“The older prisoners bribe the guards to get the younger prisoners to serve as sex slaves for them.” – nurse in N. Africa who visits the local prison.
“All the girls (aged 11-15) in the youth group report having been sexually abused, usually by a family member.” – nurse working with youth in a Middle Eastern country.
“My medical reports regarding a child up for adoption have been modified to say things that I didn’t write in order to make the child seem ‘more eligible’ for international adoption. Could this be a part of a trafficking ring?” – asks a physician working in Africa.
The above statements are a few of the ones I heard from colleagues I met at the CMDA-CMDE* meeting in Greece last week. At the conference, I was able to network with expatriate and national health professionals about human trafficking and how they can leverage their skills in their geographical location to work against it.
Many were interested to know more about human trafficking in general and how they can be more informed and equipped to address it in their area. Some are doing clinical care, others are doing community development, others are teaching or working in public health, or a variety of other kinds of work. Regardless, all can incorporate interventions to reduce vulnerabilities to prevent being trafficked or assist those are in (or out of) an exploitative situation.
I was thoroughly encouraged by the interest and enthusiasm, as well as the possibilities to continue the exciting work of equipping my peers around the world to use our skills as health professionals as a mighty weapon against slavery around the world!
If you are a health professional and would like to know more about how you can be of service in this way, please contact me! We need your help! Stronger together!
*Christian Medical Dental Association-Continuing Medical Dental Education (a CME meeting for expatriate health care professionals)