The inception of the 'Global Strategic Operatives for the Eradication of Human Trafficking,' GSO, came after a group of high-level leaders convened at the United Nations on November 9, 2018, at a forum entitled ‘Practical Solutions to Eradicating Human Trafficking.’ Based on feedback from this event, and recognizing all the great work done thus far, it was decided to concentrate on the health care sector based on evidence stating up to 88% of victims seek medical care or treatment while being trafficked.  Sadly, clinicians often misdiagnose these victims due to lack of training, knowledge and misperceptions.

GSO is embarking on a large scale global initiative. Initially, it will focus on a half dozen U.S. healthcare IDNs, Integrated Delivery Networks, as its participants. However, international healthcare sites follow immediately thereafter. They may include Ireland, UK, SE Asia, Africa, India and others.  Each US site will be trained on an evidence-based, validated training program and asked to use specific tools to establish a policy within their own institution.  During this time, each site will establish relationships with their respective local community shelters, law enforcement and Homeland Security agents. Our purpose is not only raising the IDNs up to scale in the area of human trafficking training, identification and appropriate actions to take, but also to propose to the World Health Organization, WHO, a "universal policy" on human trafficking for healthcare providers to implement and disseminate worldwide, which does not exist today. 

Specifically, GSO has partnered with Dignity Health, now Common Spirit, because they have been the proven champions in the area of human trafficking training to healthcare providers, along with Selah Freedom, to put together a very robust and comprehensive in-person training, including survivors who adds enormous value, to bring to each healthcare site.  All sites will be required (assistance provided) to develop their own internal human trafficking policy and protocol, initially utilizing the HEAL Trafficking Toolkit process, prior to having in-person training teams at their sites. GSO Educational teams are lead by Petra Linden, System Director for Common Spirit, which include survivors, content experts and clinicians. The in-person training consists of Level One Training (survivor taught presentation, local legal information, the PEARR Tool and onsite clinical review of developed protocol) that is offered to all disciplines throughout the hospital. The Level Two Training focuses on those providers who will have direct contact with the trafficked victim with emphasis on a "train-the-trainer" model for expansion purposes. A research component is lead by Dr. Cathy Miller which will last one-year in length. The long term plan is for the newly trained clinicians to train other sites throughout the system, which should also be imbedded in the hospital's Learning Module System, LMS, for all new employees to complete as a requirement for employment. Sites are also encouraged to offer SOAR on-line modules should they wish further curricula or material.

Equally important is establishing and building relationships with local community resources, i.e. community agencies, NGOs, shelters, law enforcement, State Attorney General Office's Task Forces and agents, and Homeland Security Investigation's agents. To that end, as part of each site's training, a "Strategic Leadership Community Meeting" is held where all the above mentioned local contacts are invited to attend with the hospital leadership team and all roles are explained, clarified while relationships are established to be built upon.

In recognizing the inherent dignity of every human person, and the atrocious violations of human rights to those being trafficked, we are committed to the complete and total eradication of these horrific crimes. As Pope Francis told the United Nations in 2015, “evils like human trafficking cannot be met by solemn commitments alone. We need to ensure that our institutions — and all our efforts — are truly effective… We are facing a global phenomenon that exceeds the competence of any one community or country, therefore, we need a mobilization comparable in size to that of the phenomenon itself.”

This is our effort to mobilize — we are passionate and committed. Thank you for joining us on this journey to eradicate all forms of human trafficking!

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