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- How did grantees collaborate with community partners to increase outreach and awareness of human trafficking, identify domestic trafficking survivors, and provide services?
- What were the approaches used by DVHT projects to provide trauma-informed comprehensive case management, deliver services to meet clients’ needs (with an emphasis on housing and mental health and substance use treatment needs), and engage survivors in program planning and service delivery?
- What were the strengths and limitations of different service delivery models implemented by grantees?
This report documents the experiences of 12 grantees located in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah that implemented projects for the full 36-month project period under the FY 2016 Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking (DVHT) Program to improve services to domestic victims of human trafficking in their communities.
Domestic human trafficking involves forced labor and sexual exploitation of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents including men, women, children, youth, and adults. To improve services for domestic victims of human trafficking, the Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP), within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded 13 cooperative agreements to organizations to implement projects within a 36-month period (October 2016 to September 2019). The intent of the DVHT Program was to “build, expand, and sustain organizational and community capacity to deliver trauma-informed, strength-based, and victim-centered services for domestic victims of severe forms of human trafficking through coordinated case management, a system of referrals and the formation of community partnerships” (ACF, 2016 Visit disclaimer page ).
A process evaluation was overseen by ACF’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), in collaboration with OTIP, and conducted by RTI International. The report presents descriptive evaluation findings pertaining to
- how grantees and their community partners expanded outreach, built relationships, and fostered collaborations to increase awareness and improve services;
- projects’ approaches to comprehensive case management and trauma-informed service delivery to meet clients’ needs (with particular attention to strategies used to provide short- and long-term housing solutions and deliver mental health and substance use treatment services);
- how projects integrated survivors into program development and service delivery strategies; and
- projects’ characteristics and service delivery models.
ACF’s DVHT Program is intended to expand and sustain organizational and community capacity to deliver comprehensive, trauma-informed, and victim-centered case management and coordinated services to domestic victims of human trafficking.
The goals of the evaluation were to examine and document the approaches, strategies, and service delivery models implemented by DVHT projects to accomplish the DVHT Program objectives and to inform ACF on its efforts to improve services for domestic victims of human trafficking.
Key Findings and Highlights
- Several factors—including grantees’ organizational characteristics, community contexts, and partnerships—contributed to the development and implementation of distinct DVHT project models by the 12 DVHT projects. DVHT project models varied in terms of their target population, geographic service area, organizational structure, and approaches to service delivery.
- Six projects offered stand-alone services for trafficking survivors that were independent from the grantee lead organization’s fundamental services (five grantees operated a distinct, trafficking-specific program situated within the larger organization). In contrast, six DVHT projects folded DVHT grant services into the lead organization’s primary service program(s).
- All DVHT grantees collaborated with community partners in various ways to identify and engage potential clients, provide comprehensive case management, and deliver services to meet clients’ individual needs.
- Three of the 12 projects offered case management through the DVHT lead organization and also funded two or more other community-based organizations to deliver case management. Nine grantee lead organizations were the sole providers of DVHT-funded case management.
- Most DVHT project partners provided services or facilitated referrals to address clients’ needs. Partners also provided, assisted with, or received trainings to increase awareness of or improve community responses to human trafficking.
- The services most challenging to deliver—and highly needed by clients—were employment, short- and long-term housing, mental health, and substance abuse treatment.
- Essential for case managers and staff who work with domestic trafficking survivors are skills in trauma-informed service delivery and crisis intervention, experience and passion for working with trafficking victims and vulnerable populations, knowledge of community resources, and soft skills (e.g., empathy, boundary setting, self-care). Maintaining staff capacity was a challenge for projects.
- The type and level of survivor engagement in planning and service delivery varied widely across the projects—from two programs grounded in survivor-leadership that employed survivors in multiple roles, to a few projects for which survivor engagement was desirable, yet difficult. Some clients shared that receiving services from program staff with lived experience similar to theirs was extremely beneficial and impactful to their experience participating DVHT services.
The evaluation used a mixed methods approach that included qualitative and quantitative components. Data sources included existing grantee documents and materials (e.g., grantee applications); data collected during two telephone interviews with project directors; survey data collected through a web-based instrument administered to project directors, case managers, and select partners from each of the 12 projects; and interviews with DVHT project staff, key partners, and clients during in-person site visits to 8 projects. All primary data collection occurred between January and December 2019.
Hardison Walters, J. L., Krieger, K., Tibaduiza, E., Sheppard, M., and Kolnik, J. (2021). Evaluation of the Domestic Victims of Human Trafficking Program: Final report. Report # 2021-58, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- domestic victims of human trafficking
- Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation
- Office on Trafficking in Persons