COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Hospital Association President (OHA) and CEO Mike Abrams today sent a letter to hospitals in the state to call attention to the role healthcare professionals can have in identifying and helping human trafficking victims.
“Establishing a human trafficking protocol will help healthcare professionals better recognize the signs of human trafficking, thereby improving victims’ access to help and services they need,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Seeing a healthcare provider may be one of the few opportunities a victim has to open up about their situation in a non-threatening environment.”
“OHA member hospitals and health systems support all efforts to disrupt human trafficking in Ohio,” said Mike Abrams, OHA president and CEO. “By providing and encouraging adoption of these best practices we will be successful in helping victims.”
Healthcare professionals are one of the few groups who regularly encounter victims while they are being trafficked. A recent study of survivors found that about 88 percent of them had been seen by a healthcare practitioner while they were being trafficked, but tragically were not identified as victims at the time often due to lack of awareness and education on the part of healthcare providers.
The letter sent to Ohio hospitals offers a variety of resources to serve as example protocols for organizations, including videos and manuals produced by human trafficking prevention organizations and the State Medical Board of Ohio. The full letter is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.