A safe escape for human trafficking victims

June 01, 2016

The most likely lifeline for a victim of human trafficking could be a health care provider. Victims may look just like many of the patients coming to health clinics or emergency departments, and the professionals at Providence know what to look for beneath the surface.

Our Mission to care for the most poor and vulnerable calls us to respond to the devastating problem of human trafficking – the practice of modern day slavery. According to experts, the majority of survivors report having interactions with the health care system while they were trafficked.

Human trafficking is a growing problem in the U.S.

Although human trafficking is often thought of as only affecting other countries, it's a growing problem in the U.S. During 2015, Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse cared for nearly 2,000 victims of sexual and physical abuse in Snohomish County, Washington – 40 of whom were known trafficking victims. Many victims who were ready to leave or escape their situations found the ability to do so with support from Providence. 

Supporting victims with the right care and services

The intervention center is a community service of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in partnership with Dawson Place. With a 24-7 response team of forensic nurses and advocates, the intervention center cares for victims with medical exams and connects them to resources such as counseling, financial assistance, crisis intervention and advocacy support. It is so important that Providence has provided nearly $1 million to support the intervention center last year.

Educating the community is essential

One of the intervention center’s leading providers, Paula Newman-Skomski, ARNP, is nationally recognized in the field of human trafficking through the International Forensic Nurses Association. Because community education is essential to spotting and helping victims, Newman-Skomski and Advocate Specialist Azra Grudic gave over 100 outreach presentations in the past year. 

For more information, visit the center’s website.