BACKGROUND: The SUPPORT, ADVOCACY, FREEDOM, AND EMPOWERMENT (SAFE) CENTER FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS is the first university-based program to combine comprehensive direct services with research and advocacy to combat human trafficking. Through in-house services and collaborative partnerships, the Center provides bilingual social services, legal services, primary medical and mental health care, and economic empowerment services to survivors of sex and labor trafficking of any nationality, age, or gender. We have served over 240 survivors of human trafficking since we opened in May 2016.

DESCRIPTION: Survivors of human trafficking have complex and interconnected needs that are best addressed by a multi-disciplinary team. Research has documented the importance of including those with lived experiences in designing direct services and programming. As part of the SAFE Center’s program evaluation plan, this research project will assist in creating a sustainable client feedback system that effectively collects, analyses, and integrates client opinions and experiences. This project will ultimately result in the creation of an evidenced-based client survey instrument and recommendations for trauma-informed, safe, and sustainable methods of survey distribution.

This research project will start by outlining the best practices for client feedback surveys in the nonprofit/victim services sector with vulnerable and highly mobile client populations. The end product will be a final client survey instrument and concrete recommendations for implementation within the SAFE Center’s existing infrastructure. The project will involve research through traditional means such as academic journals, news articles, and online sources. It will also involve conducting interviews with nonprofit administrators, victim advocates, anti-trafficking leaders including those with lived experience, and academic researchers.

IDEAL CANDIDATE: This would be a project appropriate for a student from the Schools of Social Work, or Law, or any other student interested in public health.


PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Amelia Rubenstein, MSW, LCSW-C, Adjunct Professor, School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore, and Director of Research & Programs, UM SAFE Center