Understanding the role of our Victim Response Team in a survivor's path to safety

August 28, 2023

Our Victim Response Team is the heart of our organization. It is an honour to be in the position to work directly with victims and survivors of human trafficking. To walk with them on their path to safety is a rare and important privilege.

“When connected to support, survivors are given the opportunity to tell their truth and share their story, they are presented with opportunities and resources to help rebuild their life and are then able to build rapport and trust within the community.” - Byanca Nimijean, Victim Response Coordinator.

The team is made up of accredited social workers (RSW, BSW) who provide specialized case management to victims and survivors of human trafficking. The team leads the Pathways to Safety (PTS) program which supports the needs of victims and survivors by connecting them with appropriate resources and securing services to meet their immediate and long-term needs.

The road out of a trafficking situation can be long and winding with many physical, emotional, psychological, and financial barriers in the way but sometimes, the first step is simply finding someone who says “I believe you.”

We believe you.  

The Victim Response Team aims to remove those barriers and walk with the survivor so that they may confidentially make the decisions they need to rebuild their life.

“ACT Alberta helped me get access to income support and arranged safe shelter and trauma treatment. They also arranged for me to get help with my addictions.” – Survivor of human trafficking and ACT Alberta client.

People who have experienced human trafficking, or other forms of labour and sexual exploitation, often experience many emotions, predominantly fear. The fear often includes fear of their traffickers and abuse, fear of economic insecurity, fear of further exploitation, fear of losing housing, fear of deportation, fear of authority, and often fear of the systems and processes based on limited information, understanding or past experiences. There can also be feelings of loss, shame and guilt, and feelings of despair.  

ACT’s Victim Response Coordinators (VRC) understand the delicacy of the situation that persons in trafficking experience. As Social Workers, they work with each individual person, finding supports and resources for their specific needs. VRC’s walk alongside the individual, working to establish trust and building rapport, with the purpose of helping the individual feel a sense of trust and a sense of validation for their experience.  

ACT Alberta VRC’s work to empower individuals to regain their rights and freedoms, to be able to develop a community of support for themselves, and to have the autonomy to make decisions about their lives again.  

Click here to learn more about our Victim Services Program.