Table of Contents
- Historical Perspectives on Human Trafficking
- Importance of Documented/ Published Health Care Disparities/ Inequalities
- Regulatory Guidelines
- Moral and Ethical Issues in Global Healthcare for Human Trafficking
- Healthcare Productivity, Role and Responsibilities of Health Care Providers
- Related Health essays
Human trafficking is one of the most significant challenges faced on both local and global levels. Being commonly associated with modern slavery, human trafficking refers to forcible moving of people from their native environment with the purpose to gain material benefits from them. Human beings are viewed as means of cheap labor or any other possible trade products that are placed in conditions incompatible with healthy lifestyle. Global health policy pays great attention to the issue of human trafficking and works hard to elaborate on the effective strategies of caring for its victims, since this phenomenon admits violation of basic human rights, including the right for quality health care. Healthcare providers are the people who frequently act as primary defenders of the victims and often provide medical assistance for those who are still in captivity. Sufficient contact with the patients, identification of the assaulted individuals as victims and appropriate treatment in extreme conditions are the primary tasks for any nurse or other health care worker.
Historical Perspectives on Human Trafficking
Human trafficking emerged from the previous centuries when the trade of people was a part of economic life. Slavery that presupposed people’s exploitation and forceful transportation was the first and major ancestor of the given issue. The target victims were mostly chosen from poor regions and were kept in extremely poor conditions with minimal conveniences. Apart from the living conditions, exhausting labor and moral pressure were another factors that have contributed to rapid health deterioration. With the flow of time, mankind has realized the fallibility of such a scenario and approved a number of laws and regulatory obligations that recognized any act of “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability” to be illegal and unacceptable (Shrivastava, Shrivastava & Ramasamy, 2014, p. 61). The urgency of this issue has become the central topic of the activities of various organizations and was successfully documented on the official level.
Importance of Documented/ Published Health Care Disparities/ Inequalities
The documents that guarantee individual freedom and humanitarian treatment include Declaration of Human Rights and Palermo Protocol (O’Callaghan, 2012, p. 67). Health care sector responded to the issue of human trafficking with the creation of various organizations that are exclusively focused on this subject. The global healthcare policy is basically represented by the actions of two IOMs (International Organization of Migration and Institute of Medicine). These organizations play a significant role in the global struggle with modern forms of slavery, since those are responsible for organization of health care assistance for victims of trafficking, sufficient education of health care professionals, as well as documentation of inequalities and preventative measures. Responsible organizations, such as IOMs, contribute not only to the recovery of harmed people, but also have the purpose of raising public awareness on the issue. Despite all of the preventative action, nowadays “human trafficking is the third largest source of income for organized crime, and there are twice as many people enslaved today as during the African slave trade” (Dovydaitis, 2010, p.263). Taking into consideration that current number of people, suspected to be enslaved, ranges from 12 to 27 million people, it is an urgent task to take measures to decrease this number (O’Callaghan, 2012, p. 67). Modern healthcare initiatives have established a set of regulations and recommendations required to follow in situations that are related to the care of enslaved patients.
The major goals set by the world’s community include the prevention of the acts of violence, protection of the victims and prosecution of crime perpetrators. Healthcare sector, in general, and nursing personnel, in particular, contribute to the fulfillment of these tasks through the proper care provided to the victims. The greatest responsibility here is lays on emergency nurses, who are frequently the first professionals giving help to people who were enslaved or captured. Emergency Nurses Association suggests the following statements as the guideline for nurses encountering human trafficking: nurse is obliged to ensure immediate safety of the victim of human trafficking, to minimize the possible harms, be aware of signs of victimization in order to recognize the victim, be acquainted with vulnerabilities of the suffered people and methods of dealing with them (Gurney et al., 2014). In addition, healthcare employees are obliged to collaborate with other structures and provide the necessary information regarding the consequences of physical, psychological and sexual exploitation in order to facilitate the process of adaptation (Shrivastava, Shrivastava & Ramasamy, 2014, p. 61). These are the central principles that can regulate the activities of health care professionals, facing the terrible consequences of human trafficking. However, the entire process of work with the victims is much more complex and includes the delivery of various social, economic and legal services, such as shelter, financial support or document recovery.
Moral and Ethical Issues in Global Healthcare for Human Trafficking
Apart from its social and juristic nature, human trafficking can also be defined as moral and ethical issue. Human trafficking is a crime that violates the basic personal freedoms and deprives people from basic conditions required for normal living. However, apart from common social morals, it presupposes the specific concerns regarding the medical sphere. Victims of trafficking experience inner crisis and encountering healthcare personnel are often in extremely unstable and fragile mental condition (Dovydaitis, 2010, p. 264). It is an ethical duty of a nurse to be polite and not too inquisitive in order not to cause more harm to the victim. It is also necessary to enable the victims to keep privacy (Hemmings et al., 2016, p. 320). The victims of trafficking were deprived of proper social contact with the outer world and lacked respect and understanding. Healthcare employees are expected to provide the necessary support, try to establish personal contact and comfort the patient on emotional level. It is commonly known that assaulters often have to take the enslaved people to medical institutions when their health issues do not allow them to function properly. In similar situations, healthcare employee is also in a dangerous state, since having noticed suspicious behavior the assaulter may take severe actions. It is important to remember that the actions of healthcare employee are crucial for the victims. “Clinician will have to make his/her own moral decision regarding the reporting of suspected trafficking” (Dovydaitis, 2010, p.265). Hence, healthcare sphere should prepare its employees to consider not only physical and psychological aspects of caring for the victims but also moral and ethical components of this task.
Healthcare Productivity, Role and Responsibilities of Health Care Providers
Taking into consideration all the previous information it is obvious that healthcare providers play a significant role in the struggle against trafficking crimes. Their major duty consists in urgent and professional care of the victims. The detailed analysis of healthcare productivity encloses a great range of tasks and actions performed by clinicians. For instance, healthcare providers elaborate on trauma-informed and culturally-sensitive methods of work with these special patients, perform “comprehensive health assessments and collaborate with a range of agencies, including law enforcement and voluntary support services” (Hemmings, et al., 2016, p. 320). As it was already indicated, the responsibility of healthcare provider is to first identify the victim of trafficking. Hence, healthcare education is expected to make clinicians and nurses acquainted with basic signs of victimization, such as outer damage of skin, absence of documents, inability to speak in country language, etc. (Hemmings et al., p. 320). The involvement of medical professionals in the process of rescue of enslaved people is proceeded with providing the necessary support during the entire recovery period. However, in the modern world, healthcare activities and initiatives face numerous barriers, including those of cultural, social and economic nature. Healthcare productivity strongly depends on governmental financial support and sufficient preparation of the healthcare professionals, though nowadays there is observed the lack of recognition of human trafficking, as healthcare issue that results in lack of both previously indicated social and economic resources.
Human trafficking is one of the most horrifying issues faced by the modern society. Coming from the organization of past political and social systems, enslavement of human beings and their exploitation have been deeply enrooted in our world. Proper physical, psychological and social care are the primary goals for healthcare providers all around the globe who encounter the victims of this terrible incident. The delivery of this care is often a rather challenging task, since the victims of trafficking are kept in poor conditions and rarely have an access to medical institutions in case when the need arises. Moreover, it sometimes presupposes facing a moral challenge to report about the enslavement of a person in front of the enslaver. Healthcare providers may be considered to be the modern abolitionists who do not only provide necessary healthcare services but also contribute to victims’ release from both physical and psychological imprisonment.