17 human trafficking victims flagged by Henry Ford nurse's screening test

An emergency room nurse at Detroit-based Henry Ford Hospital who created a screening protocol to identify patients in danger from human trafficking has helped 17 people over the last year, according to FOX Detroit.

Michigan has the sixth-highest number of reported human trafficking cases, which peak when events like the North American International Auto Show come to Detroit.

"It is an event that draws so many people, it is increased in this area especially because we are a border city and have a high population of trafficking already," said Henry Ford Hospital ER nurse Danielle Jordan Bastien, DNP, RN.

Ms. Bastien created the screening and assessment program while attending Wayne State University in Detroit. The program flags potential victims when they come into the ER.

"It is a multiple-step process, and it involves mostly nurses," she said. "What happens is, as soon as you make contact to our area you go through triage. Based on the education the nurses [and physicians] have … they say, 'You know what, something doesn't seem right, I am going to flag them.'"

When a nurse flags a patient, the primary nurse is alerted and conducts another evaluation with specific questions.

"A lot of the things we look for is an inconsistent story," Ms. Bastien said. "If there is abuse, torture or neglect signs with that person; if they aren't holding their own ID or money; [and] if the person with them is refusing to leave while they answer, or [is] answering questions for them."

If the hospital identifies the patient to be a human trafficking victim and the patient agrees to receive help, staff alerts authorities, and the patients receive housing, necessities and transportation. If they are identified but not ready for help, they receive a small personal item that has a help hotline number hidden on it.

Ms. Bastien said she hopes other hospitals will implement her program, which includes formal training and a policy for all ERs.

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