What Nurses Need to Know about Trafficking

3112016mnstudentsNCF nurses and nursing students in Minnesota can’t ignore the reality that an estimated 8,000 – 12,000 women and children are being sold for sexual services—and the number is growing each day. As followers of Jesus in nursing, how do we respond to this serious health issue with compassion and justice?

The NCF Twin Cities group hosted a Continuing Education seminar, “Sex Trafficking 101,” attended by 33 nurses and nursing students. 3152016breakingfreeThe speaker was Terry Forliti of Breaking Free, a non-profit organization serving women involved in systems of abuse, exploitation, and prostitution/sex trafficking.

“As Terry spoke, I kept thinking that this was a real example of social injustice,” said Connie Dreyer. “In Micah 6:8, God instructs us to “act justly.” As nurses, we are to serve the vulnerable and disenfranchised clients who may be underserved by the health care system.”

Former NCF director Mary Thompson said, “We sponsored the seminar because Jesus cares about what is happening to girls and to women (and their families) affected by human trafficking. Nurses can have a unique role in representing Jesus in the clinical setting.” In many clinics nurses ask, “Are you safe at home?” and they can assess symptoms and link women with resources.

“This was a very thought-provoking presentation,” said Marilyn Chambers. “I am much more aware of how to assess women or girls coming into healthcare. The safety questions are good but we also need to assess their view of themselves, their ability to say “no”, and their self-confidence.”

Marie Wiegert commented, “We thought slavery was abolished with the Emancipation by Abraham Lincoln. But there is another slavery of young, teen-age girls and other females through sex trafficking. If someone is homeless or wandering around the streets, it can take less than 48 hours to get into sex trafficking by believing empty promises of help.”

Here are some facts on women in prostitution in Minnesota from Breaking Free:

  • 85% are victims of rape/molestation before the age of 18
  • 95% use drugs/alcohol to numb the pain
  • 83% are victims of assault with a deadly weapon
  • 57% have been kidnapped at some point
  • 100% are someone’s daughter, sister, or mother.

Nurses have the power to encourage victims or be destructive,” Marilyn adds. “As Christians, we can have a greater sense of awareness and be willing to get involved by volunteering, teaching healthy relationships, or be a healthy role model and friend.”

Mary summarizes, “Let’s all help to raise awareness of this critical issue within our nursing networks and churches.”


One Response to “What Nurses Need to Know about Trafficking”

  1. diggingher Says:

    Sounds like an excellent learning experience. I am interested in having a speaker in my home area—on the lookout for the right person/organization.

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