Perspectives from a Victim’s Center
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This chapter briefly compiles some of the author’s experiences in working with thousands of victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking, and it establishes some similarities among the types of crimes mentioned before. It generally describes the situations of victims who have been abused and treated in inhumane ways and which should not be tolerated by our society. Furthermore, this chapter speaks of the local efforts in Miami-Dade County (MDC) to create a victim’s center where victims are offered a coordinated community response approach to their needs and in which advocates play a fundamental role as often they are the first ones to come into contact with the victims. It illustrates some of the barriers that often become an obstacle in serving human trafficking victims by service providers as this population is highly judged and misunderstood; thus it emphasizes the need to offer nonjudgmental services and to equip advocates with the right tools and knowledge for them to be able to effectively assist this population. It also describes some of the efforts made by the local victim’s center to create suitable and meaningful community partnerships which add value to the service model of the one-stop center by adding capacity and expertise to the way in which cases are handled. Besides the victim’s center, it also touches upon other MDC initiative, the MDC Human Trafficking Coalition, which provides a forum for local human service providers to convene on a quarterly basis to collectively address human trafficking-related matters.