World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, observed July 30, aims to raise awareness of this serious global problem.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), this year’s theme, “Reach every victim of trafficking, leave no one behind,” aims to “raise awareness of disturbing developments and trends identified by UNODC and calls on governments, law enforcement, public services and civil society to assess and enhance their efforts to strengthen prevention, identify and support victims, and end impunity.”
The HHSC Texas Human Trafficking Resource Center (HTRC) is committed to increasing health care provider awareness.
“In order to reach every survivor of trafficking and leave no one behind, people must be aware of what trafficking looks like and how to identify it when they see it,” said Ivy Prichard, HTRC program specialist. “HHSC provides quality training to health care providers to educate them on identifying and assisting survivors of human trafficking.
“Over 80% of human trafficking victims come into contact with the health care system while they are being trafficked. Health care providers are essential in so many ways and are among the few professionals who are likely to interact with those being trafficked.”
To date, the HTRC has approved 106 human trafficking trainings for health care providers. The center also continues to review, approve and renew trainings from a variety of practitioner stakeholders and posts the approved trainings on the HTRC webpage.
In 2023, House Bill 454 was passed to shift responsibility for the human trafficking training requirement for a physician’s license renewal from HHS to the Texas Medical Board. All other health care practitioners will still go through HHS to take approved courses.
Specialty License Plate and Donation Fund
HTRC also works to raise awareness and increase reporting of human trafficking among the general public and help provide services to human trafficking survivors.
Earlier this year, Gov. Abbott and HHSC unveiled a “Stop Human Trafficking” specialty license plate for Texas drivers that HTRC developed in conjunction with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The license plate serves as a reminder to report human trafficking online at iWatchtx.org. Texans can use the website to report suspicious activity or behaviors that may indicate criminal, terroristic or school safety-related threats.
The specialty license plate is available for purchase from the DMV. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Stop Human Trafficking donation account to pay for treatment services, shelter and support for youth survivors of human trafficking.
HTRC encourages everyone to educate themselves about how to combat human trafficking and support trafficking victims on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.