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Apr 12, 2011

Training medical practitioners to care for human trafficking victims

Earlier today a two-day workshop got underway relating to the global problem of trafficking in persons. While a number of initiatives have dealt with enforcing laws to what is known as the hidden crime, at the ongoing workshop, healthcare representatives are getting training on how to provide appropriate treatment to victims. The International Organization on Migration along with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are involved in the initiative. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

A guidebook entitled “Caring for Trafficked Persons” is being piloted in Belize and an introductory workshop for healthcare providers is ongoing at the Radisson. The primary objective of the book is to ensure that survivors of human trafficking receive relevant treatment.

Diana Shaw, Coordinator, IOM Anti-Trafficking Project, Belize

Diana Shaw

“What we’re doing is two-fold; one, we’re providing sensitization for health care workers on the issues of trafficking and we’re also presenting a protocol that is being developed. It’s a global initiative through IOM and it will roll out through UN.GIFT and it is being validated right now in Belize to ensure that all of the provisions in it are in line with what are the health care services that are being provided here.”

Cathy Zimmerman, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

“It’s been traditionally viewed as mostly a law enforcement problem whereas health care providers have often been left out of the information and left out from attending the meetings about trafficking and, therefore, the health implications of trafficking has generally been ignored and so what we’re trying to do is help both health care providers be better prepared to treat trafficked persons, and also make sure that the trafficked persons when they are in the care of health care providers are able to receive care that actually recognizes some of the dimensions of what they’ve been through.”

And since cases of human trafficking often go unreported, the healthcare providers will also be trained to spot possible victims based on their treatment needs.

Diana Shaw

“Somebody who has been hurt or injured will seek medical care. Very often when they seek medical care they will not say that there are a victim of trafficking so it is incumbent on the health care provider to be cognizant of the signs and to be cognizant in terms of the right questions to ask to help them to open up because they may not seek other help.  In addition we have psychiatric nurses attached to our health care facilities. That can provide some element of treatment and rehabilitation so we want them to also be sensitized; how to deal with specific populations that are being trafficked. How do you deal with a child victim of trafficking who has HIV, how do you deal with a male victim of trafficking who has been in forced prostitution?”

The guidebook and training are products of the International Organization for Migration and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Rosilyne Borland of the I.O.M. is one of the facilitators.

Rosilyne Borland, Health Promotion Coordinator, Migration Health Dept., I.O.M.

“We’re sharing some of the definitions, the legislation, the global legislation about what is this crime, how does it work, the global information about what is this crime, how does it work, what does someone experience when they are trafficked? They think they are going to improve their life somewhere and then they fall into the hands of traffickers and suffer violence and abuse. That’s what we’ve been doing this morning and we’re moving now into health consequences so we can look together at what kind of physical and psychological consequences do people have after being victims of violence over time in forced labor or for sex work.”

Rosilyne Borland

And while the workshop will last only two days in Belize, the protocols will be tested in other countries before eventually being released globally.

Rosilyne Borland

“The training itself will actually have many modules that will be longer and what we’ll be doing after testing it in the middle east and also southern Africa in different languages, we’ll finalize it and we’ll share it online globally with anyone who wants to use it. So that will probably happen at the beginning of next year. It will finally be released. But we’ll be working here in Belize with our local office on doing more with health providers, more trainings, more activities together with the anti-trafficking committee that’s here.”

Cathy Zimmerman

Cathy Zimmerman

“While trafficking is a crime that comes in different shapes, sizes, forms and aspects and happens in different ways for different people and has cultural aspects to it, there are some fundamental features that happen around the world, specifically regarding health. We know it hurts people, we know it causes harm in common ways and so we think we can share lessons around the world if we test our tool properly in different settings.”

On Wednesday, the discussions will focus on measures that help human trafficking victims to recover, become empowered and avoid being re-victimized. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Later this year, health care providers will participate in a complete follow-up training to get a more in detailed understanding of the manual.

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6 Responses for “Training medical practitioners to care for human trafficking victims”

  1. Dr Ben Dover says:

    who comes up with these stupid waste of time workshops??? PAHO?WHO?UNICEF they all have their agenda, they have their consultants that make big money to come and facilitate workshops, but is this the priority for the MOH..why must we send doctors and nurses to all these seminars in useless topics. Our people are dying from Diabetes, Hypertension, gunshots,lets have workshops on these topics until we start to better manage these problems!!!!!!!Let us dictate the workshops, not the foreigners.

  2. cayobway says:

    It is sometime good to hear about these workshops going on, especially when it come to dealing with persons who are victims of human trafficing, however the question arises, what is the significance of this workshop when our gouvrenment is doing absolutely nothing when it comes to human trafficing? we need to remember that belize is in the top ranks when it comes to the afore mentioned problem, what are the ministers doing? they will show up give apress conference,just to look good, and if there is any monies to be handed out, they will be the first to grab thier portion and run. when it is all said and done it will only be a time spent at the radisson, nothing will come out of it.

  3. LARGE AND SEXY says:

    I agree that nurses need training on how to handle cases like this, but what these PAHO UNICEF ect ect should do is spend more money on training nurses about confidentiality and professionalism, nurses country wide like to share patients information loud with others, you can hear them talking people business in the nurses station, corridors and even on the waiting rooms. Next is the attitude of nurses towards the public some nurses treat patients like animals, they forget that without patients there wouldn’t be any pay for them.
    This is where nurses need training, before they can handle trafficking victims, because they might end up emotionally abusing the patients than helping

  4. westernmermaid says:

    I agree with large and sexy, there is a certain nurse from Santa Elena town who attend pregnant women at the clinic, well I can tell you she has a nasty attitude I don’t understand how come her supervisors can allow her her to treat patient so bad, she even curses the patients even some staff members under her.
    shame on this nurse with the brown uniform from Santa Elena, I really think she choose the wrong profession, so this is where nurses need training on public relation.

  5. Elgin Martinez says:

    Maybe these people should educate these nurses on the patient’s bill of rights so that they don’t disclose confidential information about patients without the patient’s consent.

  6. Jac says:

    Well it´s good that Belize is involved in an activity like this, nevertheless I must say that the nurses being trained to help the patients that have been involved in human trafficking, must first be threated as well. There are many nurses in Belize that are ill treated, that are going through violence in all aspects at home. These nurses are suppose to be treated for that as well , before they can treat others. You cannot give what you don´t have.. Please organizers help you nurses first so that they can help others!

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