Can You See Them? Identifying Human Trafficking Victims in the Medical Field

Kristin M. McBride | September 10 | 1:30 - 2:30 PM | Room 2592

Michigan currently ranks 5th in the nation for human trafficking (Shared Hope International). While Michigan legislature works tirelessly to enact laws that will change the shape of victims' services in this state, certain arenas remain untapped. According to a Stanford University study, the first uninvolved people to come in contact with human trafficking victims are medical professionals (Collins & Grace, 2009). Recently the State of Michigan passed into law a requirement for medical professionals to be trained to identify the signs of human trafficking in patients. While this amendment is extremely important, a lot of necessary information was left out of the Public Act itself: Who will conduct the training? What will the training? How long will the training be? Will the training be comprehensive enough that healthcare professionals feel comfortable identifying possible victims? Can healthcare professionals be held liable for reporting suspected cases? In order to address these questions and any others that may arie, the State of Michigan has created a small grant to be used via the Genesee County Medical Society through the Greater Flint Health Coalition as fiduciary to create a physician's toolkit through the compilation of multiple resources. The finished product will be given back to the State of Michigan, and will be disseminated in Genesee County. Physician feedback, competence, and reporting data will be monitored following the dissemination of the toolkit. The objectives through the creation and dissemination of this physician toolkit are to increase awareness of human trafficking as a public health issue among the health professions and to increase consistency in reporting human trafficking cases within the State.       

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