It’s a world-wide problem, and Florida ranks third in the nation. But health experts say—this unimaginable crime is happening even closer to home. “I know we’re seeing them. I can tell you I’ve seen them and I didn’t know what I was looking at,” said Jennifer Wolff, an emergency department nurse with Lee Health.
Human trafficking victims are often brought to the emergency department by their traffickers. “Over 80 percent of victims have been seen in the medical world while they were under the control of their traffickers and over 60 percent came to the emergency department,” said Wolff, which is why Lee Health established a human trafficking policy in 2016. Today, Jennifer spends time educating other health experts on how to recognize and help victims.
“We’re talking about what human trafficking is, and then we’re talking about what kind of things they would see when patients present in the emergency department, or in their nursing unit, or in the clinic, in the doctor’s office, what kind of red flags, we call them,” she said.
And if they notice any signs—they’re taught how to respond. “If we have that knowledge and we know what we’re looking for to be able to help these victims escape the life that they’re living,” said Wolff.
The program gives nurses the tools they need to intervene and save someone from an abusive situation. “I love the fact that we can empower nurses because it’s difficult to act if you don’t know what to do so I feel like giving them the tools is going to give them the confidence that they need,” she said.
Bringing awareness that can potentially rescue victims from human trafficking.
View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/
Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.