There is a growing recognition of the role that physicians can play in addressing cases of human trafficking that they may encounter within clinical practice. There is a need to expand awareness among physicians and other clinicians, especially those interacting with high risk youth and young adults (such as practitioners working in adolescent health centers, EDs, reproductive health centers, etc.).
Best practices recommend enhancing the ability of physicians to identify and intervene with victims of human trafficking and establishing systems of care to connect victims with the social services and support they require in areas such as housing, personal safety, education, etc.
The ACCMA has been actively working to promote human trafficking awareness and best practices among physicians and health care professionals in our local communities. ACCMA has hosted multiple Human Trafficking 101 webinars and continues to be a resources for physician and patient information. Please see the physician and patient resources below, or contact the ACCMA at 510-654-5383 for more information about how you can be part of the fight against human trafficking.
A staggering 12.3 million adults and children are enslaved in human trafficking around the world at any given time according to the United Nations' International Labor Organization. To help address this growing epidemic, the AMA has adopted policy to ensure that physicians are trained to report suspected cases of human trafficking to the appropriate authorities while ensuring victims have the medical, legal and social resources they need.
"We must do everything we can to help get victims of human trafficking to safety," said AMA Board Member William E. Kobler, M.D. "Since we know that victims of human trafficking rarely seek help out of fear of their captors or law enforcement, we believe that the health care setting is an ideal way to engage with suspected victims and get them the help and resources they so desperately need."
To read more about AMA's policy on human trafficking, click here.
In 2016, CMA formally took a stance against human trafficking, adopting a resolution that states, "That the California Medical Association support the development of laws and policies that utilize a public health framework to address the commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors, which includes, but is not limited to, promoting care and services for victims instead of arrest and prosecution; and be it further that this matter be referred for national action."
To read more about CMA's resolutions, click here and here.
MGH/MMS Human Trafficking Guidebook on Identification, Assessment and Response in a Health Care Setting Guidebook.
The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Human Trafficking Initiative and the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on Violence Intervention and Prevention have worked in partnership to create the first edition of Human Trafficking: Guidebook on Identification, Assessment, and Response in the Health Care Setting. This guidebook provides an overview of human trafficking, describes its clinical manifestations, and offers guidance for health care professionals regarding identification, assessment, care, and follow-up.
The objectives of this guidebook are to educate health care providers about human trafficking, and to provide resources for patient referral and ongoing professional education. Achieving these objectives will support the larger goals of advancing both health care scholarship in the field, as well as the health care system’s evolving contribution to global efforts directed at intervention, and ultimately, prevention of human trafficking.
Click here to access the Guidebook
The Alameda County District Attorney's Office operates HEAT Watch, an inter-agency collaborative to help coordinate services for victims of human trafficking. They work closely with CBO's to connect victims of human trafficking who are caught up in the juvenile justice system with resources and support.
Click here to learn more
HEAL Trafficking is a united group of multidisciplinary professionals dedicated to ending human trafficking and supporting its survivors, from a public health perspective. The HEAL Advocacy Committee advances the public health response to trafficking by working to improve public policies and support anti-trafficking efforts at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The leader of the Advocacy Committee is Abigail English, JD.
The HEAL Education and Training Committee focuses on educating health care providers about trafficking and making relevant, evidenced-based training resources more accessible. HEAL efforts are led by Jordan Greenbaum, MD and Lela Bachrach, MD, MS.
Click here to learn more about the HEAL Training Programs
HEAT (Human Exploitation and Trafficking) Watch is a program created by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office to combat human trafficking on a collaborative, multi-disciplinary, and regional basis. HEAT Watch seeks to prevent and combat human trafficking in all of its forms with a five-point strategy designed to support victims and those at-risk; engage community members and raise awareness; train law enforcement and other first responders; prosecute traffickers and purchasers; and change legislative policy and identify best practices.
Access HEAT's Online Toolkit
HEAT Watch provides training for all professionals. HEAT Watch is committed, on a local, regional and national level, to training all first responders, a term which they interpret broadly to include all professionals, not just police, who are on the front lines or in a position in the community where there is a high likelihood of interfacing with and recovering human trafficking victims. This includes but is not limited to law enforcement, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, emergency room doctors and nurses, TSA workers, flight attendants, ridesharing app drivers, hotel and restaurant workers, and property managers.
To ensure the effectiveness of first responders, HEAT Watch provides ongoing trainings, which 1) dispel prevailing myths and misconceptions about trafficking; 2) raise awareness about the various forms of trafficking and the complex victimology of those who are exploited; 3) increase the number of identified victims; 4) ensure victim stabilization and well-being through the delivery of essential support services; and 5) increase the number of reported cases and trafficking prosecutions.
The HEAT Watch trainings are tailored to each specific audience, and are conducted by expert trainers from a variety of fields who assess agency need when developing each training curriculum. Currently every Oakland City employee is being trained by the multi-disciplinary team of the Alameda County District Attorney’s HEAT Unit, West Coast Children’s Services, and MISSSEY.
To request a training for your agency, please contact info@HEATWatch.org.
An interactive website that allows for physicians to download materials, start discussions and connect to different resources.
"The reasons why individuals become vulnerable to this kind of exploitation are complex and multifaceted. The process of recognizing and intervening on their behalf is only a first step toward reclaiming them from a pernicious and deadly system. But for these victims to have a chance the process has to begin somewhere, and medical professionals are uniquely positioned to act. Increasing awareness, improving training, and connecting hospitals and clinics to resources are not the only things needed, but these actions can, and will, instigate positive change and begin the process of changing victims' lives. So please share this program and learn more from the links on our resources page."
The online course, Human Trafficking 101 – Dispelling the Myths, has an estimated completion time of 45 minutes and is accessible for free. It is designed to provide basic education on human trafficking for all health care staff, physicians, volunteers, and contract employees.
Click here to access the module
It is critical to educate all staff, including security officers, patient registration personnel, and other support staff who may observe red flags in the facility’s hallways, waiting areas, or parking lots. This course covers misconceptions and definitions associated with human trafficking, prevalence of the crime, common red flags in the health care setting, and action steps in the event red flags are observed.
To learn more, please click here.
Patient Resources and Centers
Alameda County rape crisis center that serves as first responder for sexual assaults; crisis response available 24/7; manage referrals as appropriate to more intensive case management organizations (i.e. MISSSEY, etc.); currently works closely with Highland and Washington hospitals; substantial work with CSEC due to crossover with sexual violence.
Founded in 1971, BAWAR was the first rape crisis center in the country. It was founded with the two-part goal of establishing a place where survivors of sexual violence could receive the quality counseling and advocacy they need, and to provide community education around these issues.
Although their name is Bay Area Women Against Rape, they serve anyone affected by sexual violence. BAWAR defines sexual violence by the narratives of the survivors who experienced the violence. BAWAR are here to believe and validate the community they serve in a trauma-informed, culturally appropriate and accessible way.
24-Hour Hotline in English and Spanish: (510) 845-7273
Bay Area Women Against Rape Contact Information:
470 27th Street
Oakland, CA 94612
Hours: M-F, 9am – 5pm PST (Excluding Federal Holidays)
Office: (510) 430-1298
Community Violence Solutions is a Contra Costa County rape crisis center that serves as first responder for sexual assaults.
Founded in 1974, Community Violence Solutions, the umbrella organization for the Rape Crisis Center of Contra Costa and Marin Counties, is one of the oldest rape crisis centers in California, and one of the oldest in the country. Community Violence Solutions provides support services to child and adult victims of sexual assault and their families.
The crisis hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1-800-670-7273.
Community Violence Solutions' Service Sites:
West Contra Costa County
2101 Van Ness Street, San Pablo, CA 94806
Administrative Office: 510-237-0113
East Contra Costa County
301 W. 10th Street #3, Antioch, CA 94509
Business Office: 925-706-4290
4340 Redwood Highway, Ste F-109, San Rafael, CA 94903
Business Office: 415-259-2850
Children’s Interview Center
Martinez, CA 94553
Business Office: 925-608-5650
Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting, & Serving Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSSEY) provides intensive case management for victims of human trafficking and helps connect them to other local resources; they work closely with BAWAR to accept referrals as appropriate; they are not a 24/7 crisis response center; they do provide training to CBO's and service providers.
Since 2007, MISSSEY has devoted its energy to the heartbreaking epidemic of commercial sexual exploitation by supporting and advocating for youth who are victimized by or vulnerable to child sex trafficking. MISSSEY is a survivor-centered, trauma-informed organization confronting the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Oakland, in Alameda County, and throughout California.
10,000 professionals have been trained by MISSSEY since 2007, ensuring that youth serving organizations, law enforcement agencies, healthcare providers, and educators are able to identify and help CSE youth. Any organization (government, non-government, community-based, educational, etc.) can request a training from MISSSEY.
MISSSEY’s prevention program was established in 2016 in response to a growing community need for holistic, gender responsive preventative education specifically aimed at young women in Oakland who are vulnerable to sex trafficking. MISSSEY believes information is power in the hands of young people. Their goal is to equip youth with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves and each other from exploitation and abuse.
MISSSEY Contact Information:
424 Jefferson Street
Oakland, CA 94607
MISSSEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (510) 251-2070. Their fax number is (866) 585-7819. Clients with emergencies can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888.
DreamCatcher is a youth shelter in Alameda County, specifically catering to youth between the ages of 13-18.
DreamCatcher Youth Services is the only Shelter in Alameda County for youth aged 13-18. DreamCatcher provides a vital continuum of care for homeless, disconnected youth to enable them to become healthy, productive adults. DreamCatcher has a 14-year history of helping youth to make safe exits to a positive, stable environment and building relationships with youth that have resulted in their finishing high school, entering college, finding jobs and becoming productive, caring citizens of our community.
Alameda County Dream Catch Shelter Contact Information:
Contact the Shelter at 800-379-1114
The Alameda County Family Justice Center is made up of over 30 onsite and over 50 offsite agencies and programs that provide services and support to individuals and families who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault and exploitation, child abuse, elder and dependent adult abuse, and stalking. The ACFJC is a Division of the District Attorney’s Office and provides visitors with legal, health, and support services and the opportunity for physical and psychological safety, recovery and well-being.
The Alameda County Family Justice Center provides services such as:
"The Alameda County Family Justice Center (ACFJC), envisioned by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley, began as a simple concept; to create a 1-stop location that would provide effective, comprehensive services to victims of interpersonal violence in a collaborative and coordinated way."
Alameda County Family Justice Center Contact Information:
470 27th Street Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 267-8800 • email@example.com
Contra Costa County Family Justice Center serves clients who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking. They provide not only crisis intervention, but also long-term safety for their clients and their families. Contra Costa County Family Justice Center engages with the local community to build a resilient and healing safety net.
"Our mission is to bring together our community to support the healing of family violence survivors, and to integrate capable partners with a comprehensive service approach to renew individuals and our community from a trauma of family violence."
Contra Costa County Family Justice Center locations:
The Family Justice Center is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Central Center, Concord, CA
2151 Salvio Street, Suite 201
Concord, CA 94519
West Center, Richmond, CA
256 24th Street
Richmond, CA 94806