Human Trafficking and the Global Human Rights Violations

Sunday, 17 November 2013: 3:30 PM

Patricia A. Crane, PhD, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC
Women's Health, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

Human Trafficking is not just the genre for popular movie. It is real for the practicing nurse who needs to be prepared when called. The purpose here is to discuss the third largest and lucrative industry third only to guns and drugs and the important role that nurses have played and will continue to play in screening, assessing, and caring for this marginalized groups of men, women, and children. Trafficking in persons and organized and planned violations of human rights, such as rape and genocide is a global public health problem. The U. S. Department of State estimates that 17,500 women and children are trafficked annually within and into the U. S. as sex workers and another 20,000 men, women, and children are trafficked as pawns in the third largest and lucrative (US$9.5billion annually) industry in the world. The world watches human trafficking and the staggering upward spiral in genocide in the name of religion, ethnicity, research, and political beliefs. Nurses have a unique responsibility to screen and provide a valuable contribution in a form of eyewitness documentation, photographic evidence, or fact and/or expert witness testimony that could lead to evidence-based care, follow-up, and prosecution of these crimes to humanity. We will provide case examples where nurses served as effective, objective, and convincing advocates for these atrocities and are instrumental in giving voices to those who are silenced by peoples’ inhumanities. Specific barriers to the prosecution of sexual violations, rape, and genocide are discussed such as, lack of international definitions and codes governing forensic work, need for clearer delineation of multiple forensic team members’ scope of work, methods of data collection and analyses, ownership of work products, and the need for more extensive support and protection of local and international witnesses, including nurses during or after civil war.