Accreditation

Human trafficking response program at Dignity Health

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, January 1, 2019

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Trafficking is on the rise, and hospitals can make a difference

The problem of human trafficking has caught the attention of healthcare authorities like The Joint Commission, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All three have put out new resources and alerts on the problem, in addition to teaching providers how to respond to it.

Between 2007 and 2017, the National Human Trafficking Hotline identified 43,564 human trafficking victims living in the U.S. At least 88% of these victims visit a healthcare provider at least once during their captivity and aren’t recognized as victims, say experts. There’s also strong evidence to suggest the real number of victims is much higher than what’s been reported—and growing.

The Dignity Health system took a look at these statistics and deemed them unacceptable.

In 2014, Dignity Health kicked off its Human Trafficking Response (HTR) Program with the intent of identifying and aiding trafficking victims. Within a year, it identified at least 31 people with high or moderate indicators that they were victims of human trafficking, and that number has grown with each year since.
Headquartered in San Francisco, the Dignity Health system is a multistate network of 400 care sites and 60,000 employees. Holly Austin Gibbs is the director of Dignity Health’s HTR Program, author of the book Walking Prey: How America's Youth Are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery, and a child sex trafficking survivor. She’s also consulted for the Office for Victims of Crime, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the AMBER Alert program.

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