Nationwide Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Each January, we acknowledge and shine a highlight on the toll human trafficking takes on people, households, and communities. Greater than 27 million individuals expertise human trafficking globally and instances have been reported in each state and territory within the U.S.

As a public well being challenge, trafficking disproportionately impacts populations served by HHS. Traffickers deal with youth and adults whose vulnerability is elevated due to poverty, homelessness, household instability, and different types of trauma. Folks might develop acute, long-term, and intergenerational well being and behavioral well being penalties from accidents, hazardous working situations, and traumatic experiences of violence and abuse related to their trafficking.

With an issue of this magnitude, well being care suppliers should be a part of the response to and prevention of trafficking. I used to be simply in Arizona in December, the place I spoke with medical doctors and nurses at a bunch of native clinics working within the cities of Douglas and Bisbee close to the U.S.-Mexico border. They described working with girls who’ve skilled trafficking and connecting them with a number of sorts of medical care and interventions to deal with their bodily, behavioral, and emotional wants. Along with providing these sorts of care, medical professionals can assist make different care professionals conscious of threat elements and warning indicators that they could be interacting with somebody who has skilled trafficking. Well being professionals also can provide language translation and culturally applicable care every time doable and may work with different social companies of their group to make sure a continuity of care and well-being for individuals impacted by trafficking who come via their doorways.

In accordance with one examine, 67% of trafficking survivors accessed well being care companies whereas being trafficked, but their state of affairs was unrecognized as a result of not each well being care skilled might really feel outfitted to establish and reply to the wants of those sufferers.

To handle this downside, HHS’ Administration for Kids and Households (ACF) , in partnership with the Workplace on Girls’s Well being developed, to Well being and Wellness, a nationally acknowledged, accredited coaching program to assist well being care and social service suppliers establish, deal with, and reply to sufferers who’ve skilled trafficking. SOAR is grounded in a trauma-informed and person-centered strategy that respects the dignity of trafficking survivors and focuses on their well-being. Accredited are free on the TRAIN Studying Administration System.

Well being care professionals also can overview core competencies for Human Trafficking Response in Well being Care and Behavioral Well being System, developed via a collaboration between well being care associations, advocacy organizations, and consultants with lived expertise in trafficking. The competencies information well being care professionals, organizations, researchers, and educators via institutionalizing a complete public well being strategy to human trafficking throughout well being care and behavioral well being techniques.

Well being care leaders also needs to be involved in regards to the function of compelled labor in well being and public well being provide chains. We’re working to make sure entry to well being care items and companies whereas defending the welfare of staff in international provide chains.

Final 12 months, HHS Secretary Becerra fashioned the to implement the and create larger consciousness in regards to the scope of this downside. I’m honored to co-chair this effort with ACF Assistant Secretary Contreras. We’re working with many devoted individuals throughout the Division who share the imaginative and prescient of bringing aid to survivors at this time and, at some point, ending human trafficking.

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