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New Tool Supports Efforts to Help Survivors of Human Trafficking

Created by RTI researchers, the tool is designed for comprehensive service programs to track the progress of clients who are survivors of human trafficking

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, today announced the launch of a new evaluation instrument that will track the progress of human trafficking survivors toward improved outcomes in safety, well-being, social connectedness and self-sufficiency. The Outcomes for Human Trafficking Survivors (OHTS) Instrument was developed by RTI researchers using a grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and is now available at no cost to service providers, evaluators and researchers.

Specifically designed for comprehensive service programs that help survivors of human trafficking, the OHTS will support data-driven program development and improvement, identification of resource gaps and the ability to communicate impact to stakeholders and funders.

“We are excited about this instrument because, to date, there has been little to no data about outcomes for people who have survived human trafficking,” said Stacey Cutbush, who co-leads RTI’s Victim and Resiliency Research Program. “This instrument gives case managers a user-friendly way to track how their clients are progressing in important aspects of their lives and, in turn, will give programs insight into how they can improve their services for trafficking survivors.”

The OHTS reflects the realities of human trafficking survivors and the programs that serve them. Based on an existing provider-developed instrument, RTI’s redesign process focused on creating an instrument that was comprehensive, strength-based and trauma-informed, capable of capturing small progress, completable by case managers and not a burden on clients. It tracks 14 categories and is meant to be completed by the case manager without their clients present.

To test the validity and reliability of the OHTS, program directors and case managers used the instrument to assess hypothetical clients who were represented by narrative case descriptions. The hypothetical clients represented survivors in diverse circumstances, including survivors who had experienced sex and labor trafficking, who were adults and minors and who were foreign-born and domestic.

“We owe it to survivors of human trafficking to deliver the best services possible to help them get back on their feet and on a path to wellness,” added Cutbush. “Gathering more data on their outcomes is a step toward doing just that. Our next goal is to support instrument use by service programs that are interested in documenting program impact.”

To learn more about the OHTS and to download the instrument, visit: www.rti.org/focus-area/human-trafficking.