Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships, Inc. is working in collaboration with Abuse Counseling Treatment (ACT) and the Southwest Florida Regional Human Trafficking Coalition on a program to help recognize and identify human trafficking victims in the Southwest Florida community, specifically in the health care system.
The program, “Point of Contact/Point of Rescue” is designed for medical personnel and the hospitality industry, mall security and librarians to recognize possible victims of human trafficking who may come under their care or into their establishments.
Numerous victims of human trafficking are known to frequent these establishments to be treated for illnesses, accidents and childbirth, to use their facilities to arrange or conduct trafficking or to look for victims among patrons or use the public computers. Hotels may unwittingly be used by traffickers to set up "dates" with victims. Victims may be too frightened to reach out for help because more often than not, their trafficker has threatened them with violence or death if they tell anyone. They often do not realize they are victims because their traffickers keep them controlled and believing they have no options.
We have trained first responders and the ACT hotline operators so that identified possible victims can be helped as quickly as possible. We are working with the Lee Memorial Health System, hotel employees and librarians, working with their training staff to develop the program and reporting protocol. The program teaches the employees who they can contact if they suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking. Local agencies will providing victim services such as counseling and treatment and will be the initial contact for the victims. A protocol for dealing with victims found through this program has to be developed under the specific regulations of the hospital system.
A unique and identifiable logo is available to establishments that have been properly trained under the Point of Contact/Point of Rescue protocol. This logo will indicate that the establishment is a point of contact between victims and the network of services which have been set up for victims. The goal is to increase the number of identified and rescued victims of human trafficking in the Southwest Florida area and provide these individuals the care and services they desperately need to help them recover from the abuse and become individuals in mainstream society. This program is available to other groups who may be interested.