Clinical Services Pathway: Initial Referral

“Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28-30

According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is estimated that only 1% of trafficking victims are identified. According to the Polaris Project, several factors and obstacles may prevent victims from seeking help, including feelings fear, guilt, and shame and/or traffickers’ manipulation. Some may not even realize that they are being trafficked, due to lack of awareness or misinformation regarding what human trafficking is. Many survivors been manipulated and broken down physically, mentally, and spiritually, left feeling unworthy of anything else and shouldering guilt and blame for what they have endured. Many survivors are reliant upon their trafficker for basic needs such as shelter, food, and clothing, and many suffer severe financial exploitation, with traffickers confiscating and/or monitoring all of their earnings. The barriers to seeking help are overwhelming, and it takes a coordinated response from law enforcement, service providers, and community organizations to build trust, raise awareness, and provide accessible, trauma-informed support to survivors. This begins with identification and intake.

Call to Freedom’s services begin once we receive a referral. Referrals can be made via phone or text via our intake phone line—605-759-3565. We receive referrals from community partners including medical facilities, treatment centers, counseling agencies, hotels, crisis shelters, law enforcement, jails, and prisons, as well as self-referrals and those made by a parent/guardian on behalf of a minor. Since our founding, Call to Freedom has served primarily survivors who are from and trafficked within South Dakota. However, we receive calls from all over the United States, and coordinate with local service providers to ensure that all survivors are connected with resources. To date, Call to Freedom has received referrals from 34 states. As a provider of holistic and specialized supports, Call to Freedom is a national leader in the recovery of trafficking survivors, and is therefore on the front line of coordinating and elevating care across the United States.

Call to Freedom staff provide specialized training for service professionals, including law enforcement, medical staff, and other first responders, on how to identify and appropriately respond to human trafficking. Training addresses mandatory reporting requirements to Child Protective Services in the case of minors and how Call to Freedom’s youth services team can assist. Under federal law, a child engaged in commercial sex, or sex in exchange for anything of value or perceived value—money, clothing, food, etc.—is a victim of human trafficking. Call to Freedom provides age-appropriate intake screenings and tailored services to respond to survivors of all ages, including youth.

Once a referral is received, Call to Freedom staff complete an intake assessment to learn more about the individual’s experiences, history, and what supports they are seeking. Staff are specially trained on providing trauma-informed, culturally appropriate, and age-appropriate care, and our intake assessments are adapted from resources from the Office for Victims of Crime and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Intake assessments are typically conducted by two staff members, to increase the individual’s comfortability and ensure a care team approach. Call to Freedom includes appropriate staff who are bilingual, youth specialists, occupational therapists, spiritual mentors, or family development specialists, based on the individual’s needs.

If you or someone you know needs Call to Freedom’s services, please call (605) 759-3565.

Written By:

Kelly Hanzlik & Rachel Schartz