Pennsylvania Nurses Learn About Human Trafficking

Carol Metzker, author of Facing the Monster: How One Person Can Fight Child Slavery, told the audience at a workshop for nurses that inasmuch as people who are held in slavery situations often suffer physical abuse, nurses are often the first people to observe the wounds. The most vulnerable victims are those who came from environments of poverty, illiteracy, hunger, political unrest, natural disasters and crisis in the home. Often children or women run away, are offered help by manipulators and find themselves rapidly placed in prostitution or forced servitude.

Nurses need to be alert for patients who are fearful, vague with answers, malnourished, without personal documents or showing signs of abuse and whose caretakers hovered and would not leave them alone. Crime Victims of Chester County Special Services Manager Katie Holton said that it is very important to be aware of the victims’ fears and state of mind. They are often runaways who refuse help, lie and protect their pimps.“Minimize your authority, talk in a neutral space, expect canned answers and limit touching,” she said, among many other suggestions.

State Senator Andy Dinniman, D-19th of West Whiteland, outlined Senate Bill 75, which he has co-sponsored with state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-12th of Willow Grove, and which he hopes will address and perhaps end human trafficking in the state with an emphasis on prosecution, prevention and protection.

The prosecution part defines involuntary servitude and establishes first-, second- and third-degree felonies. The first-degree felony is defined as a crime to threaten, physically restrain, kidnap, take the property of or extort a victim. The second-degree felony is defined as a crime to have sexual contact with a person whom the subject knows is a victim of human trafficking.The third-degree felony is defined a crime to destroy or take another’s identity documents.

The prevention section convenes the Pennsylvania Council for Prevention of Human Trafficking and contains a subcommittee with the ability to prevent and prosecute.

The protection part of the proposed legislation assures that the victim’s name will not be disclosed and puts in place a system of restitution to the victim in the form of money and social services.

Learn more at Chris Barber’s Daily Local News article: Nurses’ association workshop challenges human trafficking in Pennsylvania.

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