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By On May 7th, 2016

Faith-based Initiatives on Human Trafficking and Mental Health

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Written by Lydia D’Ross, Ordained Minister and Outreach Chaplain for RENEWAL at Brookhaven Hospital

Faith-based organizations and Human Trafficking Initiatives are working together to  build collaboration across agencies, including mental health and law enforcement bureaus for the prevention, intervention and care for adult and child victims of human trafficking.  Here are some facts:

Faith Based and Community Initiatives is putting together a community awareness campaign to build a network of support for child victims of sex trafficking across the state and link them to mental health services, safe housing and rehabilitation from trauma.

A study by Bezpalcha (2003) identified the following range of reactions: fear, guilt, rage, sense of betrayal, distrust, helplessness, shock, suspicion and feeling lost.  Aron et al. (2006) reported that victims often indicated that they wished to receive some type of counseling treatment, especially after their sense of safety and normalcy was re-established.

Attending church, feeling the need to be cleansed are often overlooked by clergy’s if they do not recognize the symptoms of individuals who may have been victims of trafficking. Especially among immigrant refugees whose first place of refugee is often in a religious sanctuary. Bemak and Chung (2002) suggested a “multilevel model of counseling and psychotherapy that specifically focuses on mental health services for refugees.”

In essence, it is vital that the faith based community works closely with the mental health industry as, mental health services to victims of trafficking may significantly aid these individuals in healing and re-integration into their new or old environments. Because the number of victims is reaching “epidemic proportions” (U.N. 2007), mental health practitioners may encounter greater numbers of clients with such experiences of trauma.

Next Thursday, May 12th, Brookhaven Hospital will be offering a Pastoral Seminar on “Human Trafficking Awareness for Pastoral Care.”  If you are a pastor, chaplain, or church personnel, this seminar is free for you to attend, so come to hear from an expert in the field concerning this epidemic, especially how it affects Oklahoma rise in human trafficking.

Our speaker is Sgt Todd Evans from Tulsa Police Department who has handled over 30 Oklahoma cases on Human Trafficking. Please contact me at ldross(insert @ here)brookhaventhospital.com or call 918.438.4257  to reserve your spot!  We look forward to seeing you there!

 

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