Originally from Presidio, Texas, Marlett García is a Victim Specialist at the Paso del Norte Center of Hope
(a program under the Center for Children).
What are some of your job responsibilities?
To provide extensive case management services to victims of human trafficking to include crisis-intervention, immediate and long-term assistance, and referral support. To collaborate with law enforcement and social services agencies to provide ongoing emotional and social services to victims while working through the victimization.
Other responsibilities include: assisting victims with the completion of documentation and applications as a means to obtain federal, state, and/or local assistance. Also, to conduct trainings and presentations to agencies, community organizations, law enforcement, and medical personnel on human trafficking in order to increase knowledge and awareness on the subject.
What is your educational background? I obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas in 2011. Four years later, I obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Describe your college experience and how it helped you prepare for your career: Attending college was one of the best decisions of my life. It was truly a wonderful experience! College provided me with the necessary skills to become a constructive, adaptive, and innovative professional. My professors and courses enabled me to learn new skills and improve old ones by creating a constructive and stimulating environment which was conducive to my professional and personal growth. Learning about practices and services that assist individuals and groups prepared and equipped me with the skills necessary to work with male and female victims to include youth, LGBTQI community, and juvenile detainees who fall victim to human trafficking. The ability to provide adequate services to each client can be attributed to the education received while in college.
How did you find your current job? In 2014, I began my final year in Graduate School at the University of Texas at El Paso. To meet the requirements set by the Master of Social Work (MSW) program, I became a second year intern for the Paso del Norte Center of Hope. As an intern, I was task with the duty to research trends, data and statistics, and evidence-based practices in order to understand the complexity of human trafficking and to improve the community’s awareness and knowledge on the subject. The position as an intern provided insightful information on the agency and its mission to serve victims of human trafficking. Immediately, right after graduation, I applied for the position of Victim Specialist for the Paso del Norte Center of Hope.
What did you do to prepare for this career? I spent countless hours researching human trafficking. To learn about its trends, indicators, challenges, gaps, and implications I spent many hours reading articles and books on the subject. I also watched numerous documentaries and movies that depicted true encounters experienced by victims of labor and/or sex trafficking. Most importantly, I asked lots of questions. While serving as an intern, I shadowed my supervisor and mentor, Mrs. Virginia McCrimmon. Through her supervision I was provided with the opportunity to ask questions and learn about real cases and experiences from victims of trafficking. Immersing myself in the work, I learned essential information which became beneficial during the process of obtaining this position. Serving as an intern and familiarizing myself with the work and the topic prepared me for this career.
What do you like most about your job? My favorite part of my job is having the opportunity to help individuals who are resilient, driven, and strong-willed despite their victimization and trauma. For me, experiencing the moments when a client obtains his/her documentation or when he/she feels empowered to disclose information about the victimization is truly significant and powerful. Moments such as those make my job so rewarding.
What is the most challenging part of your job? Most challenging part of the job is the limitation to provide services to potential clients who do not self-identify as victims. Also, the trauma and experiences endured by victims of human trafficking can create a significant restraint on services as victims are not likely to collaborate with law enforcement unless positive rapport has been established.
What advice would you give to help a girl prepare for a job like yours? Never be afraid to ask questions. To learn and become comfortable with your position, you must never be afraid to question your role and that of your agency. Give yourself the opportunity to learn new skills as well as improve new ones. Take time to assess your strengths and implement them in your work setting. By acknowledging your strengths and skills you will become a more effective and innovative professional.
What do you do for fun when you aren’t working? I like to dance, cook, and paint on my days off. I also enjoy volunteering for different organizations around the community. Keeping myself engaged in healthy activities is vital for my well-being as it provides balance and stability.