Assessment of Human Trafficking Awareness

Friday, 28 July 2017

Karen L. Hoblet, PhD, MSN
Population Care, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, USA

Background: Human trafficking is modern day slavery. INTERPOL, the world’s largest police organization reported that human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar enterprise (2016). The Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States reported that human trafficking may be the “third largest criminal activity in the world” (2016). The Ohio Department of Health reported that human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world (2016). Literature identified nurses and other healthcare workers in working in emergency departments, physician offices, and urgent care centers as being positioned to identify and rescue victims of human trafficking (Peters, 2013). Currently there is limited if any content that included in curriculum in medicine and nursing to inform these healthcare providers about how to identify victims of human trafficking and then how to effectively access or provide support for victims of human trafficking.

Purpose: This study was conducted to assess Toledo, Ohio area emergency department nurses and physician knowledge of indicators of human trafficking and resources to help rescue victims of human trafficking. The study design also educated participants about indicators of human trafficking and about available resources to rescue and help victims.

Methods:  The quantitative study was approved by the University of Toledo Social and Behavioral Science Institutional Review Board. Reciprocal institutional approval was obtained from a large health care corporation with multiple acute care facilities with emergency departments in the Toledo, Ohio area. Data collection took place in local Toledo, Ohio area emergency rooms. Once informed consent was obtained participants were given a 14-item instrument, The Human Trafficking Awareness Survey. This instrument was developed after a review of literature from 2004-2014 using a key word search which included: human trafficking, emergency departments, assessment, signs, symptoms, healthcare providers, sex trafficking, trafficking, minors, knowledge, and protocol. The instrument included six demographic items and eight items specific to human trafficking and took approximately ten minutes to complete.

Results:  Data are currently being analyzed using SPSS23 and results will be available prior to the conference.

Conclusion:  Human trafficking is modern day slavery and a multi-million dollar global industry. Emergency department nurses and physicians are positioned to identify, rescue, and help these victims. Unfortunately, not all nurses and physicians working in emergency departments are educated to enable them to identify and help victims of human trafficking. This study provided a means to not only assess the knowledge level of nurses and physicians working in Toledo, Ohio area emergency departments about indicators of human trafficking and available resources to help rescue victims, it also provided a means to educate these professional about indicators of human trafficking and available resources as well. The benefits of this work is self-evident. If one more person is identified, rescued, and helped than it was a meaningful work.