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Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College to Host Human Trafficking Education Seminar to Help Healthcare Professionals Identify, Help Victims

  • 19 October 2015
  • Number of views: 40906

ST.  LOUIS (Oct. 19, 2015) – Human trafficking, the illegal trading of human beings for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor, is one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises worldwide. Nurses and other healthcare providers are often the first and/or only professionals able to interact with trafficking victims, so on Thursday, October 22, at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College (4483 Duncan Avenue), nurses and healthcare professionals from across the region will participate in continuing education training to increase awareness of human trafficking and hone their ability to identify and appropriately care for human trafficking victims.

Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College is hosting the program in collaboration with the St. Louis Recue and Restore Coalition, a network of not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, law enforcement agencies, and volunteers dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking within the community, as well as with the International Institute St. Louis. IISTL is St. Louis’ welcome center for foreign-born, providing adjustment services to more than 7,500 refugees and immigrants annually. 

Although human trafficking is often thought of as an issue in other countries, it's a growing problem in the U.S., affecting nearly every region. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents and foreign-nationals are at risk of being trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor each year, according to the Polaris Project, one of the largest anti-trafficking organizations in the U.S. 

Healthcare providers may encounter human trafficking victims in a variety of healthcare settings, such as emergency rooms, community healthcare centers, public health departments, family planning clinics, and HIV/AIDS or STD clinics. Therefore, a human trafficking victim's most promising lifeline could be a healthcare provider—if that provider knows what to look for. Nearly 88 percent of trafficking survivors reported having some contact with the healthcare system while trafficked, according to a 2014 study in the Annals of Health Law. 

“No other sector plays a more critical role,” said Kathleen Thimsen, DNP, MSN, RN, assistant professor at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College who is also leading the seminar efforts. “It is important that healthcare providers are trained on how to identify and treat trafficking victims. All healthcare providers need to be aware of human trafficking and the impact they can have. That is why we at Goldfarb School of Nursing were so passionate about hosting and being involved in this continuing education event,” Thimsen added.

At the completion of the program, participants will be able to list and describe red flags and clinical indicators of trafficked victims, and they will have also learned strategies for intervention, such as interviewing techniques and tips for working collaboratively with law enforcement and other local agencies. 

"Education is key," Thimsen noted. “Training doesn't apply just at work. Nurses and other healthcare providers can look for red flags wherever they are.” 


About Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College
With a legacy beginning in 1902, Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College is an independent single-purpose college with a strong tradition of educating health care professionals in St. Louis. It is located on the campus of Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis and is affiliated with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, with a site at Missouri Baptist Medical Center.  

Goldfarb School of Nursing has nationally recognized educational facilities with state-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls and sophisticated Clinical Simulation Institute labs with patient simulation mannequins and exam rooms that provide high-tech, advanced nursing care experiences. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and is approved by the Missouri State Board of Nursing and Higher Education Commission. 

To learn more about Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, visit

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