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Guest Editor
Doris Testa

Welcome to Issue 20

Social work has a significant role to play in responding to human trafficking and modern day slavery (“trafficking”). Regardless of the form of exploitation experienced, people who are trafficked suffer intense abuse and suffer adverse and multiple inter- related health impacts and cumulative physical, reproductive, developmental, behavioural and psychological health problems that interact with the personal, social- environmental, and contextual systemic factors specific to the trafficked person.

As you will read in the submissions in this issue, human trafficking crosses global and local borders and thus needs global and local responses. Understanding the complexities of trafficking encompasses understanding the personal, social and political constructs that ultimately frame the awareness of, attitudes to and actions taken to underpin social work practice. Eradicating trafficking brings social workers face to face with human rights violations and compels them to understand the “push and pull” of the trafficking industry, estimated to involve 21 million people worldwide, is ranked as the third largest source of income for organised crime, and reaps an annual profit of $32 million to trafficking agents a $150 billion criminal enterprise.

This issue of Social Dialogue offers opportunity for social workers to situate themselves in local initiatives that have global impacts. Contributors offer insight into how social work practice and research is proactively focussed on the social determinants of traffıcking, with the goal of modifying the very environments and settings that predispose vulnerable individuals to becoming traffıcked. Focussing on prevention and intervention and restoring wellbeing, contributors address mico, meso and marco practices that go beyond treatment to areas of empowerment, advocacy and reform.

Importantly we hear the voices of the trafficked, offered in trust to a profession that prides itself in seeking “social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people” and the “Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities”.

I commend the articles included in this special issue to social work practitioners, educators and policy advocates for consideration and thoughtful, informed action. A special thankyou to Carolyn Noble, Editor in Chief, for her encouragement and trust in helping to compile this special issue on Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.

Doris Testa is a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University, Melbourne