Tags: Health Topics | ena | human | trafficking

Fighting Human Trafficking Urgently Needed in ER

Image: Fighting Human Trafficking Urgently Needed in ER
From left, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, Ivanka Trump, and Alika Kinan, of Argentina, attend a 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report ceremony, June 27, 2017, at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Kinan was one of eight individuals honored for work to stop human trafficking. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

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Tuesday, 04 Jul 2017 12:02 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Human trafficking is a crime that most of us believe occurs only in the shadows, outside the realm of normal, law-abiding people. But that’s not the case, occasionally traffickers and their victims surface, and it’s often in the emergency room.

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) found that almost 88 percent of trafficking victims seek medical treatment during their ordeal and more important, 68 percent of them seek the treatment in the emergency room.

The association sponsored a study project to see if front line emergency room nurses could be trained to identify human trafficking victims. What is most interesting about the project to me is the study was conducted in an area most observers would consider a waste of time: A community hospital in southwestern Pennsylvania that never previously identified a human trafficking victim.

The observers were wrong. Training and knowing what to look for made a big difference in the lives of some victims. Specifically the ENA "taught ED staff a two­pronged identification approach: medical red flags created by a risk assessment tool embedded into the electronic health record and a silent notification process. They also advised on the proper protocol to ensure the successful rescue and safety of the victims."

The result was satisfying. During the five-month project period the newly trained emergency room nurses identified 38 potential victims and almost 20 percent accepted help and escaped abusive relationships. The fact that 80 percent didn’t accept help is no reason to discount or dismiss the result of the project. Victims unfortunately are often brainwashed, fear for their personal safety or doubt they can support themselves so they return to a dangerous situation.

The key is for potential rescuers to continue to work with them, because it often takes many contacts before the victim can be persuaded to cut the cord.

The human trafficking training had ripple effects that helped women that weren’t captives. Amber Egyud, vice president of Patient Care Services at Forbes Hospital, and designer of the project observed, "Interestingly, we found that not only were formal education and treatment methods effective strategies to improve recognition and save human trafficking victims, but they also increased the identification of other forms of abuse such as domestic violence and sexual assault."

Sexual abuse is a vile crime that enables one perpetrator to damage the lives of multiple victims. I congratulate the ENA on the completion of this successful study and I hope more hospitals will adopt this potentially life-saving training for their emergency room nursing staff.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

   
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Reagan
Sexual abuse is a vile crime enabling one perpetrator to damage the lives of multiple victims. I congratulate the ENA on the completion of a successful study. I hope more hospitals will adopt potentially life-saving training for emergency room nursing staff..
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2017-02-04
Tuesday, 04 Jul 2017 12:02 AM
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