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Nurses Play Crucial Role in Identifying Victims of Trafficking

Emergency Nurses Association offers guidance to help recognize, respond to needs of victims

MONDAY, April 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Recommendations have been developed for emergency nurses in terms of recognizing and responding to the needs of victims of human trafficking; the position statement was published in the March issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Noting that victims of trafficking have limited access to health care and may only have a single encounter with health care professionals, Diane Gurney, R.N., from the Emergency Nurses Association, and colleagues address the unique opportunity that emergency nurses may have in terms of recognizing and intervening on behalf of victims of human trafficking.

The authors note that according to the Emergency Nurses Association, emergency nurses play a crucial role in terms of meeting the needs of victims of human trafficking, by ensuring their safety and reducing the possibility of further harm. Emergency nurses should be proactive in educating staff on trends in human trafficking, vulnerabilities and signs of victimization, and barriers to disclosure. In addition, they should work together with multiple disciplines to provide safety, shelter, and healing for victims. Promoting prevention and working together with outreach professionals to provide education materials and training opportunities is essential. Emergency nurses should also participate in policy development to address aspects of human trafficking.

“The emergency nurse is often the first health care professional involved in the care of a trafficking victim and the vital link between recognition and rescue of the patient,” the authors write.

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