MedQuest College equips students with human trafficking prevention training

By Berry Craig, Building Kentucky

More than 300,000 children are trafficked every year. Of those children, only 1% are identified and rescued. However, a staggering 88% of victims encounter a healthcare professional at some point along the way – meaning health care and human trafficking prevention go hand in hand.

MedQuest College and the Safe House Project are training health care workers to make a meaningful difference in human trafficking prevention.

Using training developed by the Academy of Forensic Nursing in collaboration with human traffic survivors, heath care leaders and the Safe House Project, MedQuest College has become the first school in the nation to incorporate HOPE victim identification education into its curriculum for everyone.

January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month which makes the roll out of this new program even more meaningful.

What is human trafficking and who does it impact?

According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking 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 worldwide – including right here in the United States.

It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations.

What is the link between health care and human trafficking?

Human trafficking can happen anywhere and at any time – and everyone has a duty to know how to spot a potential victim. Large organizations – like schools, companies and hospitals – have a platform, community engagement and funding to facilitate meaningful change.

MedQuest is training health care workers that work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, skilled nursing facilities and more around the state, region and nationwide. The inclusion of training for health care workers on how to spot, report, and prevent trafficking gives a voice to those without one.

How is MedQuest College implementing this education?

Students are taught the how and why of health care at MedQuest.

“The addition of this training has the potential to save thousands of lives,” said Robin Boughey, Executive Director at MedQuest. “We’re proud our graduates will be equipped to identify potential human trafficking victims, give support and offer resources.”

The Healthcare Observations for the Prevention and Eradication of Human Trafficking Training (HOPE) includes survivor stories, subject matter experts and education to hone detection skills for identifying potential trafficking victims.

All MedQuest students take part in this training as part of their coursework – and all faculty are trained, too – as many of them work in the field in addition to being instructors.

Many MedQuest graduates work at Norton Healthcare.

“HOPE training for MedQuest students is a tremendous asset,” said Miranda Aebersold with Norton Healthcare in Shepherdsville. “We see dozens of people in our offices every day. Our employees will have the necessary training to help identify, support and offer resources to potential victims of trafficking,” Aebersold added.

MedQuest is proud of how the difference it plays in health care and human trafficking prevention.

You can learn more about MedQuest’s training program here.

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