Trafficking Identification Training for Healthcare Professionals

HRGlocal is partnering with Lakeland Health System in Berrien County, Michigan and a physician from a children’s hospital to create a comprehensive human trafficking identification training tool for all personnel in the medical profession. Although other training tools exist to help professionals identify the signs of human trafficking, Lakeland and HRGlocal’s new training has two modules. The high-level module is designed to train doctors and nurses, while a separate module is designed to train other healthcare workers such as medical assistants, patient care techs, receptionists and environmental service associates. Both modules will contain video profiles of women who were trafficked in Michigan and now work to prevent trafficking.


The first module is designed to train anyone in the health care system, equipping them to play a role in combating the crime of trafficking and assisting victims. For example, receptionists are often the first point of contact in the healthcare system, while medical assistants often interact with victims for several minutes, giving these personnel the opportunity to observe a “red flag.” Even environmental or nutritional service associates may have the opportunity to witness suspicious interactions between a victim and captor. All of these associates should be trained to identify and report signs of abuse and trauma, particularly because a victim’s guard is more likely to be down when they are not interacting with a doctor or nurse.


The second module is for doctors and nurses. This module includes a more in-depth training that teaches how to assess for abuse, neglect, trauma, recurrent sexually transmitted infections and fear of a controlling partner. It is critical for these medical professionals to understand safe methods of questioning to follow up on “red flags” without triggering the suspicion of victims or captors. This is a very dangerous undertaking and must be handled by experienced personnel.


Both modules include video components that feature footage of conversations with trafficking survivors, each with very different experiences. Video components are currently tailored to increase awareness specifically regarding common trafficking practices in Michigan.


With additional funding, HRGlocal plans to create additional video profiles and will be tailored to the human trafficking issues in a particular region or state. We also plan to partner with other organizations to adapt these trainings for what other professions may experience, such as law enforcement and the hospitality industry.


When completed, these training modules and video components will be available via the HRGlocal website.