Jones Day Hosts Anti-Human Trafficking Convening for Health Care Providers

On March 6th, the Firm co-sponsored with the American Hospital Association and HEAL Trafficking a day-long meeting in our Washington, D.C. office to develop a plan for a coordinated effort by hospitals to confront human trafficking.

The convening, which was attended by health policy experts, governmental speakers, and attorneys active in the field, was a direct result of the Firm’s successful International Anti-Trafficking Conference in Houston in March 2017. At that conference, the American Hospital Association recognized the clear need to advance the role of hospitals and other health care providers in recognizing and fighting, human trafficking as a public health issue. As often the initial external contact with victims of human trafficking, health care providers have a unique opportunity to identify victims of human trafficking and to provide essential health care support and external referrals for victims.

The March 6th convening aimed to address how to modify the narrative of fighting human trafficking from that of a criminal-justice mindset to a public-health response.  This paradigm shift includes implementing trauma-informed, survivor-centered care at institutions across the country and community education. Speakers addressed strategic approaches to hospital-based programs to prevent human trafficking. These representatives from health systems, nonprofits, and advocacy groups participated in a roundtable to share best practices and volunteer ways to pass knowledge forward to other institutions. Alison Marshall (WAS) on the legal remedies that exist for victims, the hurdles in the legal system, and the role pro bono counsel can play. 

As part of the keynote lunch panel moderated by Curt Kirschner (San Francisco), Katherine Chon from Director of the Office on Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and John Gore from the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice (DOJ) discussed government support for hospitals in addressing this issue. Fighting human trafficking remains a top priority for the DOJ, and HHS has developed various tools to help health care providers identify and treat victims of human trafficking.

Next steps from the convening include the development of an AHA Advisory Board on Human Trafficking, of which the Firm will be a member, the incorporation of Human Trafficking policies into hospitals’ community violence programs; the creation of materials to cover protocols for child victims; and continued lobbying efforts to increase restitution awards as part of government prosecutions across the country.

Human trafficking—both labor trafficking and sex trafficking—is a global issue, and Jones Day has a dedicated Task Force aimed at combatting it on a domestic and international level. Chaired by Alison Marshall (Washington), Curt Kirschner (San Franciso), and Kim Brown (Pittsburgh), the Task Force involves teams on every continent that partner with clients to identify and reduce the incidence of human trafficking, while providing restitution and recovery for victims.

Human trafficking is a $150 billion global illicit industry impacting more than 45 million people around the world. Homeland Security has called it today’s modern-day slavery. Known to exist in 167 countries, human trafficking and forced labor are issues that cross all borders. This convening is one of many activities Jones Day is supporting to address solutions and assist victims.

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