Human trafficking spans the globe, existing in every country and in every U.S. state. Traffickers may have lured survivors to the U.S. using manipulation and coercion, leaving survivors in a vulnerable legal status post-trafficking. Survivors may have also been convicted of crimes during their trafficking experience and need their records vacated. Organizations that provide legal services to trafficking survivors face numerous hurdles with and on behalf of their clients. The Novel Coronavirus pandemic amplified obstacles that these organizations face. Much like the rest of the workforce, these organizations quickly went virtual and had to adapt to new ways to communicate and serve their clients. Through key informant interviews, representatives from five legal service providers in the Greater Philadelphia Area shared challenges that their organization and clients faced from the start of the pandemic to August 2020. Additionally, they shared how they adjusted to accommodate the needs of their clients. Several of the organizations highlighted the need for viable work-from-home strategies, including funding for technology; and the need for self-care to be a priority when adapting to rapidly changing external environments. On a client level, the participants found themselves advocating for technology access for their clients, the importance of client privacy and safety, and the recognition that with a pandemic comes an increased need in social service support. Data from the interviews was analyzed and used to create a Business Impact Assessment to assist the organizations in identifying themes that contributed to the disruption of business-as-usual caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Recommended CitationHughes, Jessica and Frasso, PhD, CPH, Rosemary, "Human Trafficking Legal Service Providers Respond to COVID-19" (2020). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 360.