Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion, to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.
Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked in countries around the world, including the United States. It is estimated that human trafficking generates many billions of dollars of profit per year, second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable form of transnational crime.
But many myths and misconceptions exist around it. Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life.
“Identifying someone who is caught in the web of a trafficking scheme requires an eye for nuanced details,” says Amy Farrell,
an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Northeastern University who studies human trafficking.
And, often, the people best positioned to identify when someone is the victim of human trafficking are the people who respond to emergency situations involving traffickers and their victims: emergency medical technicians, nurses, and nurse-practitioners among them. So it’s crucial that they can recognize red flags when they see them.
A conference hosted by the Bouvé College of HealthSciences at Northeastern is a first step toward providing that training. Provided by the Northeastern University School Health Academy and the New England Coalition Against Trafficking, the daylong conference was held on April 27th.
The conference was designed to give healthcare providers and public safety officials some of the tools they need to stop human trafficking and care for its victims. Kayse Lee Maass, an assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Northeastern, lead a discussion on the ways that industrial engineering can help stamp out human trafficking efforts.
Other speakers included representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, lawyers, medical professionals, and survivors of human trafficking.