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The Victim’s Safety and Well-being take Priority in All Matters: Understanding Trauma

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2020
3 pages

This brief published by the Office for Victims of Crime Human Trafficking Capacity Building Center provides guidance for understanding trauma in the context of human trafficking.


This publication of the Office for Victims of Crime Human Trafficking Capacity Building Center and Project Trust discusses the need to effectively address trauma as a critical component of effective victim service delivery. Trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that create physically and emotionally harmful or threatening experiences. The adverse effects of trauma may occur immediately or over time. They may affect an individual’s mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being. Victims of human trafficking often experience high levels—and multiple layers—of physical and psychological trauma, involving emotional or mental distress. Trauma-informed care creates opportunities to rebuild a survivor’s sense of empowerment by prioritizing restoring the survivor’s feelings of safety, choice, and control. Trauma-informed care recognizes and addresses the vulnerabilities resulting from the trauma experienced, including the physical, social, and emotional impact of trauma. An organization can apply trauma-informed care principles to its policies, procedures, practices, and settings to better meet victims’ service needs.

Date Published: September 1, 2020