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WV AG Equips WVU Medical Professionals in Fight Against Human Trafficking

August 6th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced that medical professionals at WVU Medicine in Morgantown will receive intense training from his office this week to identify, target and reduce human trafficking.
The training will take place Wednesday, August 7, at J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. During the event, nurses, physicians and other key personnel will receive the necessary skills to identify victims in order to eradicate this growing criminal industry.
Wednesday’s training session is part of a series of presentations facilitated by experts in the Attorney General’s office. These professionals travel across the state to equip medical professionals and others to identify the warning signs of human trafficking.
“Medical professionals play an important role in recognizing human trafficking,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “In their work, they may encounter victims who need treatment. By attending our office’s training, they can learn to recognize and report suspected trafficking. Without such efforts, these victims may find themselves permanently forced into dangerous situations that may go undetected for years. To the extent we can prevent this, we must.”
Changes in West Virginia law inspired the Attorney General to take the lead in combating this crime. His office has conducted similar trainings across the state for various professions and the community at large.
Human trafficking is defined as commercial sex or labor that is induced by force, fraud or coercion. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world today, second only to drug trafficking.
It is part of a global problem that encompasses nearly 25 million victims worldwide, a quarter of which are children, including infants and toddlers.
Globally, around 99 percent of victims are female, with girls in foster care being particularly vulnerable. However, a growing number of those trafficked are young boys.
West Virginia’s increased rate of drug addiction, poverty and its large number of children in foster care make the state especially susceptible to human trafficking. In 2017, National Human Trafficking Hotline statistics show West Virginia had 17 trafficking victims, 13 traffickers and several trafficking businesses. In 16 of the cases, most were sex-related, while the others were sex- and labor-related, strictly labor-related or not specified.
The Attorney General believes the training offered by his office gives attendees the resources to better identify suspicious activity and tackle this growing criminal industry.

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