HEAL Trafficking and Hope for Justice’s Protocol Toolkit
In the last few years, federal, state and local governments increased their focus on human trafficking. This increased focus caused changes to licensing boards across the state and an understanding of the barriers to treatment for survivors of trafficking. In this environment, organizations have stepped up to provide support, education, networking and guidance on working with these survivors. HEAL Trafficking is one such organization- an integrated network of over 4,000 survivors and multidisciplinary professionals in 45 countries dedicated to ending human trafficking and supporting its survivors. In 2017, they created a Protocol Toolkit to assist healthcare professionals in safely and effectively caring for people experiencing trafficking.
Healthcare professionals interested in learning to respond effectively to those experiencing trafficking can fill out a form and receive a download of this toolkit. Designed for use in emergency departments, hospitals, clinics, private offices, or school based health centers, it assists providers in providing healthcare, as well as education on ways to ask for help. While we hope that trafficking victims will be identified and provided a way out, this toolkit is designed to support the person in getting appropriate healthcare and empowerment to seek assistance.
Providing tools also includes researching whether those tools help and how best to use them. Ongoing research into this toolkit will continue, but to find out the preliminary results, please read this article, published March 7, 2023. This article includes quotes from people who have used the toolkit and gave clear feedback. Some of the feedback included was:
We are fortunate to have a very active anti-HT NGO … a lot of the community groundwork … was done by them. Our clinic still had to connect with the main players that we would engage with like CPS, police/sheriff, DV shelter, and we met them, they read our protocol and agreed on it. It was circulated throughout the community by the NGO. We all attend the NGO quarterly meetings. It is really important to establish relationships. We needed to know who would be taking our referrals and the proper way for us to refer a patient.
This quote particularly hit home for C7HTC as we provide this sort of support in our community. Our hope as an organization is to provide access to toolkits such as this one, and networking to help implement community wide changes. We do not want the hospitals in our community to feel the way another respondent did:
I work in a small hospital in a rural setting where the idea of trafficking is just being introduced to the health care community and the community at-large. While the toolkit gives a lot of information on developing protocols, it is overwhelming and frankly not practical at this time for our current situation. I also am the only person working on this at our hospital … Pulling together all these pieces to develop a protocol seems almost insurmountable. (R1)
Are you interested in getting access to more such articles and toolkits? Join the HEAL Online community by going here. Once you join a committee, you will receive emails with articles focused on your area of interest.