Rep. Marshall Holds Roundtable on Human Trafficking
On Thursday, Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D., hosted a panel discussion at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. focused on human trafficking and the role health care providers can play in identifying victims and preventing future trafficking crimes. Rep. Marshall was joined by Cindy McCain of the McCain Institute, U.S. Senator Martha McSally, and Katherine Chon, Director of the Office of Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Human trafficking is an emergency across the United States, including in Kansas,” said Rep. Marshall. “Today's event was about joining legislators, health care providers, and other leaders on this issue, with the goal of getting every hospital emergency room in the country to establish protocol for identifying victims and stopping human trafficking. I’m so thankful Cindy McCain, Senator McSally, Director Chon, and all the providers and organizations in attendance today could join me in helping to raise awareness on this issue.”
Human trafficking is a pervasive and deeply disturbing problem for countries around the world and, sadly, right here in Kansas. The Kansas Attorney General’s office has named Kansas a hub for human trafficking, and in the State Department’s most recent Trafficking in Persons report, the agency estimated human trafficking generates more than $150 billion globally from the approximately 25 million enslaved people around the world.
"Human trafficking is an epidemic—happening to Americans in all of our communities,” said Senator McSally. “Often, health care professionals have a unique opportunity to identify a victim seeking medical care. It is vital that they are prepared to take action and provide critical support when needed most. I want to thank Cindy McCain and Rep. Roger Marshall for hosting today’s event which shined a light on the health care industry’s role. Together, we can and must do more to raising awareness and combat human trafficking.”
It is believed that nearly 80 percent of trafficked persons will seek some kind of healthcare during their as a victim. But many healthcare providers do not have the proper training to identify suspicious behaviors and situations. In 2018, Congress passed the Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act, expanding a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program with the same name. This is just one of many federal resources to help communities combat the problem of human trafficking.
“Health care providers are at the frontlines to spot human trafficking in clinical settings, respond in a trauma-informed way and connect potential victims to community-based services,” said Chon. “Professionals can take free, online and accredited training on human trafficking provided by our agency and contact our National Human Trafficking Hotline, at 888-373-7888, to connect with local services.”