How Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest Deters Human Trafficking and Supports Survivors

January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Every year since 2010, the President has dedicated the month to raise awareness about human trafficking and to educate the public about how to identify and prevent this crime.

During this month, we celebrate and raise the efforts of governments, international organizations, anti-trafficking entities, law enforcement officials, survivor advocates, communities of faith, businesses, and private citizens all around the world to raise awareness about human trafficking.

It’s important to understand that human trafficking isn’t only done for commercial sex work — people can be trafficked for labor and domestic servitude as well. However, because of the nature of our work, a lot of the trafficking seen in a Planned Parenthood office is sex trafficking. This type of trafficking is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, where the act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform the act is under 18.

The second highest way that people access healthcare while being trafficked, second to emergency rooms, is through Planned Parenthood. We act as a safe place where survivors know they can get compassionate care without judgement. I’m so proud to work at an organization that understands and prioritizes our patients health and safety.

— Tessa H. Care Coordinator Program Manager

Some of the things that can put a person at higher risk of being trafficked are:

  • having an adult romantic partner (this only applies to people who are under 18)
  • not having a permanent and safe place to live
  • living with substance abuse disorder
  • history of prior trauma
  • undocumented status

At Planned Parenthood, we train our staff to recognize the signs of potential human trafficking situations and on how to handle the situation in the safest way possible.

Most importantly, we provide a safe haven for survivors — a place where they know they will receive quality, compassionate care in a judgment free environment.

Our care coordinators are a crucial part of identifying, addressing, and supporting human trafficking survivors.

When a patient has just been experienced violence, has nowhere to sleep that night, and has fears about their reproductive health, they may only have the energy to take it one step at a time. How do you choose which of your needs to address when each of these is so vital?

Through the Care Coordination Program, we reach our patients to help with urgent social and behavioral health needs.

The PPPSW team is constantly striving to meet people where they’re at, providing sexual and reproductive healthcare and so much more. PPPSW staff have increased their level of education and outreach to help support people who are experiencing trafficking, using the Care Coordination Program to connect our patients to vital support services in the community. Our Care Coordination team uses a trauma informed approach to provide safety planning, harm reduction strategies, and linkage to social services. I feel honored to be able to provide support for our patients during some of the most difficult moments in their lives including while experiencing human trafficking.

— PPPSW Care Coordinator Team

Learn more about our Care Coordinator team

From mental health assistance and food security to pregnancy support, more people are getting their most essential needs met in a compassionate setting — thanks in large part to our care coordinators.

PPPSW’s Care Coordinator Program

Read more about our care coordinator program, here, or explore other ways to get involved with Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.

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Operating 17 health centers and growing, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest is one of the largest and most prominent affiliates of Planned Parenthood.

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Operating 17 health centers and growing, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest is one of the largest and most prominent affiliates of Planned Parenthood.

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