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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 embarked on a large scale global initiative. Initially, it focused on a half dozen U.S. healthcare IDNs, Integrated Delivery Networks, as its participants. However, after a pause due to COVID-19, we continue with international healthcare sites. Each site is 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 established 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. 

GSO initially partnered with Dignity Health, now Common Spirit Health, given their proven success in championing human trafficking training to healthcare providers. We now have several partners to offer a very robust and comprehensive training. GSO offers a survivor-led training which is impactful to all participants to remind us of why we do this work. The live, in-person training consists of a Level One Training we call HT 101. that is offered to all disciplines throughout the hospital. The Level Two Training, HT 102A and 102B, focuses on those providers who will have direct contact with the trafficked victim with emphasis on a "train-the-trainer" model for expansion purposes. The pilot project sites include a research component is led by Dr. Cathy Miller. GSO training emphasizes a "train-the-trainer model" for proliferation of training throughout the entire healthcare system. We encourage all sites to embed HT 101 into their new-hire orientation learning modules.

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, GSO encourages, as part of each site's training, a "Strategic Leadership Community Meeting" to be held where all external 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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