Delaware hospitals are joining forces to combat human trafficking.

A coordinated victim identification protocol has been adopted by hospitals in the state that will allow more of those imprisoned by the tragedy of human trafficking to be identified and rescued.

The Delaware Healthcare Association’s Human Trafficking Medical Committee unveiled recommendations May 8 for each hospital to adopt as part of a statewide approach to tackle human trafficking. The Human Trafficking Medical Committee was formed in February 2018 at the direction of the DHA board of directors to address human trafficking in the health care setting in Delaware by aligning efforts with the state’s Human Trafficking Interagency Coordinating Council, coordinating with community partners and developing the announced protocols. The goal is to identify and care for victims of human trafficking in Delaware hospitals.

The Committee is Chaired by Saint Francis Hospital’s Annamarie McDermott and Bayhealth’s Dawn Culp, and includes members from each of the hospitals in Delaware, representatives behavioral health facilities in the state, the Medical Society of Delaware, state government and other key stakeholders.

The committee’s recommendations:

— Staff education with Human Trafficking 101: Hospitals are encouraged to implement training using the National Human Trafficking Resource Center power point presentation, or similar content.

— Use of Human Trafficking Assessment Questions: Intended to assist clinicians in identifying red flags.

— Implementation of Human Trafficking Algorithm: A step-by-step process of recognizing and responding to suspected trafficking, including links to key resources.

— Use of ICD-10-CM codes for data collection on adult or child forced labor or sexual exploitation: Utilization of the codes is key to collecting data on trafficking that will better streamline future response and help with allocation of resources. Hospitals are encouraged to implement the codes with the help of the American Hospital Association fact sheet and training on use of the codes.

— Use of the Juvenile Memorandum: The memorandum developed by the Child Protection Accountability Commission provides an overview of how to address instances when a suspected victim of trafficking is a minor. Each hospital should discuss the memorandum with their legal department with regard to handling documentation.

Each hospital in Delaware will work to implement the recommendations over the next year.