END IT! - SLAVERY!!!
As a nurse, you are in the prime position to be able to see the signs and symptoms of people who are being trafficked. Do you know what the signs and symptoms are? Will you be able to help rescue a victim of sex trafficking if you see one right in front of you? Here are a few things you should know.
February 22 is National Red X Day. This is called the "End It" movement; it is an effort to help victims of human trafficking escape.
The US State Department estimates there are approximately 20-30 MILLION slaves in the world TODAY, and the US has approximately (grossly underestimated) 600,000 - 800,000 trafficked across the borders every year, with the average age 12-14 years old in sex trafficking. Did you know a life expectancy of a child who is sex trafficked is only 7 years from the first sexual assault? The reason sex trafficking is such a huge trade is because the children are... Reusable. This is a simple business math equation. If you sell drugs, you can only sell them once and you don't have any more to sell. A person can be sold over. And over. And over. Some children are sold 10-20 times in one day. Yes, one day.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO) is the number to call if you suspect trafficking. Did you know that they receive more calls from Texas than any other state? The highest trafficking area in the nation is Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, California? The business profit is greater than $32 billion every year internationally?
Traffickers target children in particular. Children who are at the mall, school functions (e.g, sporting events, etc), , bus or train stations, group homes. Classmates can be recruiters, family members can be predators, siblings can traffic siblings, and so on.
What are the signs and symptoms you should know?
Red Flags in Physical Appearance of Sex Trafficking Victims
(This is not a complete inclusive list - these are JUST SOME of the signs and symptoms you may see):
- Signs of physical abuse (bruises, broken bones, burns, scars)
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), memory loss, dizziness, headaches, numbness
- Skin or respiratory problems caused by exposure to chemicals
- Infectious diseases or reproductive health issues (TB, hepatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease or other sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, miscarriage(s), forced abortions)
- Drug and/or alcohol addiction
Psychological & Behavioral Clues
- Helplessness, shame, guilt, low self-esteem, self-blame, humiliation
- Shock & denial, PTSD, phobias, panic attacks, anxiety, anger
- Withdrawn behavior, depression, fear
- Emotional numbness, detachment, dissociation
- Sleep problems or eating disorders
- Drug/alcohol abuse or addiction
- Stockholm Syndrome – a victim feels an attachment to the abuser. This makes it difficult for law enforcement to break the bond of control a trafficker holds over the victim.
- Avoiding eye contact, memory gaps, resisting being touched
Sex Trafficking Signs
- Stockholm Syndrome
- An older "boyfriend" or "girlfriend"
- Unexplained absences or a sharp drop in grades
- Frequently running away from home
- Social isolation from friends and family
- Drug addiction / may show as bad behavior
- References to frequent travel to other cities
- Signs of physical abuse
- Health issues (see red flags)
- Lack of control over schedule and/or documents
- Hunger or clothing not suited to the place/weather
- Coached or rehearsed responses to questions Sudden change in behavior, relationships, or material possessions (e.g., expensive clothes or accessories)
- More than one mobile phone
- Hotel keys and many fast-food restaurant receipts
- Uncharacteristic promiscuity or references to sex that are inappropriate for the age
- Highly sexual clothing or online profile
- Poor personal hygiene Tattoos or burns (branding) displaying the name or moniker of the trafficker (e.g., "Daddy's Girl")
If you ever suspect a person is in danger of trafficking, please report it!
Resources (there are SO many, but here are a few):
National Human Trafficking Hotline
Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation - End Slavery Now
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW)
Human Trafficking 101 for School Administrators and Staff:
About Julie Reyes, DNP, RN
Joined: Aug '08; Posts: 263; Likes: 1,547
PICU RN; from US
Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in pediatrics, occupational healthFeb 22I always tell people to listen to the Rebecca Bender interview on the Jason Ellis show (google will take you to a soundcloud version). Listen to it and it will change your view of prostitution, human trafficking, and the lengths predators will go through to put a woman in that position.