In January 2017, the NPWH Board of Directors approved our position statement on human sex trafficking, which is published in this issue of the journal. The work of the writing group on the position statement started in October 2016. It seems that, nearly every week since that time, I see something in the media about human trafficking.
At our annual conference last year in New Orleans, Dr. Kimberly Chang gave a highly informative and impassioned presentation on human trafficking. Dr. Chang is nationally known for her advocacy in the prevention of trafficking and the care of trafficking survivors. Along the way, she has provided me with a variety of resources on both sex and labor trafficking that I want to share with all of you.
One of these resources is HEAL – Health, Education, Advocacy, and Linkages. HEAL is an independent network of multidisciplinary professionals dedicated to ending human trafficking and supporting its survivors—from a public health perspective. At the HEAL Trafficking website, you can find educational resources, as well as access a protocol toolkit for healthcare settings.
The Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) is housed within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). At the OTIP website, you can find factsheets, brochures, and posters supporting DHHS’s Look Beneath the Surface campaign, which can be used to increase community awareness about human trafficking. In addition, the website has information on victim assistance services and training resources, and it provides reports on trafficking from other federal agencies.
The Polaris Project provides trafficking statistics, offers information on a variety of trafficking prevention initiatives, and sponsors the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) and the BeFree Textline (text HELP to 233733 [BEFREE]). You can find out more on the Polaris Project website.
If you want in-depth and up-to-date information on a variety of trafficking issues, I recommend the textbook Human Trafficking Is a Public Health Issue: A Paradigm Expansion in the United States (2017). This book has 24 chapters covering topics such as Sex Trafficked and Missed, LGBTQ Youth and Vulnerability to Sex Trafficking, Physical Health of Human Trafficking Survivors: Unmet Essentials, Caring for Survivors Using a Trauma-Informed Care Framework, The Ignored Exploitation: Labor Trafficking in the USA, and Human Trafficking: Perspectives on Prevention. You can download individual chapters or purchase the complete book.
NPWH will continue to provide leadership and collaborate with other organizations and agencies to deliver education to increase knowledge and provide resources for NPs to identify, assess, and respond to the needs of trafficked individuals. Furthermore, we will advocate for policies and public health campaigns that will help stop trafficking.