Counselors’ Awareness on Modern-Day Slavery in the US

Nowadays, human trafficking still seems to be an unresolved and thorny issue. Burt, the author of the article “Modern-day slavery in the U.S.: Human trafficking and counselor awareness,” states the purpose of providing possible solutions to increasing counselors’ awareness of human trafficking. In other words, Burt explains what counselors should know about the problem, which tools to use in their practice, and how to provide treatment for survivors (2017). Thus, the main research questions are:

  • What is the most exhaustive definition of human trafficking? What are the peculiarities of various types of human trafficking?
  • Concerning human trafficking, how the statistics of the international and U.S. governmental and non-governmental organizations define the scope of the problem?
  • What are the advantages and possible disadvantages of application tools used in the USA to identify human trafficking victims?
  • According to the latest studies, how effective are the modern treatment methods of human trafficking victims in the USA?
  • Which probable steps should the possible model of a counselor’s behavior when working with a victim of human trafficking contain?
  • What are possible suggestions for the U. S. governmental and non-governmental organizations to improve the efficacy of trafficked victims’ detection?

To answer the research questions, the author outlines the problem of human trafficking. First, Burt gives the definition of human trafficking, identifies the methods used by traffickers against their victims, and explains peculiarities and forms of sex and labor trafficking. Then, Burt identifies the scope of human trafficking in the USA. The next part of the article is dedicated to the introduction of assessment tools to help in screening, such as Trafficking Victimization Identification Tool (TVIT), Comprehensive Human Trafficking Assessment (CHTA), and Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond (SOAR) (Burt, 2019). Then the author describes the recommended treatment for people suffering human trafficking and states the role of multicultural sensitivity giving examples from previous research data (Burt, 2019). In addition, Burt introduces the case of Melody, a girl who showed signs of probable exploitation (2019). Having analyzed the existing tests and ways of treatment, Burt suggests a range of treatment considerations. Finally, in the last part of his article professor accents the probable difficulties of counselors in detecting the problem of trafficked victims and provides a possible solution – to introduce special training.

During the research, Burt uses methods of analyzing the existing official statistics and data of public documents: the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTRC), Kempadoo, the federal government reports, the statistics from the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, and the worldwide data given by the WHO. To measure the relevance of TVIT, Burt provides the results of a Cronbach’s alpha tool, a confirmatory factor analysis, and logistic regression analysis. Burt cross-checks the information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a wide range of articles dealing with the treatment of patients who suffered from human trafficking. This qualitative research method helps him recognize the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral approaches, specifically trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT). Finally, Burt uses the method of case study to show the possible behavior and reflect measures that a counselor should take in the situation of human trafficking.

The key finding of the article is the introduction of step-by-step guidance for counselors when dealing with a victim of human trafficking. For instance, a counselor should be sensitive and follow the SOAR model to observe a victim’s behavior (Burt, 2019). After considering the facts, a counselor could refer a suffering person to a clinician and fill in the TVIT. According to Burt, it is vital to notify parents and law enforcement (if the victim is a minor), refer the victim to legal services and deal with the emotional consequences of being a trafficked person (2019). In addition, the author gives sufficient reasons for relevant organizations to start classes for social workers.

Human trafficking as a form of modern slavery is a central concept of the article. This concept involves using force, coercion (threat of bodily harm and intimidation tactics), or fraud to control people to engage in sex or labor services (Burt, 2019). That is “one person exercising fear and sometimes violence-based control over another for economic gain” (Burke & Bruun, 2017). For example, food chain workers could be the victims of trafficking as they face reduce in wages and the absence of opportunities.

The concept of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is introduced in connection with research of the most effective procedures to treat trafficked people. Based on the acronym PRACTICE, the concept of TF-CBT makes use of gradual changes in psychoeducational (P), relaxation (R), affective change (A), and cognitive managing skills (C) of a patient. T stands for trauma narration and I – for in-vivo experiencing everything learned from a therapist (Burt, 2019). TF-CBT works with the restructuring of a patient’s belief system and building of resiliency.

Questions on the article:

  1. What factors could get in the way of detecting a human trafficking victim? Why?
  2. What mental health issues could a victim of human trafficking have?
  3. Why are there so many unreported or dismissed cases of human trafficking in the world?


Burke, M. C., & Bruun, B. (2017). Introduction to human trafficking: Definitions and Prevalence. In M. C. Burke (Ed.). Human trafficking: Interdisciplinary perspectives (2nd ed, Section I: Human trafficking explained). Routledge.

Burt, I. (2019). Modern-day slavery in the U.S.: Human trafficking and counselor awareness. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 41(2), 187-200. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Counselors’ Awareness on Modern-Day Slavery in the US'. 9 August.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Counselors’ Awareness on Modern-Day Slavery in the US." August 9, 2022.

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PsychologyWriting. "Counselors’ Awareness on Modern-Day Slavery in the US." August 9, 2022.