Attorney General Pam Bondi is turning to emergency medical workers to help fight human trafficking in Florida, which is the third highest ranked state for the crime.
Emergency medical providers are at the “front line to help to identify possible victims of human trafficking,” Beth Brunner, CEO of the Emergency Medicine Learning and Resource Center in Orlando, said in a press release.
But the emergency workers don’t always recognize the signs, according to healthcare officials.
A study from the Family Violence Prevention Fund found that “28 percent of trafficking survivors said they came into contact with a healthcare provider during the trafficking situation, and were not recognized.”
“Medical treatment during an emergency may be one of the few opportunities that emergency medical personnel have a chance to help save a human trafficking victim,” said Bondi, who announced the plan to involve emergency personnel at a press conference in Orlando.
Working with experts, the Attorney General’s Office has compiled numerous indicators of sex and labor trafficking, examples of appropriate questions and recommended courses of action in suspected cases of trafficking.
Victims may have no fixed address, for instance, may be under control of someone else or claim to be just visiting.There’s also a long list of physical indicators.
According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, there are 27 million people of all ages enslaved worldwide either through sexual exploitation, forced labor, fraud or coercion.
The legislature this session established a 15-member Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, with meetings expected to start in late August. The newest member, Rep. Jeanette Nunez, R-Miami, was appointed by House Speaker Will Weatherford on Thursday.