PSYCHOLOGICAL ACCOMPANIMENT FOR VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN RESIDENTIAL SAFE HOMES DURING COVID-19
We are living in difficult times and we are seeing our normal routines affected. Our contact with our loved ones is limited and our value as a society is being examined.
Throughout our lives and as we grow as individuals, we have often found ourselves in situations that push us to the limits of our capacities and even our strength. But in one way or another, we found a friend who offered us help, counsel, and a place of refuge. Now we look at the person next to us and we can see reflected in their eyes the same uncertainty and fear that we experienced. At times we feel vulnerable and impotent without understanding how we arrived at this point.
Now imagine for a moment feeling that way day after day. Isolated, without means, without the possibility of escaping that situation that isn’t caused by a virus, but rather is a result of manipulation, of deceit, and of greed that targets a woman to rob her of her dignity.
Fortunately, some of these women decide to flee and take action. Sometimes they do not know where to go, but they meet people with the desire to help them. People with the desire to restore the dignity and freedom that they were born with.
In our organization, we provide comprehensive attention to these women in different areas. These areas include academics, psycho-social health, and legal aid. Unfortunately, at this time this process has been interrupted by an invisible agent called COVID-19. We have witnessed how all of these areas have been affected and paralyzed, in the same way, the the work we are engaged in has been limited in each of our areas of expertise. But instead of discouraging us, the situation has motivated us even more to offer support and hope to each one who is willing to listen to us, and especially to our women.
For that reason, from the place of our residential safe homes during Covid-19, we cannot lose our hope, neither can we forget the current social reality. We invite everyone who is in a similar situation to be open and authentic, demonstrating the courage to share our concerns, but also the conviction that this, too, will pass and together we will advance.
From our perspective, it is fundamental to seek a balance, and for that it is necessary to:
Learn about the situation that the women who live with us are experiencing, but at the same time, keep this from being the main focus of their daily life. We can learn about them through group activities: board games, daily exercise, etc.
We also cannot forget that they need their personal space, respecting time alone that is also necessary.
Communication and emotional expression are also an important part of the process. We encourage the women to express themselves by modeling our own expression. We focus on empathy and resilience through our psychology department, emphasizing the things that strengthen us in difficult moments.
Promoting solidarity. It is important to make the women feel like participants in everything that is happening and encourage them to also help others within their own possibilities.
Finally, we want to send a message of hope to everyone from the heart of all of these valiant women that form part of the the family of the NGO Fiet Gratia. Our experience shows us that rowing together is better and carries us farther. This gives us strength to continue fighting to reach our goals. We will reach them together.
Elena Martín, Psychologist with NGO Fiet Gratia