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?
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 37 – No 03 – March 2018
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.
KK: What’s your educational background?
CD: I went to The Ohio State University and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. I then went on to earn my Juris Doctor degree from the New England School of Law in Boston, and I also earned a Master of Law degree at the George Washington University National Law Center in Washington, D.C., and also from New York University School of Law in New York City. The first master’s degree had a concentration in constitutional law, and the second had a concentration in criminal law.
KK: Tell us about your career working on behalf of trafficking victims.
CD: I joined the FBI in 1995. I specialized for 20 out of 22 years working within our Civil Rights program. Our Civil Rights program has four sub-programs underneath it. The first one is hate crimes, the second one is what we call color of law or police brutality, the third is human trafficking, and the fourth is what we call FACE [Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances], fighting abortion extremism. First, I was a street agent in a New York City office for 12 years. I was promoted and worked in Washington, D.C., from 2007 to 2011, and I was promoted to chief of the Civil Rights unit and then transferred to the Boston FBI office, where I worked on civil rights and public corruption. I finished my FBI career in the Knoxville FBI office, specializing in intelligence and, more specifically, human trafficking. I’ve seen human trafficking in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Knoxville, Tennessee. I’ve worked those cases as an agent, supervised investigations, and seen it from a 30,000-foot level as the chief of the Civil Rights unit. I have a good idea of what the country looks like in terms of where we had the most human trafficking cases and what those cases looked like.