Patterns of Service Utilization Among Pre-Certified Victims of Human Trafficking
- Is there a relationship between predisposing, enabling and need factors and service use?
- What is the overall effect of predisposing, enabling and need factors on service use?
Methods:This exploratory and descriptive research design examined the relationship between a set of predisposing, enabling and need factors and service use in a convenience sample of 152 pre-certified victims of human trafficking. Case records of service recipients between June 2006 and May 2010 were analyzed. Primary outcome variables were type of services used (6 types) and total number of types of services used (out of 21). Data analyses had two purposes: to generate descriptive information about the sample; and to test the relationship between predisposing factors (Age, country of origin), enabling (immigration status, referral source) and need factors (type of trafficking) and service use.
Results:Descriptive findings were somewhat representative of the target population: the average age of the trafficked person was about 28 years i.e. their most productive age; most originated from Tier 2 and Tier 2 Waitlist countries which included countries with weak anti-human trafficking laws; most did not have proper immigration documents at intake; and labor trafficking and sex trafficking cases were almost equally distributed. Only one predisposing factors, i.e., country of origin was associated with the use of information and referral services.
Only one enabling factor, i.e., referral source was associated with use of mental health services. Those referred by governmental agencies were less likely to use social services compared with those referred by individuals. Those referred by non-governmental organizations had higher odds of using mental health services compared with those who were referred by government agencies.
Among need factors, type of trafficking was associated with use of mental health services and information and referral services. Type of trafficking was related to the total number of types of services used. Sex trafficking victims used fewer services compared with labor trafficking victims. Multivariate analysis indicated that only need factor, i.e. type of trafficking predicted total number of type of services utilized. Sex trafficking victims used fewer services compared with victims of labor trafficking.
Implications: Data provide important findings about factors that impact service use. The author discusses implications for social work practice and policy in addressing the social service needs of victims of human trafficking.