Accreditation

Q&A: The Joint Commission on human trafficking

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, September 1, 2018

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 In June, The Joint Commission Quick Safety Issue 42: Identifying Human Trafficking Victims was published (click here for more coverage.) Elizabeth Even, MSN, RN, CEN, is the associate director of Clinical Standards Interpretation in the Division of Healthcare Improvement at The Joint Commission. She is board-certified in emergency nursing (BCEN) as well as trauma nurse–certified and has served as one of the clinical leads in developing a three-tiered security approach in response to violent traumas in an urban Level I trauma center.

Even spoke with BOAQ about human trafficking’s impact on public health and what providers can do to help. 

Q: How widespread is this problem?

Even: The United States is one of the largest markets and destinations for human trafficking victims in the world (Isaac et al., 2011). 

Over a 10-year period (2007–2017), the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) received 40,200 reports of human trafficking cases in the U.S., with the greatest number of reports coming from California (1,305), Texas (792), Florida (604), Ohio (365) and New York (333) (National Human Trafficking Hotline, n.d.). 

Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world and is the second-largest source of income for organized crime. 

Q: Is an effective program for identifying a trafficking victim similar to a suicide-screening program (universal screening questions that activate additional responses if a certain score is reached)? Or is a trafficking prevention program structured differently?  

Even: To clarify, a screening tool and a trafficking prevention program deal with two very different focuses. Similar to how organizations may educate, screen, and discuss assistance options for child abuse, domestic partner violence, or suicidal ideations, simple screening tools can and should be utilized as first steps when there is suspicion of human trafficking. 

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