Sexual Assault and Prevention Awareness of Human Trafficking


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Source:  Joyce Williams, DNP, General Section Fellow

Human trafficking has received more visibility worldwide and is the fastest form of commerce nationally. Because it is such a lucrative business, preventative attempts are seen in many states. The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report provides profit statistics for forced labor/labor trafficking and sex trafficking annually. In 2014, the State Department noted that human trafficking is the second-highest grossing criminal enterprise (2014 TIP Report), generating a profit of $32 billion every year.1

In 2007, Maryland established a task force to “serve as the lead investigative, prosecutorial, and victim services coordinating body for anti-human trafficking activity.”2 As the first forensic nurse to serve on the Victim’s Services Subcommittee, I am committed to improving the medical services for victims of trafficking. Two years ago, an attorney, social workers, an advocate, and I created a pilot training program for medical professionals. Since that time, we have piloted the training in several hospitals in Maryland. As a forensic nurse, I reach out to service organizations, schools of nursing, and interested community groups to educate them about the importance of the identification of victims and how to provide trauma-informed care.

Since the first training in 2015, forensic nurses have developed specific screening tools and interventions, along with comprehensive resources to guide the path for rescued persons. Currently, I am involved in a research project that will offer additional evidence in the identification of victims seeking medical care at health care locations.

1. U.S. State Department. (2014) TIP Report. http://www.mdhumantrafficking.org/statistics/.

2. Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force. (n.d.). http://www.mdhumantrafficking.org/mhttf/.