Intersection of Human Trafficking and Substance Use: Trauma-Informed Care and Collaboration Strategies to Support Survivors

Title: Intersection of Human Trafficking and Substance Use: Trauma-Informed Care and Collaboration Strategies to Support Survivors

Date: Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

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The relationship between substance use and human trafficking is complex and across the spectrum. Frequently, there are elements of force, fraud, and coercion. However, survivors often voluntarily use substances as a mechanism to cope with the physical and mental trauma of trafficking and some survivors used substances prior to their experience. There are many reasons a survivor of trafficking might seek help for their substance use.  Service providers, including domestic and sexual violence programs, can play a key role in providing access to trauma-informed support for survivors through strategic partnerships with substance use services.  This webinar will highlight collaborative strategies to support survivors in the state of Vermont and West Virginia communities, including rural areas, led by advocacy services and anti-human trafficking local and state task force collaborations.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  1. Describe the intersection of substance use and trauma with human trafficking in the context of domestic and sexual violence.
  2. Apply a trauma-informed approach to support survivors of human trafficking.
  3. Identify potential partnerships to support survivors of human trafficking who struggle with their substance use.
  4. Explore strategies to enhance collaboration across barriers and challenges, based on the experience of communities in Vermont and West Virginia.
  5. Utilize resources to help build or expand collaborations to support survivors of human trafficking.

Speakers, culturally inclusive programs:

  • Dr. Aron Steward, PhD, MBA, Chief of Psychology Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, UVMHN & Co-chair of the Vermont Human Trafficking Taskforce
  • Katie Spriggs, MSW, Executive Director, Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center & Chair of the Training Subcommittee for the West Virginia Human Trafficking Taskforce
  • Mónica Arenas, Program Manager, FUTURES

Target Audience: 

Domestic violence/sexual assault program staff, legal service providers, human trafficking task force members, and others interested.


Please contact Vivian Baylor at:

This project is supported by Grant# 15JOVW-21-GK-02211-MUMU, awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.