Human trafficking is an incredibly challenging problem to try to solve because it hides in the shadows. Not only are traffickers motivated to keep their activities under the radar of law enforcement, often victims are, too. Is that young woman with the broken arm who was brought to your emergency department by a male “friend” a victim of trafficking? What about the shy young man with the black eye and sexually transmitted infection? And if they are, what can you do about it?
Cynthia M. Deitle, JD, spent two decades with the FBI’s Civil Rights program, which includes a program to combat human trafficking. Her experience ranged from working on individual trafficking cases to being chief of the Civil Rights unit, giving her a broad understanding of the trafficking problem in the United States and the bureau’s efforts to combat it. She recently sat down with ACEP Now Medical Editor-in-Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP, to talk about some of the challenges she faced while trying to help trafficking victims and what emergency department staff can do to try to help suspected victims. Here is Part 1 of that conversation; Part 2 will appear in the April issue.