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Human Trafficking

Developing Standards of Care for Anti-Trafficking Service Providers

Survivors of human trafficking have diverse needs and may receive assistance from a wide array of organizations that have varying degrees of experience and expertise.

OVC is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) to fund the development of standards of care (SOC) for anti-trafficking service providers in order to promote uniform service standards that will ensure consistent quality of care and reduce potential harm to trafficking survivors.

As the two principal federal agencies supporting services and assistance to victims of human trafficking in the United States, OVC and OTIP have a unique role and opportunity to collaborate on the development of SOC that individuals who experience trafficking can expect to receive when seeking help from OVC and OTIP-funded programs.

In March 2022, OTIP Director Katherine Chon joined OVC Director Kristina Rose for a discussion about this joint effort. Listen to this discussion or read the transcript.

Audio file

Read the transcript

In September 2022, under the OVC FY 2022 Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Program solicitation, Freedom Network USA was awarded a cooperative agreement to develop the SOC, working closely with OVC, OTIP, and a diverse group of stakeholders and survivors with lived experience. 

To begin the process, Freedom Network USA established a technical working group of 25 members inclusive of diverse perspectives and identities, including those of underserved communities, communities of color, LGBTQ+ communities, and people with disabilities.

The OVC-OTIP SOC initiative is a multi-phase project: goals, guiding principles, and relevant resources can be found in Appendix A of the OVC FY 2022 Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Program solicitation.

The cooperative agreement supports Phase 1: Project Planning and Research; and Phase 2: Drafting, Public Comment, Peer Review, and Publication. OVC and OTIP anticipate supporting future phases of this project associated with dissemination, TTA, and implementation. Throughout the initiative, Freedom Network USA will also work with an external evaluator identified by OVC and OTIP.

The SOC will address all levels of victim service responses to adult and minor survivors of sex and labor trafficking rendered by service delivery organizations funded by OVC and OTIP, and other service providers who do not receive that funding. This includes, but is not limited to: outreach and identification, screening, service delivery, referral, interactions with the public service systems, advocacy, recordkeeping and data protections, and privacy and confidentiality. 

The SOC will contemplate a comprehensive array of direct services, including case management, housing, legal, behavioral health, economic empowerment, and other services.

To ensure that the SOC is evidence-based, the following foundational documents have been developed by project partners to guide the development of the SOC: 

  • A literature review analyzing current standards of care, guidelines, and protocols in the anti-trafficking field, both in the United States and internationally.
  • Criteria and a criteria checklist for developing the SOC. These tools will ensure that the SOC adheres to established parameters. The checklist provides a quality check to confirm that all criteria are satisfied.
  • Process guidance for developing the SOC that acknowledges the collaborative nature of the project.

Stakeholders were invited to provide feedback on the themes that will guide the SOC by February 10, 2024, using a themes fact sheet. The period to provide feedback on the document themes is now closed.

We intend to keep the field updated about the progress of the SOC, including opportunities for public comment, and will post updates to this page as they become available.

Subscribe to News From OVC to receive notification when the SOC are released.

Date Modified: February 12, 2024
Date Created: January 9, 2023