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Teaching care for human trafficking victims

Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling – these are crimes becoming more talked about and investigated.  With the increase in awareness, it is important for health workers to be able to not only identify suspected human trafficking victims but also to know how to provide care for them. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) held a training session to talk about the care that these victims should receive. Rosilyne Borland, a representative from IOM, spoke more about how health providers can handle suspected cases.

Rosilyne Borland – IOM: “So this is a good practice training that has come from our learning around the world when we work from the Health Sector with victims of trafficking so by the time they leave should know what to do if they suspect that someone might be a victim, whom to call?  And in fact we have a special presentation tomorrow from the ATIPS Council to tell them a bit more on how Belize is fighting trafficking. They will also learn about how they can work with victims and survivors so specialized approaches for someone who is already out of the situation. The course starts with a description of what is human trafficking and sort of what are the elements and what people go through. Then we move into the health impacts so how it impacts their physical and mental health. The sorts of signs and symptoms that are common for survivors and then we move into specialized approaches which are called trauma-informed care approaches so how do you work with someone who has lived through this kind of violence. Then we talked a bit more about the role of health care providers, what they can do, what they can’t do because police officers are not health providers, they are not going to go and rescue someone but they do have a role to play and then we wind up with some specialized presentations about Belize and some guiding principles.”

Julio Sabido – Ministry of Health: “The migrant community is affected by trafficking and at times it might be that the  health care providers are the only person or the only one that would come in contact with that trafficked person. Most of the times the people affected are women and children, not to say that men are not affected but most of the time it is women and children that are affected. This training will help the healthcare providers who are medical practitioners, nurses, social workers, councilors and primary care assistance to be able to identify a trafficked person or someone who is a victim of trafficking and also the care that we need to provide for these people. It should be careful that you would provide for any Belizean national or any person that seeks healthcare at a clinic. We should not have to ask what your migratory status is.”

The health providers were also taught how to identify health consequences of human trafficking, the benefits of specialized care for victims, and limitations of health care providers. ////////