ABOUT 

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 will be included later as resources allow, they include Ireland, UK, SE Asia, Africa, India and Afghanistan.  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 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. 

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 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.  Paula Besler of Selah Freedom joins the team to provide local legal information to each site. 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 on the Dignity Health Level One training with their PEARR Tool, which will 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!

STAFF

Deb O’Hara-Rusckowski, RN, MBA, MTS 

CO-FOUNDER

Deb is critical care nurse by training with a BSN, MBA and a Master’s in Theology with a concentration in bioethics. After working in healthcare and the private sector for 30+ years, she now concentrates in public, non-profit organizations, and philanthropy. She desires to combine her passion for healthcare, business skills and faith. She currently is a Delegate for the Order of Malta’s Mission at the United Nations, focused on human trafficking and the global refugee crisis. She co-founded Global Strategic Operatives, a group formed out of a United Nations initiative for the eradication of Human Trafficking.

Read Deb's Complete Bio

Dr. Cathy Miller

DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH

Dr. Miller has worked with anti-Human Trafficking organizations for over 10 years and cared for victims and survivors in the clinical setting for over 20 years. She presents and trains nationally and internationally on the subjects of human trafficking, complex trauma, and child sex trafficking. Cathy has multiple published works on child and adolescent complex trauma and child sex trafficking. She joined Shared Hope International (SHI) as a Fellow in 2010 becoming their Health Care Consultant and trainer in 2014.

Read Dr. Cathy's Complete Bio

Petra Linden, RN, MS

DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

Petra Linden has been involved with human trafficking prevention and response work for many years both across the country and internationally. In Stockton, California she led a coalition of healthcare providers to develop human trafficking response programs in local hospitals.  Internationally she developed an online training module on human trafficking for physicians in India and leads training teams of physicians and healthcare personnel.  She has also volunteered with Free the Slaves to support Indian nonprofits by providing training, evaluation, and strategic planning.

Read Petra's Complete Bio

Paula Meyer Besler, JD

LEGAL EXPERT

Paula Meyer Besler is the Vice President of Advocacy and Operations of Selah Freedom and a legal expert for GSO. She has been a lifelong advocate for survivors of sexual abuse and has a passion to prevent and eradicate sex trafficking in our country. Her mission is to raise awareness, create strategic partnerships, advocate for and advance legislation, and garner individual and corporate support to combat this epidemic in America.

Read Paula's Complete Bio

Alex Johnson

GSO LIAISON TO LAW ENFORCEMENT

David Mayell

GSO ASSISTANT

ADVISORY BOARD

Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good

CEO & CO-FOUNDER, THE SELAH WAY FOUNDATION

Kevin Hyland

FORMER ANTI-SLAVERY COMMISSIONER FOR UK, SANTA MARTA GROUP

Annette Kennedy

PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF NURSES

Cindy McCain

MCCAIN INSTITUTE

Greg Nevano

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ICE, HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS, WASH DC

Kalyani Gopal, PhD

FOUNDER OF SAFE COALITION

Mike Nowlin

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HAGAR INTERNATIONAL

Gary Cohen

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF BECTON, DICKENSON & COMPANY, BD

Chris Carroll

DELIVERFUND

Simone Monasebian

NY DIRECTOR OF UNODC, UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF DRUGS & CRIME

Father Roger Landry

PERMANENT OBSERVER OF THE HOLY SEE TO THE UNITED NATIONS

Nancy Rivard

PRESIDENT OF AIRLINE AMBASSADORS

Montserrat Alvarado

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BECKET FOUNDATION

Louis Brown

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CHRIST MEDICUS FOUNDATION

Raymond Burnes

MORGAN STANLEY

RESEARCH TEAM

Cathy Miller, RN, PhD 

PRIMARY INVESTIGATOR LEAD

Michael Breen

FACULTY, UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK

Jennifer Graebe, RN, PhD Candidate

ASSISTANT

SOVEREIGN MILITARY HOSPITALLER ORDER OF MALTA PERMANENT OBSERVER MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS

Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill

NEW YORK, AMBASSADOR

Michel Veuthey

GENEVA, AMBASSADOR TO MONITOR AND COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

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