Human trafficking: what is the role of the healthcare professional?

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


The idea of this professional project originated after a learning-needs assessment was performed by the education department on the Labor and Delivery/Mother Newborn unit at a healthcare facility in Montana. Information obtained from the learning-needs assessment indicated that the staff wanted more information on human trafficking in the healthcare setting. A literature review was completed regarding human trafficking in the healthcare setting and the evidence showed that healthcare professionals are not adequately trained in identification of a human-trafficking victim, rescuing a victim, or resource utilization for suspected victims. An educational presentation was developed and learning objectives were identified. The goal of the project was to increase staff awareness regarding human-trafficking victims, increase confidence in the ability to identify a trafficked victim, and provide staff with resources in the event that they encounter a human-trafficking victim. A pretest to assess knowledge of the topic was given immediately prior to the presentation and a posttest was given immediately after the presentation to assess attainment of learning objectives. Results showed an increased awareness of this topic post presentation and staff felt more confident in identifying a human-trafficking victim. Staff were given resources to utilize at the end of the presentation to assist them in identifying potential victims and use for referral purposes on their unit. Although this was one area to increase awareness of the problem of human trafficking, there continues to be a need for protocol development for healthcare providers, collaboration amongst law enforcement, service providers, and private organizations and increased research regarding this topic.




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