Activate Health Provider Connections to Prevent Human Trafficking | $name

A ribbon in blue - color representing human trafficking awareness month.

Activate Health Provider Connections to Prevent Human Trafficking

Thu, Jan 25, 2024  -  Comments (0)  -   Posted by Jodi Mitchell

January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and this year’s theme – Activate Connections to Prevent Human Trafficking – recognizes the importance of partnerships and collaboration. Human trafficking cannot be prevented by any one individual, community, organization, or government. To improve the lives of those we serve, we must activate connections throughout the systems that impact individual, family, community, and societal health and well-being.


According to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, in 2021, they identified more than 1,500 people who have experienced human trafficking. Human trafficking is a major public health problem. Survivors of trafficking experience a wide array of physical health issues resulting from inadequate nutrition, poor sanitation, physical and sexual assaults, inhumane living conditions, poor personal hygiene, and lack of access to health services. Healthcare providers play a critical role in responding to the injuries and intersectional trauma experienced by human trafficking and exploitation. Because healthcare providers may be at the frontline to meet trafficked individuals while they are trafficked, healthcare systems have an opportunity to promote and protect the health and safety of survivors.  A trauma-informed approach in caring for survivors is vital.


The Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium hosted a forum last August featuring experts from MetroHealth who shared insights on the intersection between human trafficking and substance use disorders (SUD) as well as ways to identify victims and intervene. This training on how to identify and advocate for people who are experiencing human trafficking is still available for viewing on The Center for Health Affairs’ YouTube Channel



MetroHealth, a member of the Northeast Ohio Hospital Opioid Consortium, developed the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program to help train employees to recognize possible human trafficking and safely intervene. The effort has been effective. Within the first six months of instituting the training, 15 trafficked individuals have been identified by MetroHealth caregivers and connected with help. This effort is being expanded in community outreach initiatives aimed at educating salon owners, stylists, cosmetology students, estheticians, tattoo artists and fitness professionals to recognize flags, including certain behaviors and physical markings like as bruises, abrasions or unusual tattoos and learn what to do if they suspect someone is being abused or controlled.  


Unmet mental health needs may increase the risk of human trafficking, and trauma from trafficking victimization contributes to a wide range of adverse mental or behavioral health conditions. The consequences of trafficking can be long-lasting, impacting the individual and their interpersonal relationships and potentially resulting in intergenerational cycles of victimization.


Learn more about human trafficking and how you can help:

Posted in Population Health

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published..... *Required fields.  

Tag Cloud