Treatment considerations for foreign-born victims of human trafficking: Practical applications of an ecological framework

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Foreign-born individuals immigrating to or residing in the United States are especially vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers. Being trafficked elevates the risk for a variety of physical and mental health problems; thus, victims will often come into contact with health professionals. Because there is a dearth of literature concerning the treatment of human trafficking victims, and especially foreign-born victims, we set out to describe the practical applications of a model that we use for the mental health treatment of victimization in this population. As has been suggested by leaders in the anti-human trafficking community, we employed a culturally sensitive version of Bronfrenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Model to provide recommendations and educational resources for treatment at the individual, interpersonal, community, and societal levels. Our recommendations should serve to inform and improve the provision of care for foreign-born victims of human trafficking.

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