A newly formed Alameda Health System (AHS) Human Trafficking Task Force (HTTF) successfully held an informational education session for staff to recognize National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The event participants were introduced to strategies to recognize, report and support suspected exploited individuals.

“As a task force we felt this event was extremely important to raise awareness for our staff because we know that 88% of trafficked and exploited individuals visit a medical facility,” said Theresa Cooper, vice president of patient care services for AHS and member of the HTTF. “All staff who interact with patients should have practical and effective tools and resources to identify and help these patients.”

According to Cooper, this was the first event hosted by the task force, but it won’t be their last. The team is currently working on a charter, creating policies, processes, resources and education for all AHS staff.

“With policies and procedures that are proactive, having comprehensive education and with collaboration with the task force, AHS will help stem the tide of human trafficking,” said Cooper.

According to Cooper, during the training the point was made that all AHS staff matter when it comes to identifying victims. She added, “if you are in a health care setting where you encounter patients you have a role to play.  We all can make a difference in addressing human trafficking and exploitation.”

The hybrid in-person Zoom conference included 429 participants made up of AHS staff, members of the District Attorney’s office and the Deputy Attorney General in Rob Bonta’s office.

For more information about the AHS Sexual Assault Response and Recovery Team visit their website at alamedahealthsystem.org/sarrt

For more information about the Human Trafficking Task Force contact TraffickingTaskForce@alamedahealthsystem.org