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Human Trafficking Response Program

human trafficking pearr tool

The problem

Trafficking affects every region of the world, including the United States (United Nations, 2019). In 2020, there were over 10,500 tips of human trafficking reported to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, nearly 2,500 of which involved children and youth.

A survey from the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking found that over half of labor and sex trafficking survivors had accessed health care at least once while being trafficked, and nearly 97% of that group indicated they had received no information about human trafficking during those encounters (CAST 2017). These and other studies indicate that health care professionals are too often unprepared to identify and assist trafficked persons.

Our program

With support from the CommonSpirit Foundation, we are able to share many of our resources and learnings through national conferences, partnerships, and publications. For example, we published an HT Shared Learnings Manual that describes our program and provides an example policy/procedure. This manual is used by health care systems across the country, and is a key component of the six-week “SOAR for Organizations” training provided by the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center (NHTTAC).

Education & resources

The Human Trafficking Response Program has compiled a multitude of helpful tools and resources for physicians, advanced practice providers and staff. These include educational modules on human trafficking and trauma-informed approaches to patient care, downloadable reference guides, awareness videos, victim outreach posters, brochures, safety cards, and the PEARR tool, which was developed based on these steps: provide privacy, educate, ask, respect and respond.

National impact

We have been invited to the White House to share information about the role of health care in human trafficking response efforts, and we‘ve partnered with subject matter experts, including people with lived experiences, to develop education for partner organizations.

We have also held our own national conferences, featuring renowned experts and survivors of labor and sex trafficking, with attendees from other health care systems, social service providers, law enforcement agencies, and non-governmental organizations from across the country.

Local impact and engagement

We partnered with Mercy Family Health Center, a Dignity Health family medicine residency training facility, to support replication of their Medical Safe Haven. This model is designed to provide comprehensive, trauma-informed longitudinal health services to persons who have experienced labor or sex trafficking. The Medical Safe Haven trains physicians and multiplies best practices for this specialized care.

To enhance patient intervention efforts, we partnered with community agencies in Los Angeles County California to pilot the Human Trafficking Survivor Advocate program. In this model, human trafficking survivors respond on-site to support patients who are identified as possible victims of trafficking and who agree to speak with a Survivor Advocate.

Forced labor

We are also committed to addressing human trafficking in the supply chain, which includes providing education to our own staff in partnership with the Mekong Club. Our goal is to prevent human trafficking by eliminating forced labor from the healthcare supply chain. This is done through partnerships with suppliers to protect workers' rights, especially those most vulnerable to trafficking such as migrant workers in Asian and African countries.