Human Trafficking Awareness
January 15, 2019
In support of the 2019 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) is highlighting the important role that health care providers play in identifying and helping victims of human trafficking, many of whom are women and minors. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), it is estimated that more than 20 million men, women and children around the world are victims of human trafficking.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery from which traffickers profit from the control and exploitation of others. Criminalized under both federal and state law, it is defined as the transporting, soliciting, recruiting, harboring, providing or obtaining of another person for transport; for the purposes of forced labor, domestic servitude or sexual exploitation using force, fraud and/or coercion. Victims of trafﬁcking may experience a host of health-related problems and are at high risk of injury, illness and even death from the circumstances of their forced treatment and bondage.
Because DOH has locations in each of Florida’s 67 counties, victims of human trafficking may likely come into contact with the systems and the services DOH provides. Additionally, since most victims of human trafficking may have contact with a health care professional during the time they are trafficked, it is crucial that we raise awareness about human trafficking among the health care provider community to help identify and assist potential victims.
In 2018, HHS launched the Look Beneath the Surface campaign which takes the public health approach to responding to human trafficking. In public health, we recognize that human trafficking impacts whole populations and not just individuals. For the 2019 National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, DOH is bringing awareness to impacted communities that are at high risk of being trafficked and have limited access to health care through the statewide promotion of the Look Beneath the Surface campaign.
Contact your local county health department for information. Visit DOH’s human trafficking page for more information and resources designed to raise awareness and assist health care professionals. Additional links offer tips for identifying potential victims of human trafficking, suggested screening questions and a framework for a human trafficking protocol in a health care setting. These resources were prepared by the National Human Trafficking Hotline and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.