Administration and Leadership, News, Patient Care

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.?

Stand by for updates on key areas being discussed.

This morning’s keynote address was very powerful, compelling, insightful and frightening, presented by a woman who was tricked into a love relationship and then, subtly and violently, forced into human trafficking and prostitution.

The presenter outlined her personal story in great detail, not just how she became trapped and used and abused, but how EMTs, Paramedics and ED physicians can detect highly-controlled human trafficking victims and help them escape their captures.  

Read a compelling and informative report in a future issue of JEMS.

“Human Sex Trafficking” Basics of Clinical Practice at EMS Today 2016

Ten important examples that A.J. wanted to immediately share with you (that this human trafficking victim presented) of how devious human traffickers are:

1) Human traffickers purposely cover the mouth and nose of their victims while they are asleep (multiple times) so they wake up and have to go to sleep multiple times, become sleep deprived and are easier to control and keep as sexual slaves.

2) They are often seen by EMS when they pass out fatigued and are assessed and treated by EMS as delirious, depressed and/or dehydrated. These are people being controlled and purposely conditioned, and cry out silently for help.

3) They try to signal EMS crews and give them red flags or subtly show them tattooed trafficker “brandings” in unusual areas like near their vaginas or on their eyelids (so they, personally see it and reminded that they are sex slaves). EMS crews need to look for (and alert police or ED staff) these brandings to become alerted that theses slaves need to be saved.

4) Under threat of death to them or their children, these awfully manipulated women (or men – 300,000 per year!) end up in jail or in the ED and are bailed out by their captor – without telling staff their predicament – only to be put back to work in an endless, torturous, cycle of life.

5) These patients are seen/treated in malls, alleys, dark hallways, skid row rooms, bars.

6) They are frequent, consistent victims of miscarriages – beat and forced miscarriages because pregnant women can’t make money as prostitutes.

7) They have their captors with them who insist on staying with or near their slaves, often insisting that they must ride with them in the patient compartment or stay with them in the ED.

8) They are forced to get frequent STD checks to ensure they are “a good product.”

9) They are forced to put objects into their vagina (or cut off tampon strings) so they can continue to have sex whilst menstruating.

10) Victims are afraid to speak to you so you need to ask indirect questions like: A) How old is your boyfriend? (Human traffickers are usually much older than their 15-year-old girlfriends) or, B) “That’s a beautiful handbag, who bought that for you?” This tells you that a person who cannot afford them or nice jewelry is being kept by a human trafficker or pimp.

These are critical points for EMS personnel to know.  

EMS crews need to ask them very pointed questions to break through their fearful, psychological wall to uncover their plight and save them.

Related on JEMS
Provide Emotional First Aid When Responding to Sexually Assaulted Patients (Abigail T. Harning, EMT P, M.Ed)

Initial Findings in Strangulation Injury Aren’t Indicative of Outcome (Abigail T. Harning, EMT-P, M.Ed)

USFA: Help Victims of Human Trafficking