Forbes, May 26, 2017
Nicole Fisher

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Healthcare settings are commonly considered the most promising places to identify and serve victims of human trafficking. Further, health systems are oftentimes the only chance for escape. In fact, a 2014 study found that while being exploited, nearly 88% of sex trafficking survivors reported some kind of contact with healthcare. A 2017 survey further found that more than 50% of victims had access to healthcare while being trafficked, but 97% of those indicated they had never been provided with information on resources or options while receiving care. It is clear that human trafficking is a major public health problem. And whether someone is a victim of labor trafficking or sex trafficking, health providers more often than not fail to recognize the signs, and thus our health systems fail to identify and care for our most vulnerable people.

However, Dignity Health, a 21-state network with more than 400 care centers (and the largest hospital provider in California) is trying to change that.Dignity Health, in partnership with Dignity Health Foundation, launched a Human Trafficking Response (HTR) program and has publicly published a shared learnings manual detailing its program and providing internal resources like victim response procedures. Its hope is that other health systems will implement similar programs and use the manual as guidelines for program implementation. [...]

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