HEAL Trafficking, in partnership with Hope for Justice, has announced the release of its new Protocol Toolkit for Developing a Response to Victims of Human Trafficking in Health Care Settings.
Dr Susie Baldwin, Preventive Medicine specialist and President of HEAL Trafficking, a network of professionals addressing human trafficking from a public health perspective, said: “Between 28 and 88% of trafficked persons in the US interact with health care providers while they are still being trafficked.”
The toolkit is aimed at addressing the ‘critical gap’ that has been identified through which trafficking victims slip every time they pass through a healthcare setting without anyone in the system spotting the signs.
HEAL Trafficking illustrated the value of the toolkit by releasing the story of Ima Matul, who was trafficked from Indonesia at the age of 17. She explained that the two times she saw a health care professional, her traffickers told her “not to speak” and to “let them do the talking”. Once, on her way to the hospital with a serious head injury, her traffickers told her to tell the providers that she “bumped her head in the backyard”.
Hope for Justice US Program Director Dave Rogers said: “Health care professionals are among those most likely to come into contact with victims of human trafficking and modern slavery, so it is vital they have the skills and resources they need to recognize a victim. If they are able to identify the signs and know what to do next, the chances of a life-changing intervention are considerably higher. Hope for Justice has trained hundreds of healthcare professionals for just this reason, and this Protocol Toolkit will be an excellent additional resource for them.”