MHA and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office collaborated to develop resources for Missouri hospitals to combat human trafficking. It is estimated that 88% of sex trafficking victims encountered the health care system while being trafficked. Less is known about those being trafficked for labor and their interaction with the health care system. However, labor trafficking can include individuals forced to engage in a wide variety of tasks from farm, construction and factory work, to retail and restaurant work. As with those involved in sex trafficking, there is no specific profile.
While several hospitals have implemented policies and procedures related to human trafficking, many are looking for resources to inform the development of such policies, procedures and staff education.
MHA convened a group of experts from Missouri hospitals and the AG’s Human Trafficking Taskforce to form the Hospital Human Trafficking Taskforce. This group met throughout several months to develop the Human Trafficking Toolkit, as well as 14 online education modules related to trafficking. Hospitals can use the toolkit to formulate multidisciplinary teams to develop policies and procedures for the identification and treatment of trafficking victims. In addition, the on-demand availability of the modules will make the staff education process efficient and cost-effective.
MHA plans to assess hospital utilization of the toolkit and online modules. Similar collaboratives have been established in other states, including Nebraska, Kansas and Illinois. Hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers are mandated in Section 595.120, RSMo., to display posters on human trafficking, including the hotline number. Posters are developed by and may be obtained from the Missouri Department of Public Safety.