Outreach provides HopeNow with a gateway to reaching possible and identified trafficked people and opens up a two-way path – we reach our target group and subsequently more of them reach us.
HopeNow has, since being founded in 2007, continued to develop outreach work which includes all genders. We focus on many different areas depending on what is required at a given time. The groups for whom we are working are not stationary, but are mobile, often at the traffickers’ or madams’ will. A key component of our work is therefore that we remain flexible. While the outreach activities we engage with change over time according to our clients’ needs, our three main outreach activities are:
- Being present in the area around Istedgade and the Central Station in Copenhagen during the night to meet and talk with street workers
- Attending informal activities in spaces that are frequented by potential new clients
- Visiting the prisons, asylum centers and drop-in centers
HopeNow’s outreach workers act as the bridge between the possible or identified trafficked person and support services such as referring to legal or medical assistance.
Although we establish first contact with many individuals through the main outreach activities we get the majority of referrals through our existing network that has grown over the years.
Most importantly, during the outreach work (in groups, through one-on-one contact, and through word-of-mouth within networks), we build trust, build capacity, impart skills and share knowledge so that the marginalised, stigmatised and often vulnerable and criminalised individuals we work with feel empowered to be able to change their life course for the better.
In order to disrupt human trafficking the central focus of our outreach work with possible and identified victims is trust building.
HopeNow is committed to developing improved methods in social work. In consideration of the ethnic origins of the target group we work with, when funding has allowed us to, we have employed a peer-group social worker who has personally experienced being trafficked from Africa to Europe. We believe that this strategy cut down the socio-cultural distance between our practitioners and the target group. Together with our human to human approach to interaction, we believe this methodological approach greatly facilitates trust building and results in a greater willingness among the vulnerable groups we work with to open up and share their experiences.
Trust-building happens over time, and it is absolutely crucial to see outreach as a long-term process. For a trafficked person to open up and share their story it can take a long time, due to the many layers of trauma involved.
Over the past 12 years HopeNow has managed to build up strong relationships that are based on unique forms of trust which now form our network. Through this network we receive referrals from former clients who recommend HopeNow to people they know. That means that we are able to keep our finger on the pulse of what is happening in an area which is notorious for being closed and secretive. It increases our ability to carry out research which reflects the hyper-complex, multi-dimensional and ever-changing nature of human trafficking.