Social service professionals work to address the problem of human trafficking in a number of ways. Social workers are unique in their approach to this issue because they can address it from a number of angles. For example, social workers concentrate on both the individual victim as well as their social and economic situation which distinguishes it from other professions such as counseling (Palmer, 2010). Social workers meet the needs of human trafficking victims according to the principles outlined in the National Association of Social Worker’s Code of Ethics. (Palmer 2010). Nancy Palmer (2010) notes, that despite some similarities, human trafficking victims have “more complex and wide-ranging service needs” than those who suffer from related criminal acts. (p.48). Education is an important aspect of a social workers job not only to be aware of the problem and of the appropriate standards of action but also to recognize potential victims. Stotts & Ramey’s (2009) research shows, “it is entirely possible for a counselor to come in contact with a victim of trafficking without knowing it. Situations in which counselors are most likely to come into contact with a potential victim include homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, or crisis hotlines” (p.44). Social workers who suspect a possible victim can confirm through the National Trafficking Resource Center as well locating local services available to sufferers. If the victim is in immediate danger then social service workers notify local law enforcement (Stotts & Ramey, 2009). Once victims are identified, then social workers turn to meeting their physical and psychological needs by providing mental and health care to individuals and groups. Studies indicate that victims e...
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