Discussion post

Post 1:  Nurses rarely receive training regarding human trafficking (Lamb-Susca & Clements, 2018). In my career I have never received formal or informal training regarding human trafficking. Awareness that human trafficking happens in all 50 states in rural and suburban communities not just urban areas is critical for nurses to understand. The prevalence is hard for experts to determine because of its underground nature. The purpose is to sell and exploit human being into “modern day slavery” by forcing individuals into prostitution and forced labor. Human trafficking can happen to any gender, age, race, or sexual orientation, however, most victims are women, runaway children, and those who identify as transgendered (Lamb-Susca & Clements, 2018).These victims are bought, sold, and smuggled then their lives are threatened. In addition, physical abuse, starvation, forced drug use create codependency with their trafficker. Physical signs to watch for include unexplained bruising, broken bones, burns, scars, frequent UTIs, pelvic inflammatory disease, multiple pregnancies and abortions, sexually transmitted diseases. Psychological trauma includes, PTSD, anxiety, depression, shame, mistrust, and drug/ alcohol dependencies. The social signs of a person being trafficked include homelessness, poverty, and illiteracy (Lamb-Susca & Clements, 2018).Victims are unlikely to trust nurse or other healthcare professionals with information regarding their trafficker for fear of their life and families’ lives (Lamb-Susca & Clements, 2018). A victim might have a romantic relationship with their trafficker and have complex, mixed emotions regarding turning their trafficker into authority under the false promise of a better life. Lack of proper documentation such as confusion on legal residence, alien statuses, little to no money, inability to speak English requiring translators are other “red flags” to healthcare workers. At this time there is no clinical screening for human trafficking. Being aware of social services and law enforcement. An important note with contacting law enforcement is that many of the victims of human trafficking are viewed as criminals themselves. It is far better to reach Department of Homeland Security, National Human Trafficking Hotline, or US Department of Justice Labor and Trafficking in Persons and Work Exploitation Task Force.The path for a victim to survivor requires a nurse to be open and empathic to their situation. As they begin the recovery process they will need help with food, housing, medical care, psychological counseling, and much more.  Trafficking happens because traffickers exploit vulnerable people in exchange for money. Awareness and identification are critical aspect in both nursing and society at large to eliminate human trafficking. References Lamb-Susca, L., & Clements, P. T. (2018). Intersection of Human Trafficking and theEmergency Department: JEN. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 44(6), 563-569.Discussion post 2:As healthcare providers, we come into contact with patients with incomprehensible life’s experiences. Of those most disturbing, patients that have been victims of verbal and mental abuse and sexual assault are probably the most common. Another type of patient we may see is a human trafficking victim. Human trafficking is a deplorable act that occurs far too frequently. Patient’s that are victims of human trafficking often give off the same flags that someone suffering from abuse and/or sexual assault would. As a nurse, we must ensure that we are knowledgeable of the signs of human tracking, so that we may better assist the patient in seeking help. Victims of human trafficking often display some of the same signs that victims of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse might. They experience most of the same traumas, the difference is, they are being kidnapped from their life and often times sold for sexual purposes or for labor purposes. According to the Journal of Legal Nursing Consulting (2020) the following are general signs that human trafficking may be at play: inconsistent historian, unwilling to answer or skirts around questions regarding their injury, present with someone who speaks for them or will not let them answer, nervous eye shifting, resistant towards help, cannot give address, confused with time and location, and does not have personal identification.In addition to the aforementioned signs, there are numerous mental and physical signs of human trafficking. As nurses, we are the ones who may have the most contact with the victim and therefore, we should be extremely aware of the possible physical and mental signs. According to the Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting (2020) common signs are bruising, fractures, unexplained memory loss, respiratory distress, substance abuse, malnutrition, genital trauma, self-harm, nightmares, hostility, and flat affect. When caring for these patients, it is imperative that we allow them to lead the interaction to some extent. We should work to build their trust and rapport. We must remember that these patients have been through tremendous trauma and to them, we are another threat. We should be aware of our facilities policies on reporting such events. If a patient has someone present that we feel may be harming them, we should try to get the patient alone to speak with them. We should never force these patients to say more than what they are willing, but we should express to them that we are there to help them and only them. Many victims of human trafficking in my area are not from the U.S., which means most of them are afraid of getting sent back to their home country where they might be taken again or worse. As nurses, we should never make the victim promises we cannot keep. We should be as open and honest with them as we possibly can. Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking: What to Look for in a Healthcare Setting. (2020). Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting, 31(3), 30–33.

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