Preble Street recently joined The Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Massachusetts as the state lead for Maine in the New England Coalition Against Trafficking, funded by the U.S. State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and will be working with Maine partners as well as those in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island to develop and implement efforts to increase outreach, identification and service referral for victims of human trafficking across New England.
“Human trafficking doesn’t respect state borders, so why should the response?” asks Fiona Mason, Preble Street Director of Social Work. “We’ve worked with countless survivors who have been trafficked across multiple New England states, and look forward to strengthening our relationships with regional providers to improve our coordinated supports to survivors.”
Preble Street has trained over 1,700 people and as a result, has received referrals for more than 300 people who have experienced trafficking. It takes each member of the community to help identify and connect people who may have experienced trafficking to the support and safety they need.
“We think a regional, coordinated effort to provide focused training in support of increasing awareness of all types of trafficking from those working in the fields, in our homes, and in the hospitality industry is key,” says Fiona. “With awareness comes an increased identification of potential victims—once you know this crime exists and what it can look like, we all have the responsibility to name it when we see it. Further building out that system in Maine and across the region to increase awareness is where the work starts.”