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New international guidelines for working with Survivors

Sophie Parker
Rachel Witkin, Head of Counter-Trafficking and Publications

Today sees the launch of the new edition of the OSCE ODIHR National Referral Mechanism Handbook and a new edition of the Helen Bamber Foundation’s Trauma Informed Code of Conduct.

Originally published in 2004, this updated version of the NRM Handbook provides guidance to OSCE States on how to set up and improve their national referral mechanisms (NRMs): their national legal frameworks for identifying and protecting survivors of human trafficking and slavery.

The handbook offers a practical guide for all professionals who are working to support Survivors through these legal processes:

“It explains the specific and individual needs and risks of adults and children who are victims of trafficking, centring all communications and actions on the protection of victims and the overall prevention of human trafficking.”

For an overview of the handbook, see the National Referral Mechanisms Fact Sheet.

The Helen Bamber Foundation’s Head of Counter-Trafficking and Publications, Rachel Witkin, played a key role in drafting the new edition of the NRM handbook, bringing her years of experience of working directly with Survivors of trafficking.

In addition, our Head of Doctors Dr Jane Hunt, Medical and Research Director Prof Cornelius Katona, Clinical Psychologist and Head of Partnerships Dr Eileen Walsh and clinical researcher Dr Laura Wood contributed their clinical and medical expertise to the handbook outlining healthcare information and guidance which features throughout the NRM handbook.

The Trauma Informed Code of Conduct (TiCC), is a practical guide for best-practice when working with Survivors. It is designed to be accessible for use by any professional who might come across Survivors in their work, such as police officers, doctors, social workers, nurses, midwives and immigration officers. The TiCC outlines simple methods any professional can use to build trust, understand the trauma Survivors have experienced, and act with compassion and respect.

“Having the TiCC should mean that professionals do not have to draw solely and repeatedly upon their own resources of emotional intelligence and intuition, but can remember tips and guidance for using simple techniques in all contexts, including the difficult process of obtaining disclosure for legal procedures.”

At the Helen Bamber Foundation we have years of experience in working with the most complex cases of human trafficking and modern slavery in a compassionate, human and trauma-informed way.

This new edition of the TiCC contains additional guidelines informed by our work since the first edition was published in 2018. In particular, a new section on working remotely with Survivors and safeguarding against trafficking threats online.

We are delighted to be leading on best practice and bringing a trauma-informed approach to so many more Survivors.