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Taking a Stand Against Human Trafficking


Human trafficking is a global issue, and anyone from any country can become a victim. Here in the United States, there were more than 7,500 tips to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline in 2016, more than 2,000 of which involved children and youth under the age of 18. 

Worse still, trafficked persons often go unnoticed. A 2014 study published in the Annals of Health Law found that nearly 88 percent of participants identifying as sex trafficking survivors had some contact with health care while being exploited (Lederer and Wetzel). A 2017 survey report from the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) found that over half of labor and sex trafficking survivors surveyed had accessed health care at least once while being trafficked. Nearly 97 percent indicated they had never been provided with information or resources about human trafficking while visiting the health care provider. These studies underscore the reality that medical care providers are often unprepared to identify and appropriately respond to trafficked persons. 

Dignity Health is taking a stand to change this reality by creating the Human Trafficking Response (HTR) Program. The HTR Program is championed by Dignity Health Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and System Chief Nurse Executive, Page West, and Executive Vice President for Sponsorship and Mission Integration, Elizabeth Keith, with support from 
Dignity Health Foundation. The goal of this program is to ensure trafficked persons are identified in the health care setting and appropriately assisted with victim-centered, trauma-informed care and services.

To learn more about the Dignity Health HTR Program, or to implement a similar program in your health care setting, please download the Dignity Health Human Trafficking Response Program - Shared Learnings Manual below. For additional information about the HTR Program, please read Human Trafficking: Recognizing and Responding to Victims of Human Trafficking by Holly Austin Gibbs, BA, and Dean White, LCSW (available in Collaborative Case Management, Issue 58).

Download Shared Learnings Manual

Survivor-Led and Survivor-Informed

Dignity Health’s Human Trafficking Response (HTR) Program is led by Holly Austin Gibbs, a survivor of child sex trafficking and nationally known expert. Holly regularly provides testimony and input to law enforcement officials, legislators, social service providers, human trafficking task forces, and journalists. Holly is the author of the influential book Walking Prey: How America's Youth are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery.

Photo by Nathaniel Hamilton for NewsWorks.org

Victim-Centered and Trauma-Informed

Dignity Health has created internal educational modules and victim response procedures that emphasize the importance of victim/patient-centered and trauma-informed care. These modules are provided to staff in-person and as interactive modules online.

Make an Impact


We are committed to training more staff, establishing more community partnerships and reaching more victims of human trafficking. Your gift – complemented by Dignity Health’s financial contribution – will be used to address this challenging issue. Donations can be made to Dignity Health Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, and are tax-deductible.

Donate Now

Make an Impact


We are committed to training more staff, establishing more community partnerships and reaching more victims of human trafficking. Your gift – complemented by Dignity Health’s financial contribution – will be used to address this challenging issue. Donations can be made to Dignity Health Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, and are tax-deductible.

Donate Now