In an effort to end human trafficking, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox introduced a Continuing Education training at St. Peter’s Health Regional Medical Center in Helena. The training was presented by The America Unchained Project, a human trafficking awareness campaign aimed at educating medical personnel who may come into contact with human trafficking victims.

“We know that around 90% of the survivors of human trafficking, which are typically young girls and boys, come into contact with healthcare providers multiple times,” Fox said. “We believe it is important that our healthcare providers know what to look for, know what to say and what not to say, and certainly where to go as mandatory reporters of abuse.”

According to Fox, people who are victims of human trafficking have not been treated well. He says there are several signs medical personnel should look for.

“They are often malnourished,” Fox said. “Because they are often psychologically and physically abused and manipulated, they might be dependent on some sort of a substance. Sometimes that can be detected. Their hygiene is typically substandard. They may have had multiple sex partners is recent days or weeks. They don’t really know where they are. They don’t have ID or a cell phone.”

Fox says it is also common that a trafficker won’t leave the victim alone when they seek medical attention.

“Another thing that is often the case is that the trafficker themselves, it might be a woman or it might be a man, insists on accompanying an individual when they come in either to the ER room or maybe to a public health facility for some assistance,” Fox said. “They won’t leave their side because they don’t want them telling anything to anyone.”

Fox advocates that when medical personnel learn how to identify the signs of human trafficking, they are empowered to save another human being from a life of slavery and abuse. To report suspected human trafficking cases, or to request help, call local law enforcement, the Blue Campaign National Hotline at 1-866-347-2423, or text “HELP” or “INFO” to BeFree (233733).