor in your community is equipped to pursue a successful future.
Aftercare. This includes both residential and non-residential programs and/or wrap-around aftercare services available for every survivor of human trafficking. A survivor of human trafficking needs access to restorative aftercare tailored to meet their individual needs and situation—whether he or she is an adult or minor, labor or sex trafficking victim, foreign national or citizen.
Residential programs can be short or long term with phases of programming that allow survivors to take one step at a time and celebrate their successes. Restorative care may be a home that offers housing and support specifically for human trafficking survivors. For minors, therapeutic foster care placement is an option in some states.
There are also non-residential programs that offer case management, connecting survivors to established services and programs in their community. Whether residential or non-residential, the range of care for a survivor may need to include medical, psychological, familial, spiritual, educational, or vocational services.
Reintegration. The goal for all survivors is successful reintegration and a solid foundation upon which to build a healthy, safe, and fulfilling future. Upon completion of a program, access to educational and vocational opportunities are critical for a survivor to thrive. Reintegrative programs include 3 Strands Global Foundation, Alive at Last, Randstad’s Hire Hope program, The Homestead, and Two Wings. Teaching life management and career readiness classes such as healthy relationships, finances, applying for scholarships, technical certifications, car maintenance, and more are all opportunities for community members to participate in the restoration process. Offering apprenticeships and employment opportunities are also ways that business owners and professionals can support survivors.
This month, explore what programs and services are offered in your area by looking over the Office on Trafficking in Persons Efforts to Combat Trafficking: State & Territory Profiles and global modern slavery directory. Also check your local attorney general’s website or task force/coalition for restoration programs. Reach out to the organizations to learn how you can come alongside them or fill a gap to meet a need in your local community.