Human Trafficking and other Social Disparities that plague society, like violent crime, sexual crimes, and complications from drug-abuse put medical providers and law enforcement personnel on the front lines. Solutions, such as Human Trafficking Response Programs, in-depth training to raise awareness and provide guidance on how to deal with such a situation when faced with it in the health care workplace, and related efforts can help to start making a difference in achieving better outcomes from a care perspective.
HTRSD, in association with HTITI, offers in-depth on-site training on Sex Trafficking Awareness for medical and law enforcement groups that is delivered by experienced professionals including former FBI Special Agents and others who have dealt with these issues on both a national and international basis.
These training programs can also offer related online learning to further enhance the effectiveness and applicability of the training content towards establishing an effective Sex Trafficking Awareness program for our clients.
The Problem Defined
Overview of Human Trafficking
Human trafficking, practically defined as the trade of humans for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation, is a modern form of slavery. It occurs throughout the world and across the United States, in communities large and small and of every economic status.
Human trafficking is exercised through the use of one or more of the following methods:
Force — physical assault, sexual assault, solitary confinement, isolation
Fraud— false promises relative to working and living conditions, use of fraudulent documents during travel, fraudulent offers of employment, withholding of wages
Coercion — threats of significant harm or psychological manipulation by threatening the safety or lives of an individual or family and friends
The rudimentary elements that comprise both sex and labor trafficking often result in the occurrence of notable physical injuries and ailments, generating an increase in the likelihood that victims of human trafficking will require some form of medical care at some point while in captivity.
This puts health care providers and security personnel in the medical environment on the “front line” of identifying and appropriately assisting victims of human trafficking. For this reason, the establishment of human trafficking training and response programs in health care facilities across the nation is a critical factor in successful early victim identification, role-defined patient advocacy, and the successful implementation of a multidisciplinary response in cases where victims of human trafficking are identified while seeking medical treatment.
Human Trafficking: A Health Care Problem
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), enacted by Congress in 2000, has served as an important step for increasing public attention to the severity and prevalence of the human trafficking problem present in the United States. A 2014 analysis published in the Annals of Health Law reported that 87.8% of domestic trafficking victims experienced contact with someone within the public health system, yet many of these people exit the health care environment without being identified as possible victims or given assistance in an appropriate manner.
In addition to the components of forced labor and sex, the trafficking of human beings for the purpose of organ removal is a disturbingly common activity, undertaken by transnational crime organizations, that is unique to the health care environment.
The U.S. Government’s Response
Human Trafficking Standards of Care
In 2013, the United States Department of Health and Human Services formulated an education and training program specifically directed to health care and social services providers in order to enhance knowledge and awareness of human trafficking. The “Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond to Health and Wellness Training” program, more commonly referred to as SOAR, equips professionals with skills to identify, treat, and respond appropriately to human trafficking. By applying a public health approach, SOAR seeks to build the capacity of communities to identify and respond to the complex needs of individuals who have suffered under human trafficking and understand the root causes that make individuals, families, and communities vulnerable to trafficking.
The primary objective of SOAR is categorized into four essential elements. These serve as a guide for the implementation of SOAR into practice.
Stop – Describe the scope of human trafficking in the United States
Observe – Recognize the verbal and non-verbal indicators of human trafficking
Ask – Identify and interact with individuals who have experienced trafficking using a victim-centered and trauma-informed approach
Respond – Respond effectively to potential human trafficking in your community by identifying needs and available resources to provide critical support and assistance
Building a Human Trafficking Response Program
As part of the respond element of the program, SOAR training also champions activities that encompass individualized protocol development. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule specifically permits certain disclosures to report injury or abuse of patients. These disclosures include those that are required by law, agreed to by the individual, and that are necessary to prevent harm. Therefore, if state mandatory reporting requirements dictate, the patient must be reported.
Facilities practicing by means that are not compliant with the protocol application standards set forth by related governing agencies may be liable of negligence in civil court cases filed by victims of human trafficking who may have visited a hospital where ‘red flag’ indicators of trafficking were not recognized.
Since the passing of TVPA in 2000, Congress has appropriated more than $1.5 billion to address human trafficking in the U.S., yet less than 200 human traffickers were prosecuted each of those years. We still don’t know how many victims there are in the U.S. New measures of detection are sorely needed.
The HTRSD & HTITI Solution
Human Trafficking Response & Social Disparities (HTRSD) develops and implements Human Trafficking Response Programs specifically to educate and empower administrators, nurses, physicians, and security personnel to effectively address this pressing public health issue. Implementing our Human Trafficking Response Program will also result in an increased awareness of human trafficking in those communities served by the health system.
The Human Trafficking Investigations & Training Institute (HTITI) provides comprehensive and affordable anti-human trafficking training programs in the U.S. and the Caribbean. The HTITI Executive Team has more than 90 years of combined legal and law enforcement experience, has helped prosecute traffickers in federal and state courts, and have served on anti-human trafficking and Crimes Against Children task forces. HTITI instructors have created anti-human trafficking Public Service Announcements for UNICEF, have spoken at United Nations events in Austria, and have been part of human trafficking documentaries.
HTRSD offers complete support for creating a comprehensive Human Trafficking Response Program for Health Care Systems that includes:
POLICY AND PROCEDURE SUPPORT: Development and implementation support for integrating a response program into your administrative protocols
COMPREHENSIVE ONLINE TRAINING: A range of online learning options, including access to our existing library of information-rich eLearning courses on human trafficking and related social disparities, custom development of complete learning environments, or integration of human trafficking course content into your existing learning management system
ON-SITE TRAINING: Complete on-site training provided by experts in human trafficking detection and investigation for clinicians, ancillary, and security staff
CONSULTATION: Ongoing support to maintain, update, and ensure your program’s effective
Trained hospital security and safety officers who known how to respond to calls from an emergency room nurse that suspects a patient is a human trafficking victim is essential – and something that traditional programs do not offer. Identifying traffickers dropping off victims for emergency medical care should be part of a hospital’s workplace violence program, since traffickers are willing to engage in violence to recover “their property.” HTITI’s curriculum teaches early hospital security involvement in all situations of suspected human trafficking at medical facilities.
HTRSD Human Trafficking Response Program Services
HTRSD is a leader in delivering the kind of expert-driven learning environment a hospital must rely on for continued activities in nursing and medical education related to Human Trafficking and Social Disparities.
REVIEW facility policies and procedures on human trafficking detection
LIST strengths and weaknesses of a facility’s current safety procedures
ASSIST in reducing elements of potential malpractice actions from trafficking victims
IMPROVE facility efforts to prevent theft of human organs
INTEGRATE best practices of human trafficking detection of patients seeking medical treatment
TRAIN hospital medical personnel on human trafficking awareness
PROVIDE facility security officers with advanced training on how to investigate human trafficking
TEACH key personnel on the variant of trafficking related to the removal of vital organs
IDENTIFY trends of human trafficking in the healthcare industry
ENSURE healthcare staff members are familiar with the ‘red flag’ indicators of trafficking
LIAISON with local police on the facility’s human trafficking detection & response program
CONDUCT presentations to your community on your hospital’s anti-trafficking efforts
IMPLEMENT complete, custom developed human trafficking awareness and response program
ASSESS whether there is human trafficking risk in staffing and supply chains
PROVIDE quarterly reports on prosecutions of human traffickers that involve visits to medical facilities
IMPROVE a facility’s workplace violence program to address traffickers visiting facilities
Course Accreditation and Certification
HTRSD courses have been approved for accredited continuing education contact hours through the Virginia Nurses Association, an accredited provider approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
HTITI has chosen The International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training as the certification authority overseeing hospital security officer courses, and consults with the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety.