The Victims of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the illegal transportation of individuals through coercion and force for sexual exploitation, forced labor, and organ harvesting. The practice has been part of society for many centuries going back before the slave trade (Attwood, 2019). Most of the victims of human trafficking are young boys and girls who cannot protect themselves against their captors. It is an illegal activity that occurs at any time since the perpetrators are ready to exploit anyone who they can find for their benefit.

Healthcare professionals are trained to notice any signs that a person might be a victim of human trafficking. Things to consider include physical injuries, malnourishment, substance abuse, and signs of sexual abuse. Some states require healthcare workers to contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline if they believe they are with a victim of the given issue. It is a way to ensure that the government fights human trafficking as effectively as possible. Healthcare workers are integral in fighting traffickers since most victims require medical attention at some point (Brace et al., 2018). However, it is difficult for a trafficked person to gain the courage to disclose their situation to a stranger. Therefore, medical professionals have to make informed guesses in regards to the status of a patient. In addition, my state, alongside many other ones, has the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014, which requires reporting child trafficking, especially among child welfare facilities (“Federal law,” n.d.). In other words, many state and federal policies force foster care organizations or any healthcare and childcare institutions to be cautious of potential abuses occurring both within and outside their operations.

One crucial intervention that I would like my facility to implement is offering counseling services to persons that are believed to be victims. Although the current Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is mostly dictated by the regulatory agencies, the organization itself can be more proactive with more specific adjustments. Many people come to healthcare organizations to get assistance in medical matters. Many human trafficking victims are taken to hospitals under pretenses to reduce any chances of people finding out. Medical practitioners have to get the right training to spot victims of human trafficking quickly (Charron et al., 2020). The given development process helps in discerning between different patients to find those that might be potential victims. Healthcare facilities should be safe zones for anyone who is being trafficked.

Medical practitioners must ensure that they are prepared to connect potential victims with the right authorities to assist them. However, it is difficult for medical workers to build enough trust with their patients to open up about such issues. Therefore, healthcare professionals have to guess who might be a victim. It requires the nurse or doctor to go through a preapproved checklist on identifying victims of human trafficking. The next step is getting in touch with relevant authorities to come and investigate the potential crime. Medical workers must keep the patient or suspected victim in the health facility as long as possible to give specialists time to get there.

The medical facility I work in does not have existing screening and identification measures to help human trafficking victims. One of the policies I would like to implement is that underage persons who come unaccompanied should see a social worker. Most human trafficking victims are individuals under 18, such as children and adolescents, and it is important to look out for these individuals in our facility. Social work professionals are experienced in operating and communicating with troubled children. The facility should also look for people that have physical injuries and signs of trauma. A person that has been trafficked for a long time is expected to have mental issues. All medical professionals in the facility should have basic training in diagnosing signs that the victims cannot explain. Having a social worker at our facility can help identify and reach out to human trafficking victims. Having individuals that fit this description separated from the crowd, and a private session with a professional can help them open up. Social workers often have training in psychology or counseling, which is integral in interacting with trafficked persons.

The person to talk to about implementing such measures is the director or chief executive officer of the medical facility. It is crucial that effective screening and identification measures are adopted to help fight human trafficking. After compiling some suggested policies, I can reach out to the facility manager to see if they can implement them. I must be as concise as possible so that they know the importance of fighting human trafficking. Medical facilities are willing to accept and admit the majority of people, and human trafficking victims can come to seek help. It is up to healthcare workers to identify likely victims and communicate with them if they are not forthcoming about their situation. I would also get input from my colleagues on what they believe is the best way to identify human trafficking victims. Everyone has different ideas on the issue, and getting suggestions from others can help find the best solutions. Moreover, a united workforce can pressure the manager or executives to see the seriousness of the situation.

Since I lack any experience with a victim of human trafficking, I believe that there are obvious signs to look out for when screening such individuals. Firstly, I would look for signs of physical injuries in young persons. Many human trafficking victims are usually held against their will, so they are bound to face torture or abuse from their capturers. Physical injuries on young persons should call for a deeper investigation. I would then try to talk to the patient and determine if they can explain the cause of their injuries. Anyone that is hesitant or cannot explain the reason for these bodily damages is most likely to be a victim of some form of abuse. Secondly, I would be on the lookout for persons that are physically malnourished. Lack of enough food or nutrients indicates that a person is not living under the best conditions. It would signify that they are either poor or being denied food by someone in their lives. In either case, it would be my duty to reach out to a social worker to help the individual if they were an underage person.

Lastly, I would be conscious of anyone uncomfortable around someone they are accompanied with during visits. Many victims of human trafficking do not have the freedom to move around. Therefore, any of them who have to seek medical attention will probably be accompanied by someone else. Anyone that is being held captive is going to be cautious and look uncomfortable around the person they are with at the facility. In case I come across such an individual, I would find a reason to be alone with them under the guise of a medical procedure. The next step would be to contact the relevant authorities, such as the police or a human trafficking hotline. It would ensure that the supposed victim is separate from their captor when the authorities arrive. Immediate action is necessary for such a situation to ensure that the victims of human trafficking have a chance to get away from their position.

References

Attwood, R. (2019). Human trafficking: A problem with a past. Real History, 1(1), 42-43.

Brace, E., Sanders, J., & Oommen, H. (2018). Access to healthcare for victims of human trafficking: A focus group with third sector agencies. Diversity and Equality in Health and Care, 15(2), 77-86. Web.

Charron, C. M., Valenzuela, B. E., Donnelly, E. A., & Oehme JD, K. (2020). . Journal of Human Trafficking, 1-12. Web.

Federal law. (n.d.). 2020, Web.

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