Closing the Door on Survivors: How anti-trafficking programmes in the US limit access to housing


  • Karen Romero
  • Tatiana Torres
  • Alana Jones
  • Ciara Dacosta-Reyes



Housing is often an immediate need for survivors as they exit a trafficking situation. Due to financial hardship, housing availability, and other barriers, many survivors rely on time-limited housing options, some which are offered by anti-trafficking service providers. As such, the anti-trafficking field has begun to adopt trauma-informed approaches to housing to meet the needs of survivors. In this paper, we present an analysis of policies and procedures from 73 US anti-trafficking housing programmes on the implementation of a trauma-informed model. We argue that mandatory requirements limit the implementation of trauma-informed service delivery. Additionally, practices such as the voluntary services model can be leveraged to increase trauma-informed approaches in housing services. Lessons learnt from this process can inform the revision of punitive policies and procedures in favour of those that are voluntary and trauma-informed.


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Author Biographies

Karen Romero

Karen Romero, M.Ed., is the Senior Director of Training at Freedom Network USA.

Tatiana Torres

Tatiana Torres, MA is the Senior Training Specialist at Freedom Network USA.

Alana Jones

Alana Jones, MPP is an Associate Consultant at Wayfinding Partners.

Ciara Dacosta-Reyes

Ciara Dacosta-Reyes, MPA is the Intake and Diversion Manager at the Union Mission Women’s Shelter.




How to Cite

Romero, K., Torres, T., Jones, A., & Dacosta-Reyes, C. (2023). Closing the Door on Survivors: How anti-trafficking programmes in the US limit access to housing. Anti-Trafficking Review, (20), 135–143.