Standard Operating Procedures for ADULT Victims of Trafficking



Measures of long-term psychosocial support are provided after the trafficked person has overcome the crisis and the one-month reflection period has expired. The trafficked person should be in a relatively stable emotional state, there should be no risk to their life and health, and the person should avail of basic living conditions.

Procedure to use social services:
In order to use social services for recovery and re-integration, a trafficked person needs to have a place to live and a registration as per a current address. Then, the trafficked person may use services provided as state delegated activities in the respective municipality or, if appropriate ones are not available there, in a neighbouring one.

1.In order to use a service, the trafficked person files an application with a Social Assistance Directorate based on which, following minimum research, a social worker issues the so called initial needs assessment (INA) which is a referral document for the use of social services for therapy and recovery funded as state delegated activities.

2.With the INA, the victim goes to a social service which is licenced for therapy and rehabilitation of victims of violence and trafficking and there establishes the initial contact to launch a needs assessment.

3.Within 20 days, an individual needs assessment has to be made where the victim’s needs are established; it is used as the basis for drawing up an individual care plan. This plan sets the direction of work and the duration of the service. On the basis of the plan, a social service agreement is signed with the trafficked person’s consent. The service can be short-term up to six months, medium-term up to one year and long-term up to three years. In view of the specifics of the work with victims of trafficking and the nature of the service, it is not longer than one year.

Victims of trafficking may also use recovery services provided by private social service providers (non-profit legal entities and firms) as long as such are available and licenced by the Social Service Quality Agency. The respective social service needs to be licenced to work with the group of beneficiaries – victims of trafficking or victims of violence, so that the team may have expertise to work with this particular group.

If the social service is not funded as a state delegated activity but has project funding or it is a local activity of the municipality, then the victim of trafficking goes directly to the service and fills out an application there along with all other documents. From then on, the procedure is the same as described above.

Step 1. Participation of the trafficked person in the process of making decisions and planning their (re)integration

After overcoming the initial crisis, the trafficked person can decide for themselves whether to seek long-term help. The trafficked person obtains information from the counsellor about the available opportunities to receive support and referral to appropriate social services and programmes.

If the trafficked person terminates their contact with the social service, the counsellor arranges with them a follow-up contact (an appointment, telephone call, letter, etc.) after a certain period of time. The trafficked person should be able to turn again to the counsellor or the organisation which provided the support at any moment after the termination of the initial contact. Upon leaving the service, the trafficked person needs to obtain sufficient information in an appropriate form (for example, leaflets with details about services) in order to be able to seek help when necessary.

Step 2. Updating the risk assessment with respect to the trafficked person’s re-integration

In the following stages of work with the trafficked person, after they have been provided with safe accommodation and there is no danger to their life and health, an additional risk assessment is made. It covers the risk of:

  • Social exclusion, marginalization and stigmatization;
  • Falling victim to new situations of violence and abuse;
  • Unemployment;
  • Poverty;
  • Inability to continue one’s education due to illiteracy or lack of appropriate programmes;
  • Lack of a supportive environment and coping resources;
  • Social, religious, and sociocultural factors hampering the re-integration;
  • Others.

At this stage, the risk assessment is carried out in cooperation with the different institutions and organisations involved in the process of re-integration of the trafficked person.

Step 3: Psychological support to overcome the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder

The recovery from psychological trauma requires a lot of time and perseverance. The aim of long-term psychological counselling and psychotherapy is to support the trafficked person to adapt as much as possible to their environment. The consultations aim to restore the person’s emotional resilience, to strengthen their internal psychological resources, and to restore their sense of trust, coping abilities, and capacity to establish intimate relationships.

The recovery from psychological trauma has three stages:
І: Restoration of the feelings of safety and security;
ІІ: Remembering and grieving (mourning) the experienced violence;
ІІІ: Return to normal life.

Step 4. Counselling for the trafficked person’s family and close friends

The aim of these consultations is to enable the trafficked person to return to a supportive and tolerant environment and to avoid further victimisation. The purpose is to mobilise the victim’s natural support systems – family, partners and friends.
The involvement of the trafficked person’s friends and family in the process of re-integration happens only with the victim’s consent and after a thorough risk assessment which examines issues such as:

  • Whether the family/friends were directly or indirectly involved in the trafficking process;
  • Is there any other type of violence against the victim;
  • Has the victim witnessed violence in the family;
  • What is the family’s attitude towards the trafficked person: are they likely to blame the victim; is there risk of social exclusion; is there risk of abuse; can the victim be rejected on religious grounds;
  • Whether the people from the person’s immediate surrounding have enough social and emotional competence to support the victim;
  • Whether they have minimum financial means for survival;
  • Others.

Step 5. Development of social skills

The aim of the development (or reacquisition) of social skills is to make the trafficked person more resilient to repeated victimisation and re-trafficking. The process begins by identifying and assessing the victim’s social difficulties and deficiencies as well as their competences and capacities to cope. The victim needs to progress in areas such as:

  • Increasing awareness of one’s personal rights and acquiring skills to protect them;
  • Improving the self-confidence and overcoming the attitude of a victim;
  • Developingskills to manage and control one’s own life;
  • Developing and following realistic life plans.

It is directed at:

  • Development of skills to communicate without violence and abuse
  • Acquisition of basic knowledge about how society, institutions, and laws function
  • Improving confidence in institutions
  • Skills for better self-representation
  • Development of skills for preserving their trafficking experience confidential.

Step 6. Development of skills for participation in the labour market

The process of developing skills for participation in the labour market is called empowerment because it stimulates the development of self-confidence and respects the autonomous position of the victim of trafficking. The aim of empowerment is to stimulate the victim’s pro-activeness and adequate assessment of their own resources to seek professional realisation. The empowerment consultations can be individual or group ones. During consultations, sensitivity is developed towards the risk situation in the process of looking for a job as well as skills to structure and objectively assess actual life situations. Empowerment includes activities such as:

  • Assessment of working skills and competences;
  • Organising educational activities for qualification and re-qualification;
  • Becoming familiar with the way the labour market functions;
  • Support for independent job searches;
  • Preparation of application documents;
  • Facilitating the communication with employers;
  • Advice about starting one’s own business;
  • Others.

Step 7. Social counselling and advocacy

Social counselling and advocacy provide support to the trafficked person in their communication with different institutions and the administration. They are directed at:

  • Restoration of the social rights and status of the victim;
  • Managing various practical needs.

An important part of the social work is the work in a multidisciplinary team with specialists from other organisations and institutions. Social counselling and advocacy also include referral to relevant services and programmes corresponding to the trafficked person’s needs.

Step 8. Renewal of the trafficked person’s social and health insurance status

If the trafficked person was outside the country for a long time (more than 183 days) or has not paid health insurance for another reason, the person may renew their health-insurance status upon return to the country after the elapse of 6 consecutive months during which the person was insured or following a lump-sum payment of 12 health contributions.

If the trafficked person meets the conditions for receiving social benefits set out in the Social Assistance Act, the health insurance contributions are covered by the republican budget. To do this, the trafficked person needs to apply to the Social Assistance Directorate as per their current address.